Please note that this is my own personal blog and therefore the views and opinions expressed, although in no way intended to be controversial, are not necessarily those shared by my employers Abbotsbury Tourism Ltd. and Ilchester Estates . All photos are © Steve Groves unless otherwise credited.



Thursday, 8 June 2017

Abbotsbury Swannery Bird News - April 2017

Highlights...


The rarest birds of the month were the two over-wintering Richard's Pipits. Other highlights included (at least one Swan Goose of dubious origin), the five lingering Long-tailed Ducks, two Spoonbills, up to three Ospreys, an Avocet, a Spotted Redshank, a Wood Sandpiper, three Grasshopper Warblers, four Redstarts, a Whinchat and a Yellow Wagtail.




More details on the above birds and the rest of this month's sightings follow below...



Black Swan...
Two were present throughout.

Mute Swan...
Present throughout with 480 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 9th.

Swan Goose...
One (possibly two different individuals) present sporadically from the 3rd to the 10th. This represents the first Swannery record of this Far East Asian goose (the wild ancestor of the domestic Chinese Goose). There were at least two in Dorset this month with one or two others elsewhere along the English south coast. Presumably all were escapes but it is worth noting that there is apparently a naturalised population in Germany...

Swan Goose, Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2017 © Charlie Wheeler 

Swan Goose, Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2017 © Dave Callaby

Swan Goose, Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2017 © Dave Callaby

Canada Goose...
Present throughout with 26 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 9th.

Egyptian Goose...
One on the 9th...

Egyptian Goose, Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2017 © Charlie Wheeler

Shelduck...
Present throughout with 28 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 9th...

Shelduck (drake), Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2017 © Dave Callaby

Wigeon...
Present daily until the 14th with 13 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 9th.

Gadwall...
Present throughout with a peak of six on the 10th and 11th...

Gadwall (drake), Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2017 © Dave Callaby


Teal...
Present throughout with 94 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 9th...

Teal (drake),  Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2017 © Charlie Wheeler

Mallard...
Present throughout with 66 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 9th.

Pintail...
Seen regularly with peaks of over 5 on a couple of dates...

Pintail (drake), Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2017 © Steve Groves

Shoveler...
Present throughout with 45 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 9th.

Pochard... 
Present throughout with 18 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 9th.

Tufted Duck... 
Present throughout with 50 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 9th.

Long-tailed Duck...
All five over-wintering birds remained until the 19th, with one still lingering at the month's end...

Long-tailed Ducks (duck left, drake right),
 Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2017 © Steve Groves

Red-breasted Merganser...
Present daily until the 24th with 15 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 9th...


Above two images Red-breasted Merganser (drake),
 Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2017 © Steve Groves

Pheasant...
Present throughout...

Pheasant (male), Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2017 © Dave Callaby

Cormorant...
Present throughout with 30 in the roost on the 20th.

Little Egret... 
Present throughout with nine counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 9th...

Little Egret, Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2017 © Dave Callaby


Grey Heron... 
Single figures were seen regularly.

Spoonbill... 
Two circled over and then flew southeast on the 12th.

Little Grebe...
One on the 3rd.

Great Crested Grebe... 
Present throughout with 37 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 9th...

Great Crested Grebe, Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2017 © Steve Groves

Red Kite...
Singles on the 5th, 10th and 22nd...

Red Kite Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2017 © Charlie Wheeler


Marsh Harrier...
Singles were seen regularly.

Sparrowhawk... 
One on the 24th.

Buzzard... 
Single figures were seen regularly. 

Osprey...
Singles on the 8th, 21st and from the 26th to the 29th...

Osprey, Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2017 © Steve Groves

Water Rail... 
One on the  25th.

Moorhen...
Present throughout

Coot...
Present throughout with 72 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 9th...

Coot, Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2017 © Dave Callaby

Avocet...
One on the 29th...

Avocet, Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2017 © Steve Groves

Oystercatcher...
Three pairs were present throughout.

Grey Plover...
Singles on the 3rd and 9th...

Grey Plover (left) & Whimbrel, Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2017 © Charlie Wheeler

Ringed Plover...
Singles on the 28th and 30th.

Whimbrel...
Seen/heard regularly with a peak of sixteen on the 23rd...

Whimbrels, Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2017 © Steve Groves


Curlew...
One on the 8th.

Black-tailed Godwit...
One on the 3rd and 4th...

Black-tailed Godwit, Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2017 © Steve Groves

Bar-tailed Godwit...
Regular, with a peak of seventeen on the 23rd...

Above two images Bar-tailed Godwits (females or 2nd calendar year males),
 Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2017 © Steve Groves

Bar-tailed Godwit (female or 2nd calendar year male), Abbotsbury Swannery,
April 2017 
© Charlie Wheeler

Bar-tailed Godwits (ad. males), Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2017 © Steve Groves


Dunlin...
Regular from the 13th, with a peak of twenty on the 18th...

Dunlins, Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2017 © Steve Groves

Common Sandpiper...
Seen regularly from the 10th, with a peak of three on several dates.

Green Sandpiper...
One on the 11th and 12th.

Spotted Redshank...
One on the 21st (the first since September 2015).

Greenshank...
Regular from the 18th to the 23rd, with a peak of five on the 19th.

Wood Sandpiper...
One on the 21st. The first spring record during my 29 year tenure...

Wood Sandpiper, Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2017 © Steve Groves

Redshank...
Regular until the 14th, with a peak of six on the 12th...

Redshanks, Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2017 © Steve Groves

Snipe...
Seen regularly, with a peak of five on the 11th...

Snipe, Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2017 © Steve Groves

Sandwich Tern...
Seen regularly, with a peak of thirty on the 22nd/23rd...

Sandwich Tern, Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2017 © Steve Groves

Common Tern...
Regular from the 14th with fifty present by the 30th...

Common Tern, Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2017 © Steve Groves


Black-headed Gull...
Present throughout with 105 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 9th...

Black-headed Gull, Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2017 © Steve Groves

Mediterranean Gull...
Regular with a peak of three on the 30th...

Mediterranean Gull (2nd calendar year), 
Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2017 © Steve Groves

Common Gull...
Regular with a peak of five the 4th and 8th.

Lesser Black-backed Gull...
Singles were seen regularly.

Herring Gull...
Present throughout with six counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 9th.

Great Black-backed Gull...
Present throughout with a peak of fifty on the 13th.

Feral/Domestic Pigeon...
Seen regularly.

Stock Dove...
At least one on the 3rd and three on the 23rd. 

Wood Pigeon...
Present throughout. 

Collared Dove...
Seen regularly.

Swift...
At least one seen on the 21st was the first of the year.

Green Woodpecker...
Seen regularly.

Great Spotted Woodpecker...
Seen regularly.

Kestrel...
Singles were seen regularly.

Peregrine Falcon...
Singles were seen regularly.

Magpie...
Present throughout.

Jackdaw...
Present throughout.

Rook...
Present throughout.

Carrion Crow...
Present throughout.

Raven...
Seen regularly.

Goldcrest...
Present throughout.

Blue Tit...
Present throughout.

Great Tit...
Present throughout...

Great Tit, Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2017 © Charlie Wheeler
Coal Tit...
Present throughout.

Skylark...
Present throughout...

Skylark, Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2017 © Charlie Wheeler

Sand Martin...
Regular with peaks of over ten on the 21st and 24th.

Swallow...
Regular with a peak of over ten on the 19th...

Above two images Swallows, Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2017 © Steve Groves

House Martin...
The first of the year was not seen until the 18th but then one or two were seen regularly.

Cetti's Warbler...
Present throughout.

Long-tailed Tit...
Present throughout.

Chiffchaff...
Present throughout with a peak of over ten on the 5th.

Willow Warbler...
The first of the year was seen on the 3rd and they were then present virtually daily with peaks of over ten from the 19th to the 23rd.

Blackcap...
Present throughout.

Garden Warbler...
One, the first of the year, was present on the 22nd.

Whitethroat...
The first of the year was not seen or heard until the 21st but at least one or two were present to the end of the month.

Grasshopper Warbler...
One, the first of the year, was heard on the 18th while two were 'reeling' on the 22nd.

Sedge Warbler...
Despite last month's 'early bird' one was not heard again until the 10th but birds were seen or heard regularly then with over ten on the 21st.

Reed Warbler...
Seen or heard regularly with a peak of over ten on the 19th.

Nuthatch...
One was heard on the 9th.

Treecreeper...
Present throughout.

Wren...
Present throughout.

Starling...
One on the 11th was the only sighting of this once regular breeder.

Blackbird...
Present throughout.

Song Thrush...
Seen/heard regularly from the recording area but rarely within it.

Mistle Thrush...
Seen regularly.

Robin...
Present throughout.

Redstart...
The first of the year was seen on the 8th (a male), with another (male) on the 11th and two (females) on the 18th.

Stonechat...
Two (a pair) throughout.

Whinchat...
The first of the year (a male) was present on the 23rd...

Whinchat, Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2017 © Steve Groves

Wheatear...
The first of the year was present on the 9th and there were then regular sightings with a peak of six on the 26th.

Dunnock...
Present throughout...

House Sparrow...
Present throughout...

Yellow Wagtail...
One on the 21st was the first of the year.

Pied Wagtail...
Birds of the British race yarrellii were present throughout but in addition, birds of the Continental/Icelandic race alba 'White Wagtail' were seen on the 21st (two) and 22nd (one)...

Pied Wagtail, Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2017 © Steve Groves


Richard's Pipit...
The two that arrived in December 2016 were seen regularly until the 6th.

Meadow Pipit...
Singles flew over on the 2nd and 21st.

Chaffinch...
Present throughout...

Chaffinch, Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2017 © Dave Callaby

Bullfinch...
Two were seen/heard regularly from the 19th.

Linnet...
Present throughout.

Goldfinch...
Present throughout...

Goldfinch, Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2017 © Dave Callaby
Reed Bunting...
Present throughout


...And that's it for this month except to say thanks to Dave Callaby and Charlie Wheeler for the use of their images. Check out their websites by clicking the following links - DMC Journal - Charlie Wheeler PhotographyAlso thanks to Alan Barrett,  Richard Philips & Nick Urch for help with the WeBS at The Swannery and  for all of the above for additional sightings. 

I'll leave you with a couple of Charlie's images of interesting insects seen this April...


Above two images Black Oil Beetle Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2017 
© Charlie Wheeler

 Brimstone Butterfly, Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2017 © Charlie Wheeler



May's sightings to follow shortly.