Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Studland and Poole

Out at Studland this morning and had a wonderful sunny almost spring like start to the day.  On the way we checked the Wareham Causeway and had a Marsh Harrier moving up the Frome Valley.  We arrived and met the group at the Shell Bay National Trust car park and headed out to the beach to see what could be found out in Poole Bay. 

A scan of the sea found a single female type Eider and several Shag, amongst the few gulls on the beach were two adult Mediterranean Gull.  Then I scoped the Groynes and foreshore by the ferry ramp in front of the Haven Hotel and along with a couple of Pied Wagtail were five Purple Sandpipers.  There was also a Great Northern Diver just off Pilot's Point with Oystercatchers and a handfull of Dark-bellied Brent.   We then moved to look over the harbour mouth and the southern harbour across to Goathorn and Furzy Island.  Here we had a small raft of Red-breasted Merganser, Great Crested and Black-necked Grebe, another Great Northern Diver, Shags and Cormorants and Jackie had a Greenshank flying high over Brownsea going west.  I then picked up the immature Surf Scoter but very distant out in Brand's Bay so we decided to move on to Redhorn Quay to see if we could see it better.

Walking out to the quay we were treated to excellent views of three Dartford Warblers and a pair of Stonechat enjoying the morning sun and flitting from perch to another.  The group were quite buoyant and chatty after seeing the Darfords and as we approached the point I was leading and had to hush the group, as just off the point was the Surf Scoter.  We had super views of this rare sea duck which seems to have settle in to spend the winter with us.  From out vantage point we could scan the south end of the bay where we saw a nice little flock of thirty Avocet, Grey Plover Teal, Wigeon, Curlew and Redshank and the odd Little Egret.

We then moved to Knoll Wood as a Yellow-browed Warbler has been wintering in the area north of the Discovery Centre.  We had an extensive search of the area and drew a blank on the little eastern gen,  we saw the usual common species though generally it was pretty quiet.  The best bird was a Woodcock but unfortunately not many got on to it when it burst up through the canopy.

Well we said our goodbyes to the group at lunch time and Jackie and I headed for Poole Park to see if the first winter Greater Scaup was still in residences.  Scanning through through all the Tufted Duck we  managed to find a Pochard, Mallard and then Jackie found it near the farside of the park lake with its head tucked roosting.  We then popped to Baiter Park and found large numbers of Dark-bellied Brent and Oystercatchers on the lawn but little else of interest, then a quick look over the water found a Black-throated Diver, a nice bird to finish a days birding on.

Distant view of the imm. Surf Scoter in Brand's Bay today
Another slightly closer shot of the Surf Scoter

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