Saturday, 31 January 2015

Studland & Middlebere 24th January

This is a belated blog due to a hiccup on the health front but as they say "the show must go on".  We had a brilliant day last Saturday with our group exploring Studland in the morning and after lunch stopping at Norden and finishing at Middlebere.

Starting at Shell Bay we had a couple of close in views of Black-necked Grebes and Bob scoping the rocks by the Haven Hotel opposite found a flock of 30 Sanderlings.  Looking over the harbour side we had Shags and Cormorants, Red-breasted Mergansers, Goldeneye and a single Oystercatcher.  Moving on to Brands Bay though a fairly high tide we did see a good variety of birds with many Shelduck, also Pintail, Wigeon and Teal.  Waders included Black-tailed Godwit, Redshank, Curlew and Grey Plover.   An immature female Marsh Harrier flew over and created a bit of a stir with the birds in the bay bring out many of those we hadn't been able to see hidden in the vegetation.  Over the far trees I watched a pair of Raven, then someone picked up a Peregrine in the same area.

Moving on to Middle Beach for a look over Studland Bay we found a few Black-necked Grebes and on the foreshore Mediterranean Gulls.  The latter were giving us great comparisons with the Black-headed Gull and before being taken ill Nick gave a masterclass in the differences and ageing.    He also took some photos of the tame Robin always found here looking for titbits.

Robin at Middle Beach © Nick Hull
Apart from losing Nick (thankfully not literally) we carried on after lunch to Norden where we did very well without leaving the same spot.  Before I even got out of the car I could see several Chiffchaffs moving in the bushes, this looked good!  Looking through the Chiffs there was one that was a good candidate for a tristis, very cold and grey looking but it didn't call.  Then I heard someone say they had a Firecrest, it was easy to find as it was just working its way through the wire fencing and then through the hedgerow where a Goldcrest joined it.  We also had Pied Wagtails and we were about to leave when a Grey Wagtail flew in, then two male Bullfinch arrived.

I was with the group until we were at Middlebere and walking up to look at the Wytch Channel, on the way we had Song Thrush.  A flock of Lapwing were seen at the end of the channel but then I had to leave.  However the rest of the group carried on and from the Middlebere hide were well rewarded with Marsh and Hen Harriers, Avocet, Spoonbill.  The highlight was a Merlin sat on a post for 20 minutes in front of the hide so they had a brilliant day.

When we reached Middlebere I had a text from David & Fran, regulars with Two Owls Birding to say they had a Great Grey Shrike while walking their dog near Greenlands, Godlingston Heath.  A great find as there have been very few reports of this shrike this winter.  Photo below, a little distant but recognisable.  
Great Grey Shrike Greenland/Godlingston Heath © Fran Eldous

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