We had a great day with the group yesterday (4th February), starting at South Haven looking over Shell Bay. As we walked through to the dunes Martin picked up a male Bullfinch that gave brief views and we checked off a few of the common woodland species. Setting up our scopes and looking out over Shell Bay, at first glance there seemed to be little around. Then I picked up single Black-necked Grebe quite close inshore and a adult Mediterranean Gull a little further up the beach. Further offshore near to Pilots Point I found a Great Northern Diver. Then a couple of Shag surfaced both showing their crests and looking ready for the breeding season. A while later a black duck came into view we had good scope views of a very nice drake Common Scoter. We also found Meadow Pipits a single Rock Pipit and a handful of Oystercatcher further up the beach. It just goes to show that what appeared at a glance to be an empty sea with a little persistence some nice birds were found.
We moved on to look over the inner harbour and Bramble Bush Bay, here we straightaway added Red-breasted Mergansers which were scattered all across the area in small groups, another Great Northern Diver was found in the South Deep off Brownsea as was another Black-necked Grebe. Cormorants on Stoney Island had the company of a Grey Heron which somehow looked a little odd out in the middle of the harbour. Still looking over the same area, though from the Boat houses a little further along the beach towards Redhorn Quay, we added another Great Northern Diver, Oystercatcher, Turnstone, Redshank, Goldeneye distant Shelduck and Little Egrets. Jackie then noticed a female Sparrowhawk towards North Haven harassed by a Carrion Crow, it didn't relent in its pursuit as it flew across us and out towards Studland Bay.
On to the look over Brand's Bay we added to our wader list with Black-tailed and Bar-tailed Godwit, Dunlin, Curlew, Redshanks and Grey Plovers. There was plenty of wildfowl, Shelduck, Wigeon, Teal, fewer Mallard and Pintail and Brent Geese and a scattering of Great Crested Grebes. From here we moved to Middle Beach where scanning the bay added numbers to species we had already seen with a further twelve Common Scoter, four Black-necked Grebe a couple of Mediterranean Gulls and our fourth Great Northern Diver. The only species added was a single very distant Razorbill. Walking around the coastal path as we passed Fort Henry, Tony picked up two Ring-necked Parakeets which soon turned into four which gave the group great views as the fed and checked out nesting holes.
|Ring-necked Parakeet © Nick Hull|
It's amazing how time flies when your enjoying your birding and it was time to take a break for our packed lunch adding Raven and Buzzard before moving on to Norden. Where we found at least a dozen Chiffchaff but no sign of the Siberian or the Firecrest, but Stock Dove and Grey Wagtail were added. It was off to Hartland Moor and Middlebere, Hartland added Kestrel but there was no sign of the Great Grey Shrike so we walked to the Middlebere hide via Tim's Tump where we had more Brent, Little Grebe, Jay and our first Gadwall. From the Middlebere hide the tide was pushing in and all the waders were moving into the roost front of the hide so many were hidden from view, but many were seen when they lifted off and stretched their wings or moved as the tide pushed them off. here was good numbers of Avocet, Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Lapwing, Grey Plover, Dunlin, Wigeon, Teal and Brent Geese.
|Lapwing and Dunlin © Nick Hull|
We ended the day with Dartford Warbler calling at dusk, two Spoonbill, three Marsh Harrier and three large flocks possibly a thousand birds in all of Starling heading towards Studland no doubt for the evening murmuration before going to roost.