Monday, 21 August 2017

Egrets, Spoonbills & Ospreys!

Our Wednesday group met on the 16th at Middlebere track on a still, warm and fairly sunny morning.  Walking down the track to the hide it seemed quiet with no obvious migrants in the hedgerows.  As we arrived at the cattle grid and farmyard we had a flock of Goldfinch along with the resident House Sparrows and at last Swallows flying round and then landing in line along the wire fence and on the barn roof.  A Green Woodpecker flew across and then a juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker landed on a post and a short while later was joined by another juvenile.  We had the usual Robins, Wren and Chaffinch as we moved on down to the National Trust cottages.  Angus was very lucky to see a Barn Owl, the rest of us were out of sight for just a few moments as we turned the corner and missed it!  
Great White Egret © Nick Hull
We got into the hide and a lucky photographer said he had seen Cattle Egret earlier that morning and showing Nick his photos it was obvious that it was in fact 3 adults and 5 juveniles, what a record for Poole Harbour.  We did see Little Egrets from the hide of course but no Cattle Egrets for us.  However we did have views of Osprey and of a Spoonbill, though due to a low tide not much in the channel other than a few Shelduck and Grey Heron.  A Curlew landed in the grass in front of the hide and a Whitethroat and Wren in the brambles and two Greenshank flew in and disappeared into one of the creeks.

Walking back past the cottages and looking over the field with a flock of Canada Geese, Fran picked up a bird across the field on a fence, with the scope we could see it was a Whinchat.   Distantly over the harbour were a couple of Buzzards and Osprey, then a Peregrine flew across towards the Wytch channel.  This is where we were heading next and walked up to look from the Harrier Hide.  This was a good move!  We scanned the channel finding Little Egret, Lapwing and a couple of Greenshank but it was Ann that first pointed out that an egret on the left bank had a Yellow bill with a black tip.  To our surprise we had a Great White Egret and through the scopes we all had good views.  A few minutes later it too took flight towards the harbour, in just one morning Poole Harbour had hosted three species of egret, a scarce event indeed.
parasitic wasp possibly Ammophila sabulosa
Our attention was momentarily taken away from birds to watching a Amnophila wasp possible A.sabulosa, a parasitic wasp taking prey into it burrow in the sandy soil.  It then filled the hole with small stones and sand until there was no trace of a hole at all, quite a mesmerising show.  Then the calls of Greenshank made us look up again to see five Greenshank flying away towards Corfe Castle, though one remained on muddy bank.  One last look along the end of the channel a group of 5-6 Spoonbills could be seen.  We also added Stonechat as we walked back and a few butterflies with Grayling and Small Heath.  Other butterflies seen this morning were Red Admiral, Gatekeeper, Speckled Wood and Meadow Brown.

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