Sunday, 8 November 2020

End of the October Post

Jackie and I started October with a quick visit to a field at Anderson, just past Red Post off the Bere Regis road, where a White Stork had been seen a day or two earlier.  No colour rings had been noticed so if it was an un-ringed bird it may have been a truly wild bird.  I managed to park off the road safely and we scoped the bird which was walking around out in the open and appeared to be eating grasshopper species.  A quick look at the legs and there was a white colour ring and it was found to be one of the Knepp Stork Project birds exploring no doubt.  None-the-less it was still a nice bird to see also whilst we were there we had around 200 Linnet in a flock feeding in the weedy field.  Though as it's a introduced bird it can't be checked off on our year list as its not a truly wild bird but it was still very nice to see.

Jackie and I visited fourteen locations around the Poole Harbour over October and recorded 114 species this is isn't a complete list as many other species were seen by others observers so the potential to seen more was available but they were missed by us. Saying this we had some good sightings we managed to see the Long-billed Dowitcher again before it left, and the two Curlew Sandpiper were still visiting Lytchett Fields. Other highlight for the month were Grey Phalarope (10th), Yellow-browed Warbler and Firecrest (11th), 2 Glossy Ibis (20th), Hen Harrier (22nd) and 27 Spoonbill (29th),  we also recorded our first sightings of Redwing and Fieldfare for the autumn. 

Jackie and I tried three times for the Grey Phalarope and failed to get this bird, then a text from Ian to say it had returned to the fields and we were lucky enough to get to see it.  A really smart little wader and a great addition to our Lytchett patch list and our second in a month.

Grey Phalarope - Lytchett Fields © Ian Ballam

The Yellow-browed Warbler was a really nice year tick and very typically Jackie and I had a lay-in and the  mobile goes off just as I'm about to go to the bathroom and it's Shaun Robson.  "We are ringing at Lytchett Heath and just caught a Yellow-browed Warbler if you can get here quick we will keep it a few minutes".  So it didn't take long for us to be in the car and up the road and join the ringers and see this little gem of a bird in the hand.

Yellow-browed Warbler, Lytchett Bay Heath © Nick Hull

Whilst we were there they carried out another net round and we were lucky enough to see two or three Lesser Redpoll up close as well.

Lesser Redpoll,  Lytchett Bay Heath © Nick Hull

The two Glossy Ibis was a bit of luck and a surprise in some ways.   We had arranged a social distanced walk at Studland meeting four friends to do a little birding around the village.  The area is good in October to pick up Firecrest and migrant warblers plus the added benefit of grebe, divers and sea duck out in the bay.  

We were scanning the bay where we picked up a few scattered Great Crested Grebe a small group of Common Scoter and a couple Black-necked Grebe.  Viewing further out towards the Cruise Liners I picked up a immature Gannet heading towards Old Harry Rocks and got everyone onto it. I then started scanning again, when Liz said what's this over Old Harry now, I quickly got onto the bird and noticed a dark blackish looking bird with legs out the rear and a long neck and a downward curving bill a Glossy Ibis.  It circled to gain height and slowly moved across the bay over the liners and headed toward Hengistbury Head.  I Tweeted the sighting out and added Olly Frampton who about ten minutes later messaged me back to say there were three Glossy Ibis at Stanpit Marsh which had just been joined by a fourth presumable our bird, which was nice to know.  Well we continued our walk around Fort Henry I was scanning the tree tops for the Ring-necked Parakeets when to my surprise another Glossy Ibis flew between us and The Pig on the Beach Hotel heading south towards Glebelands.  Unfortunately we lost sight of it so we're not sure if it cleared Ballard Down ridge and headed over towards Swanage or turned and headed west inland. 

Glossy Ibis taken near Tarifa Spain © Nick Hull

The above shots are just to show you more or less what we saw, as the caption says these were taken in Tarifa in Spain on a Dorset Bird Club birding trip several years ago now.  The top photograph show how distinctive the silhouette is even at a distance.  

We then carried on our walk up to Studland Church and back and as we came to the viewpoint to look over South beach again something disturbed the birds below on the rocky shoreline and there in front of us appears a Great White Egret, which flew off over the wood out of sight which ended our day very nicely indeed.

We caught up on Hen Harrier over Hartland Moor where we also ticked off a flock of Fieldfare with a handful of Redwing in tow and we ended the months birding on the 29th with a visit to Arne where we added 27 Spoonbill to our monthly list.

We are now wondering what will Lockdown 2 bring us now we are into November birding.

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