Monday, 22 March 2021

Catching up on the Birds

Well since October when we challenged ourselves to see if we could see a hundred species a month throughout the winter I have to say all was going well until we arrived at February in lockdown.  We gave it a try but it was a short month and we failed right at the end of winter with 89 species for the month this was mainly due of course on the lockdown restriction on travel but nonetheless it wasn't bad.

We had a few highlights recording our first Ringed Plover, Golden Plover, Little Gull, Peregrine also a Ruddy Shelduck. More controversial is the sighting of two gulls on the Brownsea Island Webcam, that of a immature Glaucous Gull and the harbour's first Caspian Gull, were they tickable as no one was permitted to go to Brownsea and see them, but we were watching live on the webcam only a mile or two away from the birds. The question was raised if you were watching your own webcam and a rarity popped in onto your feeder would you count it on your garden list and almost everyone said yes they would.  So what is the difference in watching someone else's webcam and ticking off the bird, of course we can't but it was a fun discussion via an internet pub meeting.

Glaucous Gull screen grab off the Brownsea webcam

Caspian Gull screen grab off the Brownsea webcam

I apologise for the quality of the photograph of this immature Caspain Gull, I don't think you can improve much from a screen grab, but full marks has to go to Paul Morton who picked it up when moving the camera searching for the arrival of the Glaucous Gull into the lagoon.

The best of our birding highlights that was a true tick was the Little Gull on the flooded fields at Swineham. They are Jackie and my favourite gull species and we had good views of it hawking across the Piddle River and the flooded meadows in very good light.  Peter Moore was there and he is a excellent photographer and he has kindly allowed me to use a couple of his photographs of the bird here.

cLittle Gull - River Piddle Water Meadows Swineham © Peter Moore

Little Gull - River Piddle Water Meadows Swineham © Peter Moore

The Golden Plover were found by a friend on the field opposite Holton Heath trading estate so Jackie and I took a quick drive the couple of mile up the road and picked them up very easily. They are quite a scarce species in the Poole Harbour basin these days so a very nice sight even if it was only around twenty birds. The Peregrine was seen when we had to pop out to the pharmacy at Asda and picked up the regular birds that sit around on the flats there.  The Ruddy Shelduck was when the van needed a drive to charge up the battery as it hadn't moved a wheel for a few weeks so we decided to do a little circuit.  While out a friend had noticed that there was a Ruddy Shelduck on a local gravel pit and we just happened to be passing so stopped and had a brief look and found it very easily which was a nice end to our little excursion. 

March has started well we have almost equalled February recording 83 species so far and with the slight change in the lockdown rules hopefully we will be able a little more freedom to travel around a bit more locally which should add a few more species plus migration has already started with the first Chiffchaff, Swallow and Sand Martins being seen.  We only had Chiffchaff so far but the overall highlight was seeing a White-tailed Eagle over Lytchett Bay found by Liz Woodford.  Here is another poor photograph this time taken by me as the bird was gliding off to the north.

White-tailed Eagle_Lytchett Bay © Nick Hull

Well the month isn't over yet and lockdown rules are changing so I'll stop here with a total of 120 species for the year so far. At this time in 2020 I was on 155 species so have a little bit to catchup so I'll leave it there and do another blog at the end of the month.

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