About Two Owls

Wednesday 16 June 2021

May Highlights

 Well, May was a busy month one way and another and there were a few domestic duties which kept us away from birding and we only managed eight days where we ventured out and about.  This was trying mainly to see birds for our year list and it wasn't until the end of the month we realised that we were short of 100 species but we had seen some quality so there was no complaints.

The first eight days of May were pretty awful the only year tick came with a Cuckoo at Garston Wood and it wasn't until the 9th that we twitched to Longham Lakes to see a Whiskered Tern.  There has been eight records of this species dating back to 1836 with one at Lyme Regis which was shot in late August the next was from Christchurch in June 1875. More recently Stanpit Marsh 1967, Lodmoor 1987, Stanpit Marsh 1987 and again here in 1988, Radipole Lake in 2008, then Swineham GP in 2011 which brings us up to the Longham in 2021 being Dorset's ninth, so a good county year tick.

We had visited Garston Wood in the morning with my daughter and granddaughter and had a good time looking at the orchids, bluebells and wild garlic amongst all the other early woodland plants and it was as we were leaving that the Whiskered Tern came on the info services so we took them on their first twitch. We arrive and walked towards the South Lake and stopped at the corner and had a quick scan the tern was flying around the centre of the lake and there were a handful of other local birders watching it.  

Whiskered Tern © Olly Frampton

We found a convenient place to watch and had good passing view and then it pitched up on one of the lakes depth posts and thanks to Olly Frampton for allowing me to use his shot above of this moulting adult. I have to say our granddaughter really enjoyed seeing it which topped the day.

On the 23rd we met up with friends to have a walk around Lodmoor RSPB and we picked a good day as we had good views of Bearded Tits and then on the West Scrape Jackie picked out a 2cy Bonaparte's Gull that had been around for a few days. There has been nine county records the first back in 1970 and the most recent at Longham Lakes in 2018. 

2cy Bonaparte's Gull Lodmoor RSPB © Nick Hull

We also had good views of a Spoonbill which had arrived in the early morning and it gave a good view as if flew by us as it moved out on the marsh.

Spoonbill - Lodmoor RSPB © NIck Hull

We had very little opportunity to get out again until the 27th when we had a evening drive around the northern chalk area of the Cranborne Chase where we added Barn Owl to our year list always a nice bird to add.  

The end of the month saw us travel out of Dorset down to Devon on a weeks holiday with daughter and her husband and our two grandchildren which should of happened in 2020.  Here on various days out we added Pied Flycatcher at Yarner Wood and Cirl Bunting at Labrador Bay RSPB which ended our month on 91 species just under our 100 target but with some absolute quality birds seen.

Male Pied Flycatcher - Yarner Wood Devon © Nick Hull