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The glorious weather continued today and with it a shift of Red Kites NE across the harbour area. It started with 2 that drifted along the top of Keysworth and then headed low over Lytchett Fields. At 12:15 another drifted low over Brownsea Island with another at 15:15 above the Wareham Channel, also heading NE. These banks of high pressure are always good for getting kites to move and they can literally turn up anywhere so keep you eye’s to the sky during these sunny days for passing kites overhead. Watching a large area of sky around midday will allow you to pick up any raptors that are on the move or that area displaying and a sky watch from Slepe Heath produced 10+ Common Buzzard, 1 Marsh Harrier and 1 Kestrel. On the Brownsea Lagoon today there were 42 Knot, 32 Avocet, 25+ Bar-tailed Godwit, 21 Grey Plover, 8 Greenshank, 4 Spotted Redshank, 8 Sandwich Tern, 7 Pintail and 3 Brent Geese. In Bramble Bush Bay a summer plumaged Black-necked Grebe was all on its lonesome but was soon joined by a few remaining Red-breasted Merganser. On Hartland the Great Grey Shrike was still out in the center of the Moor.
Red Kite - Lytchett Fields - Shaun Robson
This is more like it, a stunning late March day with a steady easterly breeze, although the breeze early morning made it feel quite nippy. Again, Meadow Pipits were on the move throughout the morning, heading ENE in small loose flocks. Out on Hartland a Wheatear was sat on a post trying to avoid the Great Grey Shrike which is also still about in that area. In Lytchett Bay a Bar-tailed Godwit was an early rare occurrence with the first records usually mid to late April consisting of passage birds and the Green-winged Teal was still on Sherford Pools with a Little Ringed Plover there too. At Arne 8 Spoonbill were at Shipstal, Firecrests were in the car park and the reserves first Swallow and Blackcap of the spring were also seen.
Luckily the weather forecast for the weekend ahead is improving and we can get rid of these strong winds and rain. That said, the weather brought down a new Little Ringed Plover at Lytchett Fields and a near summer plumaged Water Pipit too, along with the Green-winged Teal still on Sherford Pools. Ringing activities around the harbour are seeing Chiffchaff being caught with face’s full of pollen highlighting that these are birds having moved up through Europe rather than birds that have moved locally. Meadow Pipits were on the move too with flocks between 5-20 birds passing over areas such as Greenlands Farm and Slepe Heath through the course of the morning.
It was a bit grotty today with not much reported other than the Green-winged Teal still on Lytchett Fields and good numbers of Med Gulls continuing to pair up on Brownsea. A night recording session from a listening station in the north of the harbour produced 3 Water Rail, 2 Moorhen, 1 Coot, 14 Redwing calls and a Mallard all over between 7pm and 5am.
A day of two halves today, with a wet dank start, finishing with a picture perfect still sun set with both ends of the day producing some decent birds. The rain had obviously forced down a few migrants, most notably 3 Little Ringed Plover in one of the cattle fields along Holme Lane. Any muddy pools in fields are worth checking this time of year for ‘LRP’, although we have never seen or were ever really expecting to find any here! In the Lower Frome Valley, around the Bestwall area 3 Wheatear were doing their best to dodge the rain and a few Sand Martin were over Swineham GP. On the edge of Upton CP a Blackcap was sub-singing in the cold and at Lytchett Fields the Green-winged Teal was still on Sherford Pools and the Lesser Yellowlegs was out in Lytchett Bay again. From Coombe Heath, Arne 3 Spotted Redshank were in Middlebere with a Marsh Harrier, 7 Grey Plover and a male Wheatear also noted. On Brownsea it seems to be the invasion of the Med Gulls with really good numbers of birds on the gravel islands. As the day drew to an end the wind dropped off totally which made perfect end of the day bird watching conditions and at Swineham, off the corner of the gravel pit a ringtail Hen Harrier, Barn Owl, male Merlin, 18 Sand Martin, 1 Wheatear, several calling Bearded Tit, c5 Cetti’s Warbler and plenty of singing/squealing Water Rail were all logged.
Plenty of Chiffchaff singing around the harbour now - Arne - Paul Morton
Grey Heron - Wareham Channel - Paul Morton