Bumper Bird Arrival – posted 07/11/13

Finally some still calm conditions welcomed us this morning, which made harbour watching an absolute joy. My favourite conditions to view the harbour are overcast sky’s and zero wind, this makes the birds easier to find out on the water.  I was taking a colleague on a trip around the harbour having already show cased the wonders of Studland as Lesser Redpoll, Siskin, Redwing, Song Thrush and Meadow Pipit were all present in good numbers. A harbour watch from Jerry’s Point, Studland was already producing some cracking birds with 2 Great Northern Diver just yards off shore, also a Red-throated Diver, 1 Razorbill, 4 Black-necked Grebe and 4 Goldeneye when a dark, medium sized duck way out in Brands Bay caught my eye. It was obviously a Scoter, but too ‘chunky’ and not the right head pattern for Common Scoter. The bird showed the characteristics of being either a 1st year Velvet Scoter, a species seen in the harbour many times before, or a 1st year Surf Scoter, a species only ever recorded once before in the harbour way back in 2007. The clincher would be if it showed a white wing panel when it flapped its wings…white wing panel = Velvet Scoter, no white wing panel = Surf Scoter. After an hour or so the bird finally decided to flap and no white could be seen. Excellent, Surf Scoter, a rare vagrant from Canada, Alaska and North America. Also in Brands Bay 30+ of both Red-breasted Merganser and Great Crested Grebe.

Elsewhere, out in Studland Bay there was a Long-tailed Duck, 3 Common Scoter and 7 Black-necked Grebe.

Out from Shipstal Point, Arne there were 25 Spoonbill, a Scaup, 3 Goldeneye, 1 Great Northern Diver, 20 Brent Geese, 8 Red-breasted Merganser and 11 Great Crested Grebe.

Out over Swineham and Bestwall there were 3 Marsh Harrier and an incredible ‘mega flock’ of Black-tailed Godwit as around 3000 flew down the Wareham Channel towards Arne.

At Middlebere the male Hen Harrier was seen several times and 2 Yellow-legged Gull were present.

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