Grim – posted 16/12/13

A big low pressure system that swung its way into the UK yesterday really brought a whole new meaning to the Christmas song ‘In the bleak mid winter’. But as always we try and put a positive spin on things by hoping that such weather can blow rare or scarce vagrants into the harbour. Little Auk, Grey Phalarope and Ring-billed Gull are all on my Christmas list and knowing this storm has come in from way out in the Atlantic a Laughing or Franklins Gull wouldn’t go amiss either! Ok, I’m living in dreamland a bit, but there are still lots of good birds in the area. On Swineham GP there is currently a nice selection of winter duck with Pochard, Pintail, Shoveler, Gadwall, Tufted Duck, Teal and Wigeon. Hen and Marsh Harrier can still be seen out hunting over the Swineham reed beds and 3 Chiffchaff were located in a sheltered corner of the site. Lapwings are congregating in big numbers out on various flood meadows with several flocks each containing 200-400 birds. Spoonbill can still be found feeding in Holes Bay on a low tide with numbers ranging from 3 to 8, also there 2 Spotted Redshank, 1 Kingfisher and several colour ringed Black-tailed Godwit. At Shore Road 22 Sanderling were present along with 124 Bar-tailed Godwit including the summer plumaged individual in the photo below. There are several races of Bar-tailed Godwit each migrating and over-wintering in different areas. This bird is believed to be of the lapponica race, Lapland – Taymyr peninsula, wintering to Africa and India. Out on Baiter this morning a Sandwich Tern was sheltering from the wind with 3 Med Gulls, 284 Brent Geese and 480 Oystercatcher. Out in the harbour at least 4 Great Northern Diver remain, 90+ Goldeneye, 250+ Red-breasted Merganser and off Middle Beach 23 Black-necked Grebe were present. At the marina end of Poole Quay a flock of 19 Turnstone can be found feeding on scraps along the sea wall.

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