Harbour Update – posted 07/06/15

Is the Short-toed Eagle getting closer? Today the bird in question was seen hovering at distance in Wareham Forest, but unfortunately too distant to guarantee a confirmed ID. The bird was last seen dropping down in to the Morden Bog area but couldn’t be relocated. However, if history is repeating its self, and this is the returning bird, then its due to pay a little visit to the harbour at some point, like last years bird did when it popped up at Arne for a few minutes. I feel an early morning vigil from a good vantage point is on the cards tomorrow morning. Reported sightings were very low today with the only birds of note being 2 Brent Geese in Brands Bay, a Cuckoo still calling at Arne, 2 Nightjar and a hunting female Marsh Harrier on Hartland and a Hobby over Slepe Heath. Despite the low number of reported sightings, the harbour is still full of ‘the expected’ species with the added bonus that they’re all fledging young at the moment. At Arne this morning it seemed every bush had calling juvenile Blue and Great Tit, there were several Linnet families that had formed one decent sized flock and Starlings were gathering in numbers. Its always nice this time of year to be able to highlight some ID features with some of our comer species through our ringing activities. Today I caught a pair of Goldfinches, which by observing closely you can easily sex this time of year out in the field.

Goldfinch Pair

You can see the over all structure of this male is bulkier with a longer, stronger bill and bigger head. The main features involve the red on the males head extending behind the eye and having an overall glossier look, where as on the female the red is restricted to staying in front of the eye. On closer inspection the males have strong black nasal hairs too, where as females are pale grey.


MALE                                                                         FEMALE

Talking of looking closely, local birder Ian Ballam has been photographing a ringed Reed Warbler at RSPB Lytchett Fields recently and has gathered enough photos to be able to get a full ring number – Y329352. We have managed to trace the ring number as one of ours, showing that this bird was first ringed as an adult in 2012 meaning that this bird is at least 4 years old and has made a minimum of 4 return trips to Sub-Saharan Africa. All being well, it will be off in September making its fifth trip south…what a bird!

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