Harbour Update – posted 12/08/20

August is great isn’t it! A real month of variety and quality and no better way to highlight this than to pull an Aquatic Warbler out of a mist net. This is what happened at Lytchett Fields this morning when an adult female was caught and ringed during a ringing session hosted by Stour Ringing Group. These small but striking relations to the Sedge Warbler are the rarest and only globally threatened passerine in mainland Europe, with a small global population of only c10,000 pairs. In spring their migration is a direct south to north passage from central Africa to breeding grounds in Eastern Europe, however their autumn migration takes a much more westerly route which, if we have the right wind conditions, bring them here to the UK, mainly along the south and south east coast. Today’s was the first to be logged in the UK this year and with a good easterly air flow set to continue a few more could turn up in due course. Also caught during the same ringing session were 5 Kingfisher, 38 Sedge Warbler, 2 Grasshopper Warbler and 10 Reed Warbler. That seemed to kick start the day when a Cattle Egret was seen heading up the Piddle Valley with another 2 at Swineham GP on the stony island. There were 3 Osprey in the Wareham Channel at dawn and later one was on a Middlebere T-perch feeding and another was seen to catch a fish in Lytchett Bay. Wader totals on Lytchett Fields were impressive too with 10 Common Sandpiper, 15 Greenshank and 12 Green Sandpiper, with a Wheatear there too. At Upton CP a Ruff was reported off the Stone Bench which would be the first for the autumn and there were 200 Redshank and 290 Black-tailed Godwit. A different ringing session in the west of the harbour (which didn’t catch an Aquatic Warbler) was still busy and the variety highlighted what’s passing through the harbour currently with Tree Pipit, Garden Warbler, Grasshopper Warbler, Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff and Nightjar all caught and ringed in the early hours. At Middlebere the rising tide saw an adult male Marsh Harrier spook 8 Greenshank out of the channels and the presumed summer plumaged Golden Plover ‘sp’ conundrum may have been solved when a summer plumaged Grey Plover appeared in the same area the following day. Finally, with some great underwing flight shots of yesterdays Osprey in Middlebere, we’ve come to the conclusion that the un-ringed female currently using that area is our old friend ‘Beaky’, the adult female that has now used Middlebere as a ‘stop off’ site for the last 2 years.

Aquatic Warbler – Lytchett fields – Shaun Robson

Presumed Female Osprey ‘Beaky’ – Middlebere – Simon Kidner

Summer plumaged Grey Plover – Middlebere – Simon Kidner

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