Harbour Update – posted 16/1014

This morning the 47 Spoonbills location of choice was Brownsea having spent all day yesterday roosting on Shipstal Point at Arne. I’d like to get my head around what forces them to make their choice between Arne and Brownsea, could it be disturbance, state of the tide, wind direction (shelter) or quite simply scenery!  Also on Brownsea the 2 Great White Egret made an appearance mid afternoon and joined the 7 Knot, 51 Dunlin, 13 Greenshank, 18 Bar-tailed Godwit, numerous Spotted Redshank as well as increased numbers of Avocet and Teal.  Out off Middle Beach there are now 5 Black-necked Grebe along with 1 Razorbill, also at Studland 2 Firecrest at Middle Beach and 1 at South Beach.  Up on Hartland 1 ringtail Hen Harrier was present along with 8 Woodlark, 6 Dartford Warbler, 4 Raven and plenty of Meadow Pipit. Lytchett Bay had 2 Woodcock and a Woodlark.

Two species that are most definitely on the move at the moment are Skylark and Woodlark, and both can be identified by call as they fly over. Although Woodlark is a scarcer migrant, October is a great time to listen for one out on the heaths around Hartland and Soldiers Road and even Ballard. Skylark is far more prominent and can be heard passing overhead in twos and threes around the harbour. Below are two recordings I made recently of Skylark and Woodlark passing overhead.

Skylark – Ballard Down – Two birds passing overhead

Skylark calls can be interpreted as a trilling ‘chirrup‘ ranging slightly in pitch and quite dry sounding. 


Woodlark – Hartland Moor – One bird passing overhead.

Woodlark calls are far more musical and tuneful. Smoother sounding, they always remind me of someone saying ‘too-da-loo‘ as they fly off!

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