Harbour Update – posted 18/02/17

Now that’s what we call an early spring day. One of those perfect warm February days that feels it could produce a spring migrant around every corner before you quickly realise it’s still only mid Feb and in fact there is still a good couple of weeks before the first true spring migrants arrive. That said, Meadow Pipit and alba wagtails were seen passing overhead at Greenland’s Farm, suggesting the early passage of both these species is underway. Woodlark were still singing away at heathland sites around the harbour and Dartford Warbler seemed to be active on every gorse stack and heather clump. Sadly there was no news of yesterday Snow Bunting up on Old Harry, but 18 Black-necked Grebe is Studland bay, 2 of which were in full summer plumage already were a welcome surprise. Also 2 Common Scoter and 3 Great Crested Grebe out in the bay too. On Shell Beach and later near the house boats up to 40 Sanderling were feeding and off Bramble bush Bay a Great Northern Diver was easy to pick out on calm waters. On Brownsea, wader numbers seem to be decreasing but there was still 1 Spotted Redshank, 3 Greenshank, 1 Sandwich Tern and an adult Yellow-legged Gull. Mediterranean Gulls are now becoming more frequent around the shores of the harbour and 40 came into roost on Brownsea. Through February and March their calls are easily distinguishable as they pass overhead moving back and forth between inland feeding areas and roosting sites. At Whitley Lake, Sandbanks c100 Bar-tailed Godwit were feeding and 10m off shore 12 Red-breasted Merganser were chasing fish. Marsh Harrier have been frequent at Arne, Lytchett Bay and Swineham but Hen Harrier seem to have become quite scarce now. Its seems to have been another good Firecrest winter with 1 today at Norden SW, Upton CP and 2 in the Arne car park. 

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