Harbour Update – posted 18/06/15

Summer continues to lumber on, and the heat is not only making me sluggish but the birding too. Heat haze and hay fever is deterring me from venturing out at the moment apart from to set my recording gear late at night, but with most birds busy raising young there has been some interesting local observations that have been made. Firstly, there has been a first successful breeding attempt of Tufted Duck at Hatch Pond which may not sound like a land mark event, but any first breeding attempt of any species at this very urban site is well worth noting. Secondly, it seems that the Brownsea Terns feeding productivity is on the up. They can often struggle depending on how numerous and how far away their favored food (Sand Eels) is from the colony. Its been stated that some of the Brownsea terns travel as far as Weymouth Bay to feed if no food is available closer to home. However, both Sandwich and Common Terns have been observed this summer, bringing back catches of one, two and sometimes even three eels at a time to their chicks. Even more, they aren’t traveling very far either with many birds fishing just of the training bank in Studland Bay. There was some shocking Common Tern behavior noted on the Brownsea webcam this morning too, with an adult bird that was incubating its eggs getting so stroppy with its neighbors newly hatched chick that it picked it up by the head and flew off with it! Only to return about 15 seconds later empty beaked. This was sad to watch, and the neighbor had no idea what had happened as it was out fishing. When it did finally return it was quite distressed that it was one chick down. Some other interesting news is that two Siberian Chiffchaff types that were ringed in Poole Harbour this winter have been confirmed by DNA analysis as definite Siberian Chiffchaffs. There wasn’t much doubt about one of the birds as it looked like a ‘classic’ Sibe and a diagnostic sound recording was also obtained. However, the other bird didn’t look like a ‘classic’ specimen with pale lower parts, but very olive green upper parts. This just goes to show the variation in plumage of this (sub) species and that to confirm its ID you either need to analyse its DNA or even simpler…hear it call. Bird news from today included 1 Green Sandpiper, 1 Wigeon, 10 Black-tailed Godwit, 9 Redshank, 11 Lapwing and 3 separate broods of Shelduck

Siberian Chiffchaffs phylloscopus collybita tristis – Recently confirmed by DNA analysis 


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