Harbour Update – posted 18/10/21

Winter has arrived. It seems like months and months since we’ve had a day like today. A strong SW wind bellowed across the harbour by midday and it was pretty grim. A few snippets of interest produced the Pectoral Sandpiper still Lytchett Fields with a high count of 23 Greenshank and 2 Marsh Harrier. In Middlebere there was a Great White Egret and another Marsh Harrier and off Jerry’s Point the Scaup was still present. Definitely the most noteworthy news from the last couple of days was that yesterday, Paul Swann photographed a colour-ringed Water Pipit at Lytchett Fields which showed the code ‘1k’ on the yellow ring. Water Pipit are a scarce winter visitor to the UK with only 150-200 present across the UK each year and little is known about their habits and behaviour both here in the UK and exactly where our UK birds head to to breed. A BTO scheme was set up last year with the aim of colour-ringing Water Pipit across the UK to try and understand more about their movements, faithfulness to certain sites, longevity and perhaps even migration routes….perhaps even breeding grounds. Yesterdays Water Pipit ‘1k’ was actually ringed at this same site (Lytchett Fields) last year on November 7th 2020, and although seeing the same bird at the same site (one year apart) doesn’t seem that incredible, this does prove winter site (or certainly passage site) fidelity for Water Pipit in Dorset which we don’t know has ever been proven before? It will be interesting to see if ‘1K’ stays faithful to Lytchett Fields over the coming weeks or see if it ventures off elsewhere until late in the winter? A great record which highlights the value of colour-ringing projects such as this. Please, if anyone sees any colour ringed pipits at Lytchett Fields, Holton Lee, or anywhere for that matter, please report all sightings to us.

Water Pipit ‘1K’ – Lytchett Fields – Paul Swann

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