Harbour Update – posted 21/09/15

Today sightings were few and far between with a single Little Tern in Brands Bay briefly and the Curlew Sandpiper and Wood Sandpiper still present at RSPB Lytchett Fields along with good numbers of Dunlin, Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit and Lapwing. Spoonbills continue to commute between Brownsea and Arne with a steady group of 28 so far. Last year numbers really built up in October, so with 28 already present are we going to see the British record of 49 (held by Brownsea last year) get smashed? It was also observed that the first Redwings of the autumn arrived on the east coast this week. We don’t normally see ours until early October but do occasionally get some earlier during late September vis-mig watches.

Talking of vis-mig, below are a couple more sound recordings from the session up on Ballard last Saturday. The first is quite special. It was thought at the time that we had recorded an Ortolan Bunting but we wanted to double check with the guys at the Sound Approach who kindly confirmed it’s definitely an Ortolan. Its quite tricky to hear but the three diagnostic calls can be heard at 4.5, 10 and 20 seconds. To illustrate why they’re Ortolan Bunting calls I’ve included cut outs from the recordings sonagram showing the peaked ‘n’ shape type call they do, which the Sound Approach describe in Catching the Bug, referring to migrating Ortolan Buntings as “showing much variation in pitch, calls are typically single notes spaced well apart, plucked from different strings of the same instrument”

Ortolan Bunting migrating over Ballard Down on 19/09/15 – 6:09am


Secondly, here are a flock of Linnet passing close by over the cliff top. Linnets will be one of the numerous species encountered during autumn vis-mig watches, but its worth familiarising your self with these calls as they can sound similar to other species such as Goldfinch, but as the Sound Approach state, “their twittering averages lower-pitched (than Goldfinch) and has far less range between the higher and lower notes.

Linnet flock migrating over Ballard Down – 19/09/15 

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