Harbour Update – posted 21/09/23

Nationally, today will go down as one of the most fascinating days in recent birding history. After yesterdays storm and low pressure system that swept across from North America, the last two days has seen more rare North American land birds arrive into the UK than ever before. Ok, we agree, it’s not all about rarities, but when such an unprecedented fall of vagrants arrive from the other side of the Atlantic, it highlights the true scale and challenge many birds face when moving north to south. To provide some context, a good year would see one, maybe two Red-eyed Vireos in UK. Today there were 6. Before today there had only ever been 14 historic UK records of American Cliff Swallow. Today 7 turned up!! Now the warblers….oh the warblers. Any North American warbler turning up in the UK is a big deal. Today FIVE different species turned up including 1 Bay-breasted Warbler, 2 Black and White Warblers, 1 Magnolia Warbler, 1 Tennessee Warbler and 1 Blackburnian. Just crazy!! Then, to add to the mix, the UK’s 3rd Alder Flycatcher, a Bobolink and a Baltimore Oriole. Who knows what else will turn up over the next few days but it’s well worth being on high alert!

Here in the harbour we did manage our own North American speciality, but it was one that turned up a few months ago in the shape of the Forster’s Tern¬†which was off Shipstal and hunting in Middlebere. Best bird of the day was a Bittern which was seen flying across the main pit at Swineham before settling in the reedbeds on the far side and a Red-rumped Swallow which was seen flying over Godlingston Heath. There was also 1 Cattle Egret and 9 Ruff at Swineham. At Middlebere 4 Spoonbill were feeding and there were 4 Spotted Redshank, 5 Knot, 9 Pintail, 12 Wigeon, 1 Hobby, 1 Marsh Harrier, 1 Goshawk and an Osprey. There were 2 Osprey over Lytchett Bay, 27 Spoonbill off Shipstal and a big Chiffchaff group of 50+ birds was along the Studland Peninsular near East Lake. At Upton CP/Holes Bay there were 163 Wigeon, 9 Pintail, 14 Shoveler, 1 Whinchat near the Boardwalk, 2 Common Sandpiper and 3 Kingfisher.¬†

Spoonbill – Middlebere – John Thorpe

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