Harbour Update – posted 22/09/15

Winter continues to press on with the first Merlin seen dashing across Hartland Moor whilst at roughly the same time 5 Marsh Harrier left the west harbour roost. On Brownsea the (one of the) Great White Egrets was on the Lagoon at dawn along with 16 Spoonbill and a good number of Little Egret. There was also a Great White Egret sighting in Middlebere around mid-morning too. We’re still trying to determine how many Great White Egret there are in the harbour at present. It could just be the same bird flying around from location to location, although there seems to be a list of sightings which show a site faithfulness to the Arne Peninsular (both western and eastern shoreline), then another list of sightings which show allegiance to Brands Bay, Brownsea, Goathorn etc. However, I guess we won’t really know until either two are seen together, or simultaneously seen at two different locations at the same time. Also on the Brownsea Lagoon today 15 Spotted Redshank, 1 Hobby, 1 Peregrine, 2 Kingfisher, 1 Turnstone, building numbers of Avocet, Black-tailed Godwit and Redshank and decent numbers Teal, Gadwall and Shoveler. There were also 3 Wheatear around the sea wall. At RSPB Lytchett Fields the Wood Sandpiper and Curlew Sandpiper are still there, and incredibly a Little Tern arrived to fish in the bay with both Sandwich and Common Terns.

Another commonly heard sound this time of year is the sound of Chiffchaff as they move through the bushes feeding, quite often in groups. Up on Ballard on Saturday morning there had been an obvious fall of Chiffchaff with birds continuously calling from every hawthorn and gorse bush on the headland. Their autumn call isn’t the same as the well-know chiff chaff chiff chaff, but instead a far carrying whoweet call.

Common Chiffchaff – Calls of several autumn migrants on Ballard Down 19/09/15


Probably the most numerous migrant moving at the moment is the Swallow. There are currently thousands moving each day, some heading south and some staying put and feeding in big groups. The Swallows in this recording were passing over my head and heading out to sea, saying goodbye to another British summer. A rude Goldfinch tries to steal the show at the beginning of the recording though.

Swallows heading out to sea as they migrate south – Ballard Down 19/09/15

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