Posts Tagged ‘Spoonbill’

It was pouring with rain as I left London, on a RSPB group outing, for the 120-mile journey to Dorset and the RSPB reserve at Arne. Arne is situated on a peninsula which stands out into Poole Harbour, the largest natural harbour in the UK. It has a wondrous array of different habitats ranging from woodland to wetlands and heathland.

Saltmarsh (top), heathland (bottom left), farmland (bottom centre) and woodland (bottom right)

It continued to rain heavily as we passed through the new forest and it was not until we reached Bournemouth that there was a break in the rain, much to the relief of all – birdwatching in heavy rain is not much fun! Arriving at Arne, there was still rain in the air and so I opted for the northern part of the reserve, which contains the woodland and a hide overlooking one of the channels of the harbour. The woodland was quiet although there was a marked passage of Barn Swallows migrating south. At the hide overlooking the saltmarsh, there were 30 Spoonbills. This once rare bird from the Mediterranean area is now established in Dorset and Norfolk, another sign of our changing climate and birdlife.

There were also Oystercatchers, Eurasian Curlew, Common Redshank and Little Egrets feeding on the marsh.

Eurasian Curlew and Little Egret

Towards lunchtime I made my way back to the visitor’s centre and after lunch ventured south onto the heathland. By now the weather had changed completely and the rain had been replaced by bright sunshine. Heathland is not the most productive of bird habitats but it does provide a home to some special birds and one of these was my target for the afternoon. The Dartford Warbler is limited to heathland habitat. As one of our few resident warbler species, it has been severely hit in past years by hard winters and loss of habitat. Thankfully it does seem to be recovering and in some places like Arne flourishing – 70 pairs bred on the reserve this year. Even in this abundance, they remain a skulking bird and so finding one was not a guaranteed thing.

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Dartford Warbler (adult male). Photo by Dave Curtis (https://www.flickr.com/photos/davethebird/)

As I made my way across the heath, I came across Helen, another of our party who had caught a brief glimpse of a bird in gorse and so we waited. Eventually, we were joined by one of the volunteer wardens and as the three of us waited we saw a small bird pop into a tree. But what was it, it was grey, darker above than below – certainly not the colours of a Dartford warbler. But then it came into clear view and it certainly looked like a Dartford, with its long tail cocked at an angle. It was one of this year’s young – I had never seen a juvenile before. Then there were other birds with it and eventually, 4 flew across to a nearby tree. at least one had the rich colours of a male and so we concluded we had a family group. We watched as they moved from bush to tree and back to gorse.

There was time left for a quick check over the Middlebere channel, but apart from a Shelduck and a large flock of Black-tailed Godwits, there was little to be seen. Then it was time to make my way back to the Visitor centre for a drink before we embarked on the journey back to London.

An excellent day, especially considering the weather on the way down, with Spoonbill and Dartford Warblers, the highlight of the day.

Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Eurasian Teal (Anas crecca)
Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Eurasian Spoonbill [sp] (Platalea leucorodia)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Eurasian Oystercatcher [sp] (Haematopus ostralegus)
Eurasian Curlew [sp] (Numenius arquata)
Black-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa limosa)
Dunlin [sp] (Calidris alpina)
Common Redshank [sp] (Tringa totanus)
Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
Great Spotted Woodpecker [sp] (Dendrocopos major)
European Green Woodpecker [sp] (Picus viridis)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Eurasian Jay [sp] (Garrulus glandarius)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Coal Tit [sp] (Periparus ater)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Sand Martin [sp] (Riparia riparia)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
Common House Martin [sp] (Delichon urbicum)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Dartford Warbler [sp] (Sylvia undata)
Eurasian Nuthatch [sp] (Sitta europaea)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
European Stonechat [sp] (Saxicola rubicola)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)
Common Reed Bunting [sp] (Emberiza schoeniclus)

A wet start to our third day in Norfolk. Pheasant, Robin, Dunnock and Wren all visited the garden, whilst a Barn Owl was seen flying from the shed in the meadow around 6am. We think it is probably a pair as one definitely roosts in the nest box. During the day we can sometimes see him or her in the box and another seems to come from or go to the shed.

Common Pheasants

The light drizzle eases as we make our way towards the coast and the Norfolk Wildlife Trust reserve at Clay Marshes. After a coffee and a bacon roll at the visitor’s centre, we walk out the hides at the centre of the reserve. From the hides, we can see 3 Eurasian Spoonbills. This once rare bird in the UK is now increasing in numbers and around 50 can be currently found on the north Norfolk Coast.

Cley Marshes

Eurasian Spoonbills

There are good numbers of waders present including large groups of Ruff, Golden Plover, Lapwing, Black-tailed Godwits and Dunlin together with a couple of Redshanks and a single Curlew Sandpiper. Suddenly confusion reigns as everything takes to the air! The reason is soon obvious as a Peregrine Falcon circles the pools and then lands on an island before, after a short stay, resuming its hunt.

Little Egret

Ruff

Peregrine Falcon

Black-tailed Godwits

 

We next drove down to the coast at Cley Beach in the hope of a Gannet on the sea. Unfortunately, all that is to be seen out to sea are Great Cormorants although a Mediterranean Gull flew in to land on the beach where it could be compared with the Black-headed Gulls.

Looking out to sea from the beach at Cley

Back at East Barsham, the Kestrel is hunting over the fields and we can hear a Buzzard calling – they do make such a strange noise. The Swallows and House Martins were feeding on the wing over the fields and BlueTits and Blackcaps roosted in the hedgerow.

Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Eurasian Spoonbill [sp] (Platalea leucorodia)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Peregrine Falcon [sp] (Falco peregrinus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
European Golden Plover (Pluvialis apricaria)
Black-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa limosa)
Common Redshank [sp] (Tringa totanus)
Curlew Sandpiper (Calidris ferruginea)
Dunlin [sp] (Calidris alpina)
Ruff (Philomachus pugnax)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Mediterranean Gull (Ichthyaetus melanocephalus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Western Barn Owl [sp] (Tyto alba)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Bearded Reedling [sp] (Panurus biarmicus)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
Common House Martin [sp] (Delichon urbicum)
Eurasian Blackcap [sp] (Sylvia atricapilla)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Pied Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

Cley Marshes

Cley Marshes

Today we went to Cley Mashes NR on the north coast of Norfolk. This is perhaps the most famous nature reserves in Norfolk and argueably, along with Minsmere, in the whole of the UK. Apart from its impressive bird list, Cley was also the location of Nancy’s cafe, perhaps the most famous cafe in UK birdwatching. In the days before mobile phones, laptops and tablets, the only way birders could relay information to each other was by telephone and often this meant just phoning a few friends when they got home at the end of the day. And so a log book was left in Nancy’s cafe at Cley where birders could drop in and record their sightings. Eventually the cafe phone  was also pressed into service and birders would either phone in their sightings or ring up to find what had been seen by others. This continued until the advent of pagers and mobile phones which were able to provide up to date information directly to birders in the field.

Cley Marshes

Cley Marshes

Cley Marshes is a wonderful series of pools in the coastal marsh land. From the hides in the centre of the marsh we were able to see a group of 14 Spoonbill. These once rare birds are now increasing in numbers with groups of over 10 not uncommon in certain parts of the country.

Spoonbill

Spoonbill

Also present were Redshank, Greenshank and Ruff – in moult but still showing the colours of their breeding plumage.

Redshank

Redshank

 

Ruffe

Ruffe

Ruffe

Ruffe

Reed Bunting

Reed Bunting

Little Egret

Little Egret

Shelduck

Shelduck

After a circuit of the central hides we drove down to the beach and walked along the beach to view the north scrape where there were a party of 6 Little Gulls, but too distant for photography. Along the beech were Sandwich and Little Terns

 

Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Eurasian Spoonbill [sp] (Platalea leucorodia)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Western Marsh Harrier [sp] (Circus aeruginosus)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Eurasian Oystercatcher [sp] (Haematopus ostralegus)
Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Little Ringed Plover [sp] (Charadrius dubius)
Black-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa limosa)
Eurasian Curlew [sp] (Numenius arquata)
Spotted Redshank (Tringa erythropus)
Common Redshank [sp] (Tringa totanus)
Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia)
Ruff (Philomachus pugnax)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Little Gull (Hydrocoloeus minutus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Sandwich Tern (Thalasseus sandvicensis)
Little Tern [sp] (Sternula albifrons)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Common Swift [sp] (Apus apus)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Skylark [sp] (Alauda arvensis)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
Common House Martin [sp] (Delichon urbicum)
Cetti’s Warbler [sp] (Cettia cetti)
Sedge Warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus)
Eurasian Reed Warbler [sp] (Acrocephalus scirpaceus)
Common Whitethroat [sp] (Sylvia communis)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Song Thrush [sp] (Turdus philomelos)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
White Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)
Meadow Pipit [sp] (Anthus pratensis)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)
Common Reed Bunting [sp] (Emberiza schoeniclus)

 

 

Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina)

 

Venturing farther afield today as I travel to the eastern part of Dorset to visit Brownsea Island. The island lies in the middle of Poole Harbour, one of the largest natural harbours in the world. The island is owned by the National Trust and is famous for a number of reasons. It is one of the few places in England where it is possible to see the native Red Squirrel, which has been lost from most of the mainland. It is also the site of the boys camp which led to the foundation of the scouting movement. What is less well known is that the northern half of the island is managed as a nature reserve by the Dorset Wildlife Trust. It consists of a large lagoon and woodland.

Brownsea Island

Brownsea Island

DSCN2249a

Arriving at the island by boat from Poole I made my way to the first hide. Looking out over the lagoon I notice a large white bird, a Spoonbill, a once very rare species which has become more common in southern England over the past 5 years and has recently nested in East Anglia.

Spoonbill

Spoonbill

Spoonbill

Spoonbill

There is plenty of activity on the lagoon including Greenshank, Avocet and Sandwich Terns, which nest on islands in the lagoon.

Avocet

Avocet

Sandwich Tern

Sandwich Tern

Greenshank

Greenshank

Continuing around the lagoon there are a party of Black-Tailed Godwits, many of which are in fantastic colourfull breeding plumage.

Black-Tailed Godwit

Black-Tailed Godwit

By contrast the woodland was relatively quiet but I did see a couple of Red Squirrel, one of which stayed around long enough feeding on nuts to enable me to get some photographs.

DSCN2304a

DSCN2312a

Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Eurasian Spoonbill [sp] (Platalea leucorodia)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Eurasian Oystercatcher [sp] (Haematopus ostralegus)
Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)
Black-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa limosa)
Bar-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa lapponica)
Eurasian Curlew [sp] (Numenius arquata)
Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia)
Ruddy Turnstone [sp] (Arenaria interpres)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Yellow-legged Gull [sp] (Larus michahellis)
Sandwich Tern (Thalasseus sandvicensis)
Common Tern [sp] (Sterna hirundo)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
European Green Woodpecker [sp] (Picus viridis)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Eurasian Reed Warbler [sp] (Acrocephalus scirpaceus)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
White Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

Eurasian Red Squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris)