Saturday, 5 September 2015

Some rare sightings in Purbeck

My old friend Matt Jones, taking a break from showing Kiwis to tourists on Stewart Island, NZ, paid me a visit recently. Having seen to family duties in his native Kent, and attended to business promoting his adopted country's wares at the Rutland Water Birdfair, he was good enough to find the time to squeeze in a visit to Dorset for a day's birding. He was particularly keen to see Osprey, Spoonbill and Yellow-legged Gull for his trip list so we headed straight for Middlebere.
Woodlark on Soldiers Road
Redstart at Middlebere
This is Matt near the Houseboats on Studland. If you are ever fortunate enough to get to Stewart Island on a guided birding trip, there is a good chance he will be showing you around
Dartford Warbler at Middlebere
Before he had taken a seat in the hide I had an Osprey lined up in the telescope. Locating the Spoonbills and Yellow-legged Gull required no optics as they were sat in the channel straight in front of the hide. So that was easy. We took our time wandering the track back to the car picking up a good selection of common migrants, and ended the day stumbling upon a family of Woodlark on Soldiers Road. It was good to catch up as this was only Matt's second visit in 2 years, so he's now officially rarer than White-winged Black Tern in Poole Harbour.
Green Sandpiper at Middlebere
Marsh Harrier at Middlebere
Yellow-legged Gull at Middlebere
Osprey at Middlebere
A couple of nights later, another real rarity was to be found at Swineham, and for one night only: me. Sightings of me there have been almost as rare as sightings of White-winged Black Terns, of which we have had three in three years now. A good run, such that they have been more numerous over that period than the generally commoner Black Tern. So it was good to find one of the latter hawking at the end of the pit. I had it to myself for the 40 minutes or so it was present before it moved out to the Wareham Channel.
Black Tern at Swineham
A moulting adult
More than I deserved after wilful neglect of Swineham in recent months
Less contrast in the upperparts compared to White-winged Black Tern which shows a whiter rump in any plumage

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