17 Sept 2014

17 Sep 14 - More From Brands Bay

After a lot of waiting in recent weeks, the winds had finally swung to the NE & so I tried South Haven for a Vis Mig watch. But the wind strength was to great for more than a handful of Meadow Pipits to be on the move. There was also some Hirundines moving on a very broad front, mostly over the harbour. However, counting this movement was compounded by a significant number of Hirundines feeding in the same area. But I did see my first Sanderlings of the Autumn.
Oystercatcher: There are good numbers centred around Brownsea, but there are always a few to be found at South Haven
Sanderling: This is a wintering species around South Haven & the Poole Harbour mouth
Had hoped that the Great White Egret would be in Brands Bay, but had to make do with about 20 Little Egrets feeding: including this bird which was just in front of the hide.
Little Egret: Up to 1987, the annual total of Little Egret in Dorset only exceeded 3 in 1 year, when 11 were seen in 1970. However, this is the commonest Heron in Poole Harbour with a recent daytime roost count of 122 on Littlesea. There are probably over 200 in Poole Harbour at the moment
Little Egret: Showing the characteristic yellow feet
It was all fairly quiet & settled in Brands Bay, until an Osprey flew over. At that point, everything went up, despite the reality that the Osprey is unlikely to have a go at the Birds in the bay. Normally, when I photograph flying Birds, I set the focus area on the Canon 7D to a wider area (shown by squared brackets). In my hurry I set it to the widest setting (shown by rounded brackets). This is a autofocus setting I've not tried before for flying birds & won't try again. The Osprey flew closer to the hide than I've every seen them do in the past & the autofocus just kept focusing on the background sky, not the very large Osprey in the middle of the viewfinder. Eventually, after several failed attempts, I switched back to the squared brackets setting & it immediately found & focused on what was now a more distant Osprey. Good job it was only an Osprey & not anything rarer. But it's the first time, I been really unimpressed with the 7D.
Osprey: Despite being a regular passage species with at least 4 around in early Sept, they are most common around the Wareham channel, Arne & Middlebere and are noticeably less common around the Studland area. This is about my 6th sighting of the Autumn around Studland, which is my best year for Ospreys at Studland
Osprey: The heavy white spotting on the upperparts confirms this is a juvenile/1st Winter bird