17 Oct 2014

17 Oct 14 - The Collective Name For A Flock Of Spoonbills

In Poole Harbour, we have our own collective name for a flock of Spoonbills: it is a Record of Spoonbills. For two Autumns now, Poole Harbour has set a new UK record count for Spoonbills. Last year the total in Poole Harbour reached 34 Spoonbills around mid Oct 13. At the time, we didn't know the previous UK total, but assumed the Norfolk breeding colony was likely to have the record. This year we have now reached an incredible 49 Spoonbills in Poole Harbour. Recently, Paul Morton from the excellent Birds of Poole Harbour charity & website, got in touch with the guys keeping an eye on the Norfolk breeding colony & understands their highest total in recent years has been 33. Therefore, we exceeded that total by 1 last Autumn, but clearly have set a new UK record this Autumn.
Spoonbill: A panoramic view of just 32 of the 41 present on Brownsea while I was there
Accurately, counting the Spoonbills can be surprisingly tricky, despite being one of the largest species seen regularly in Poole Harbour. When they roost together, they can get quite close to each other and it can be easy to miss one in the group. But to get an accurate count, it is important to count Spoonbills seen together at the same time. A count at more than one location is possible, but it would need a coordinated count at their favourite feeding & roosting locations, whilst staying in contact over the phone, as it only takes them a few minutes to travel between Brownsea, Arne, Middlebere or the Wareham Channel. Despite being even closer, frustratingly they rarely seem to want to feed in Brands Bay. Currently, their favourite roosting/feeding location seems to be Brownsea. But sometimes, they like to roost at Arne's Shipstal Point.
Spoonbill: Note the black wing tips on the bird in flight & pinky-yellow tipped bill. I always thought that the yellow tip was meant to be a sign of an adult bird, but it looks like 2nd Winter Spoonbills also have a pinky-yellow tip
Spoonbill: There are certainly some black tips to some of these primaries of the bird on the right coming in to land, so presumably a 2nd Winter Spoonbill
I couldn't resist a visit to Brownsea to see if I could see the whole flock. Unfortunately, 8 had gone AWOL & there were only 41 Spoonbills present while I was there. But they put on a great display of communal roosting, flying around, and feeding in various groups. Even better, there were 5 Colour Ringed Spoonbills in the group (more details below).
Spoonbill: This looks like a 1st Winter Spoonbill with more black in the wing tip & a greyer bill with pale yellow restricted to the extreme tip
The colour rings are interesting as it helps us to confirm the origin of these Birds. In the past, CR Spoonbills have been tracked back to Dutch colonies where they were ringed as chicks. The movements have also shown that they tend to return there in the Summer. There is one exception: one first Summer Spoonbill (see below) which oversummered this year locally, moving between Middlebere & Brownsea. Naturally, there has been an alternative definitive statement been made on the origin of our Spoonbills, by a leading Home Counties Birder, who for the second year running has announced that the Norfolk breeding Spoonbills have all arrived safely in Poole Harbour. When asked for the evidence, we were told there are German & Dutch CR Spoonbills in the breeding colony & He has personally seen these Spoonbills in Poole Harbour. But not surprisingly when asked for CR details, this has not been forthcoming. These statements are not correlated with the CR Spoonbills the Poole Harbour Birders have observed in recent years which has confirmed the wintering Spoonbills have gone back to Europe for the Summer. So while it's not impossible that some of the Norfolk breeding Spoonbills are spending the Winter in Poole Harbour, there is currently nothing more than speculation to prove that at the moment. But I will happily publish any verified evidence of any Norfolk Spoonbills being seen in Poole Harbour if it materialises.
Spoonbill: At the front is the second Winter CR Spoonbill which oversummered in Poole Harbour this Summer
Spoonbill: Individual 1. A close up view of the front Spoonbill
The front CR Spoonbill is left leg (Yellow over Red over Metal) & right leg (Red over Yellow flag over Green). Paul Morton has managed to track the history of this Spoonbill. This Spoonbill was ringed as a chick on 23 July 13 at Den Oever, De Banaan, Holland.
7 Jan 14        Devon      Wrafton N E United Kingdom                              Maurice Clements
16 Mar 14     Devon      Velator-Sharpa Marshes N E United Kingdom      Rob Jutsum
20 Mar 14     Devon      Wrafton N E United Kingdom                               Maurice Clements
28 Mar 14     Devon      Wrafton N E United Kingdom                               Maurice Clements

28 May 14    Dorset      Middlebere United Kingdom                                Steve Smith
28 June 14   Dorset       Middlebere United Kingdom                                Steve Smith   Photos on this Post on my Blog
25 July 14    Dorset       Middlebere United Kingdom                                Steve Smith
5 Oct 14       Dorset       Brownsea island  United Kingdom                        Chris Thain 
This was the Spoonbill that we were seeing in Poole Harbour over the Summer. I tried reporting it to the CR Spoonbill coordinator, but despite several attempts never received more than an email to say the coordinator was away for some time. I have now send in my sightings to the new coordinator who responded to Paul. So this confirms that second Summer Spoonbills can have pinky-yellow in the extensive tip of the bill.
Spoonbill: Individual 2. This Spoonbill was obscured in the previous photo, but I can't see any black in the wing tips as it was landing
There is second CR Spoonbill has left leg (Pale Green over Green Flag over Green) & right leg (Pale Green over Yellow over Brown). There is a number on the Brown ring with part of the number being 689. I have send these details in to the CR Spoonbill coordinator & will update this Blog when I get a response.
Spoonbill: Individual 3. This Spoonbill called AE is an old friend of Poole Harbour & several of us have seen it before. Being an Adult, there is a clear yellow tip to the bill
The third CR is Spoonbill left leg (pink AE lettering on Blue over metal) & right leg (black AE lettering on White). This Spoonbill is an old friend & has returned to Poole Harbour for several Winters. This Spoonbill was ringed as a chick on 19 July 06 at Schiermonnikoog, Oosterkwelder, Holland. Since then it's movements have been:-
10 Sep 06     Vlieland, 2e Kroonspolder 53,25N 4,95E The Netherlands           Leon Kelder
12 Oct 06     Grevelingen, Kabbelaarsbank 51,75N 3,87E The Netherlands      Sander Lilipaly
1 Nov 06      Somme, Marquenterre 50,33N 1,68E France                                 F.Violet
5 Nov 06      Somme, Marquenterre 50,33N 1,68E France                                 F.Sueur & F.Violet
13 Nov 06    Somme, Marquenterre 50,33N 1,68E France                                 team Marcanterre
26 Nov 06    Somme, Marquenterre 50,33N 1,68E France                                 F.Sueur
26 Nov 06    Somme, Marquenterre 50,33N 1,68E France                                 team Marcanterre
10 July 07    Wolphaartsdijk, Kwistenburg 51,53N 3,80E The Netherlands        Mark Hoekstein
12 July 07    Wolphaartsdijk, Kwistenburg 51,53N 3,80E The Netherlands        Mark Hoekstein
17 July 07    Wolphaartsdijk, Kwistenburg 51,53N 3,80E The Netherlands        Sander Lilipaly
21 July 07    Wolphaartsdijk, Kwistenburg 51,53N 3,80E The Netherlands        Mark Hoekstein
21 July 07    Wolphaartsdijk, Kwistenburg 51,53N 3,80E The Netherlands        Kees Vliet Vlieland
30 July 07    Wolphaartsdijk, Kwistenburg 51,53N 3,80E The Netherlands        Mark Hoekstein
5 Aug 07      Wolphaartsdijk, Kwistenburg 51,53N 3,80E The Netherlands        Mark Hoekstein
6 Aug 07      Wolphaartsdijk, Kwistenburg 51,53N 3,80E The Netherlands        Sander Lilypaly
10 Aug 07    Wolphaartsdijk, Kwistenburg 51,53N 3,80E The Netherlands        Mark Hoekstein
11 Aug 07    Scherpenisse, Scherpenissepold 51,53N 4,10E The Netherlands  Roland-Jan Buijs
12 Sep 07    Ouwerkerk, Not specified 51,63N 4,00E The Netherlands              Rene van Loo
9 Nov 07      Dorset, Brownsea island 50,68N -1,95E United Kingdom              Kevin Lane
16 Nov 07    Dorset, Brownsea island 50,68N -1,95E United Kingdom              Kevin Lane
14 Mar 08    Dorset, Poole Harbour 50,68N -2,00E United Kingdom                 via Pete Potts
30 June 08   Lauwersmeer, Jaap Deensgat 53,38N 6,23E The Netherlands      Rob Voesten
25 Sep 08    Somme, Marquenterre 50,33N 1,68E France                                Marquenterre staff
11 Jan 09     Devon, Ernesettle 50,40N -4,18E United Kingdom                        Phil Stidwill
7 Feb 09      Cornwall, River Tamar 50,62N -4,37E United Kingdom                 Nigel Climpson
22 Apr 09    Schiermonnikoog, Oosterkwelde 53,48N 6,25E The Netherlands   Linde Veldhoen
17 Aug 09   Lauwersmeer, Jaap Deensgat 53,38N 6,23E The Netherlands       Otto Overdijk
17 Sep 09    Colijnsplaat, Wanteskuup 51,60N 3,72E The Netherlands             Kees Vliet Vlieland
20 Sep 09    Wolphaartsdijk, Kwistenburg 51,53N 3,80E The Netherlands         Peter Matthijssen
28 Sep 09    Somme, Marquenterre 50,33N 1,68E France                                 team Marcanterre
10 Oct 09    Somme, Marquenterre 50,33N 1,68E France                                  team Marcanterre
11 Jan 10    Devon, Puslinch, Yealm estuary 50,30N -4,03E United Kingdom    Vic Tucker
16 Jan 10    Devon, Puslinch, Yealm estuary 50,30N -4,03E United Kingdom   Alan Pomroy
17 Jan 10    Devon, Puslinch, Yealm estuary 50,30N -4,03E United Kingdom   via Mark Darlaston
30 Jan 10    Cornwall, River Tamar 50,62N -4,37E United Kingdom                  Bruce Taggert
26 Jul 10    Lauwersmeer, Jaap Deensgat 53,38N 6,23E The Netherlands       Henk van Huffelen
27 Sep 10    Somme, Marquenterre 50,33N 1,68E France                               Staff Marcanterre
3 Oct 10      Somme, Marquenterre 50,33N 1,68E France                                 Francois Sueur
10 Oct 10    Dorset, Brownsea island 50,68N -1,95E United Kingdom               Peter Moore
5 Dec 10     Cornwall, River Lynher,W.Quay 50,37N -4,27E United Kingdom    Bruce Taggert
11 Jan 11     Dorset, Poole Harbour 50,68N -2,00E United Kingdom                 Bob Mould
4 Jul 11       Schiermonnikoog, Oosterkwelde 53,48N 6,25E The Netherlands   Petra de Goeij
8 Oct 11      Dorset, Brownsea island 50,68N -1,95E United Kingdom                Andy Swash
12 Feb 12    Dorset, Poole Harbour 50,68N -2,00E United Kingdom                 Peter Moore
27 Apr 12    Schiermonnikoog, Oosterkwelde 53,48N 6,25E The Netherlands  Petra de Goeij
30 Apr 12    Schiermonnikoog, Oosterkwelde 53,48N 6,25E The Netherlands  Petra de Goeij
24 Sep 12    Dorset, Poole Harbour 50,68N -2,00E United Kingdom                Hutchins & Kelson
13 Oct 12    Dorset, Poole Harbour 50,68N -2,00E United Kingdom                 Steve Smith
30 Dec 12   Dorset, Poole Harbour 50,68N -2,00E United Kingdom                  Alex Rhodes
19 Jan 13    Dorset, Poole Harbour 50,68N -2,00E United Kingdom                  Peter Moore
19 Jan 13    Dorset, Poole Harbour 50,68N -2,00E United Kingdom                 Simon Johnson
23 Mar 13   Dorset, Poole Harbour 50,68N -2,00E United Kingdom                  Shaun Robson
30 Apr 13   Schiermonnikoog, Oosterkwelde 53,48N 6,25E The Netherlands   Petra & Otto
8 Jul 14      Schiermonnikoog, Westerplas 53,47N 6,15E The Netherlands       Petra de Goeij
5 Oct 14     Dorset, Brownsea island 50,68N -1,95E United Kingdom               Chris Thain

This Spoonbill clearly has a good list of Poole Harbour Birders (Kevin Lane, Peter Moore, myself, Shaun Robson & Chris Thain).
Spoonbill: Individual 4. This is V027
Spoonbill: Individual 4. A better view of V027 again. This must be a 1st Winter Spoonbill with this much pink on the bill
The fourth CR Spoonbill had left leg (nothing) & right leg (V027 on Pale Green).This Spoonbill was ringed as a pullus at Var Holm, Nibe, Denmark on 28th June 2013. There are currently no additional details of it's movements in the last 15 months, other than it was seen on Brownsea on 5 Oct 14. Thanks to news related by Chris Thain, the DWT Brownsea warden..
Spoonbill: Individual 5. I only saw the right leg
The fifth Spoonbill was more frustrating as I only saw one of the legs. It was left leg (not seen) & right leg (Green over Yellow over Pale Green). I will need better views before I can send in this individual.

Soon after, they all took off for no reason & flew around briefly before landing again.
Spoonbill: They really are elegant
Spoonbill: Several 1st Winter Spoonbills in this group with Adult AE in the middle
Spoonbill: 2nd Winter Individual 1 drops in. Note, the finer black tipping to the wings on this individual
Eventually, one Spoonbill started feeding a lot closer than where the others were roosting. A chance for pure indulgence without having to worry about Colour Rings or ageing.
Spoonbill
Spoonbill: I'm often surprised at how small the food is that the Little Egrets are eating & looks like the Spoonbills are also eating equally small morsels

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