31 Jan 2015

31 Jan 15 - Deciding To Do A Studland/Ballard Patch Year List

In a spur of the minute decision at the end of 2014, I decided I have neglected the Studland/Ballard patch in recent years and I would do a 2015 patch year list. I had some intensive years of patch birding in 2008, 2009 & 2011 and since then I needed a bit of time Birding other sites as well as the Studland/Ballard patch. So there was a bit more UK & some foreign Birding. But I also spent time looking at other groups of wildlife & some time focusing more on photography. Having said that most of the UK Birding since 2011 has still been within Poole Harbour. It is ironic in some ways that having decided I had neglected the patch in recent years, that I had found more on the patch in 2014 than in any previous year. Especially when I hadn't been there that much, compared to the more intensive years. The 2014 goodies I found were:-
Hoopoe: Greenlands Farm. Amazingly I found this Hoopoe as I was going to twitch a Richard's Pipit found by Graham Armstrong. Two patch ticks added in less than an hour (24 Apr 14)
Grey-headed Wagtail: Female. First for Poole Harbour & seventh for Dorset of this race of Yellow Wagtail (31 May 14)
Yellow-browed Warbler: One of three different individuals found: one was North of Knoll Beach car park, one between Knoll & Middle Beach & one at South Beach (10 Oct 14)
I also found my first Studland Grey Phalarope at South Haven and a refind of a Black Guillemot off Old Harry (over a week after it was seen at the harbour mouth): but the photos of both species were too crap to keep.
Green-winged Teal: finding this Male in Brands Bay on New Years Eve was a great way to end the year
At this point, I should probably display a map of the area & draw a border on it. The easy option would have been to copy a map & draw a border on it. But that would have broken somebodies copyright (I strongly disapprove of those bloggers who put anybody else's material on their dreary Blogs to make them look better, especially when they don't even acknowledge the owner). So I've had to hand draw a map & add a few labels myself. This is best compared with an OS map to see the missing detail.
The Studland/Ballard Down patch boundaries
The patch is about 3 miles from top to bottom and about 3 miles from East to West at the bottom, but it tapers to a narrow point at the Northern end at South Haven, which is the Southern side of the Poole Harbour mouth. The Eastern side is Studland Bay which is the sea side of the patch. The North Western side from South Haven to Brands Bay is a tidal area with varying amounts of mud depending on the tidal strength. There is a freshwater lake known as Littlesea surrounded by heathland, dunes, woodland & wet marshy areas. Greenlands Farm is mainly grassy fields which through grazing has been changed to grassland from the surrounding Godlingston Heath (heathland). Ballard Down is a mixture of chalk grassland & farmland. An overall view of the patch from Ballard Down forms the banner photo for the Blog. Crucially, I count species seen within the boundaries, but also seen from inside these boundaries. Thus, Birds seen in Poole Harbour or Studland Bay are acceptable. Here are a few more photos of the patch.
South Haven: Looking towards Pilots Point (6 Oct 14)
Brands Bay: Low tide (21 April 14)
Brands Bay: The inner bay is partially enclosed by Redhorn Quay (21 April 14)
Brands Bay: Looking left from the hide (21 April 14)
Greenlands Farm: With Godlingston Heath in the background (25 May 14)
Studland Bay from Middle Beach: Looking towards Pilots Point on a stormy day (10 Feb 13)
South Beach: The sheltered Southerly end of South Beach with Old Harry in the background (7 Oct 14)
Old Harry: (1 June 14)
My Studland/Ballard patch list is 215 species, plus Nightingale heard. I've seen, but do not, count Crap (Feral) Pigeon. The varied habitats all help to ensure there is a wide range of species on the list. A full copy of my Studland/Ballard list can be found on Bubo.

There are plenty more great views of the patch, but I will have to photograph them & add them to the Blog over the next year. Anyway, in the next Post, I will provide a summary of my first month of the Patch Year List. It has been a great start to the patch Year List.