11 Jan 2015

11 Jan 15 - Great White Egret Still On The Studland Patch

This year I have decided I will go for a Studland/Ballard Down patch year list. My best Studland/Ballard Down patch year list is 176 in 2009 (following BOU taxonomy). This excludes Crap or Feral Pigeon which I saw, but I ignore all of the feral crap/racing pigeon individuals I see in the UK. This shows how good the area can be given its only about 3 miles long at the Southerly base & 3 miles from the base to the Northern boundary at the Poole Harbour mouth. It has been a few years since I have tried for a patch year list & as a result I have found I haven't been as motivated to get out onto the Studland/Ballard Down patch as often as I could have in recent years. So to incentivise myself, I've decided on another patch year list. I won't be registering for the Patchwork Challenge as it is too large a patch & I don't want to narrow my attention down even further. I won't be competing against anybody other than my younger self (from previous years). I will aim for monthly patch updates on the Blog as to how the year list is going, but will put occasional extra Posts in when good birds warrant them.

But the year started well with catching up on the first of the month with the wintering Great White Egret on Littlesea. More recently, I've seen it well on a couple of occasions, whilst out looking for Coot on the patch. It is perhaps ironic, as well as sad, that I'm now regularly seeing Great White Egrets on the patch since 2 individuals turned up in Autumn 14 (now down to 1 individual), whereas Coot has more or less died out. Coot had a small resident population on Littlesea lake up to 2011, which swelled every Winter to about 120 individuals. Since that date this population has disappeared & I've only seen a couple of sightings on the small South Haven pool. Unfortunately, Carp has somehow become established in Littlesea in recent years & I suspect the disappearance of the Coot, is largely a result of the impacts of the many large Carp on the freshwater weed that the Coot used to feeding on.
Coot: Sadly, along with the Diving Duck they virtually all disappeared from Studland in the last 4 years. As they have gone from Studland, I've had to use a photo from Blashford Lakes (3 Oct 14)
Great White Egret: 1st Winter. With a roosting Cormorant
This is the same First Winter individual with the buff edges to the median & greater secondary coverts that was photographed back in Sep 14 around Littlesea, Studland & Brands Bay which is part of the Studland patch. I've not seen the second pure First Winter white individual since mid Oct 14.