14 Mar 2015

14 Mar 15 - More Migrants Arrive

With the first Wheatears arriving in Dorset during the week, it seemed likely that there would be some around the Studland/Ballard patch today. As a result, I decided to start at Greenlands Farm. It didn't take long to find the two Wheatears on the central path across the centre of the main field. Two males with a party of six Stonechats. Last week a Stonechat party were hosting my first Black Redstart at Old Harry. Today, a different party were welcoming the first Wheatears for Studland this year.
Wheatear: A record shot of number 128 for the patch Year List
Another sign of migration was the arrival of a large flock of Starlings. This Winter numbers around Studland only got into double figures for the first time at the start of the month & even that was a modest 18 Starlings on Greenlands. So a flock of around 130 Starlings by the barn on Greenlands Farm were clearly a migrant flock.
Starling: Just part of the flock (in case you are counting)
Starling: A new species for the Blog
Still good numbers of the Winter dabbling Ducks in Brands Bay along with 400 Black-tailed Godwits & a distant feeding Spoonbill. A quick final check of Middle Beach revealed that there were still five Black-necked Grebes in Studland Bay. But I wasn't hoping for them. Instead I was looking that a group of Eiders would have stopped off in the bay. Surprisingly, there doesn't seem to have been any around the Studland & Poole Harbour area this year. These days, they are more erratic visitors, but I generally expect to see them at some point over the Winter from Studland. I decided to have a quick scan of the field in front of The Pig hotel. This field doesn't get a lot, but it always look promising. I think an Autumn Pied Flycatcher is about the best I've seen in this field. But was rewarded with what I thought was my first White Wagtail for Studland. Note, I've had to rewrite this section following feedback from Brett Spencer that it is a first Summer Pied Wagtail. A chance to learn more about this tricky age & subspecies. More on the next Post.
Pied Wagtail: First Summer
Pied Wagtail: Note, the old greater coverts on this side, which have already been replaced on the right wing