26 Dec 2015

24 Dec 2015

24 Dec 15 - One Of Santa's Little Helpers

I popped down to Middle Beach, Studland late this afternoon to have a quick look around in case there had been any changes to the local Wintering Divers, Grebes & Seaducks in Studland Bay. A couple of scans didn't reveal anything unusual further out. Then I started scanning the closer areas of sea & immediately picked up a larger shape moving in the water. A double-take was needed. Yes it really was a Sika Deer that was swimming North parallel to the shore & about 30 metres off the beach. Sika Deers are proficient swimmers & have no problems swimming out to Brownsea Island within Poole Harbour. But it is the first time, I've seen one swimming in the open sea.
Sika Deer: Swimming this afternoon off Middle Beach. I saw it swim about a 1/4 mile from from Middle Beach to where it it finally came out of the sea. The chances are that it was chased into the sea at South Beach: a 1/2 mile swim
While I can't be certain, my money is on it was chased by a dog & the only way to escape was to head out into the sea. The beach was heaving with people & unleashed dogs. Sadly the reality is that many of these dogs are untrained by their irresponsible owners. There are some clearly sensible & caring dog owners who will put their dogs on a lead as they get closer to flocks of Brent Geese or Waders, but for every considerate dog owner at Studland, I see several who don't seem to care about the wildlife as long as their precious pooch gets to run around chasing everything. Sadly, I am yet to see the NT wardens on their beach asking people to control their dogs.

As I watched the Sika Deer it was swimming strongly along the shoreline, but seemed to be looking for somewhere to come out. But it wasn't helped by people who were walking up to the water's edge & follow it along the shore so they could get photos on their mobiles, including two women who should have known better & also should have backed off & leased their dogs. I quickly gave up on my scanning & drove down to the Knoll Beach car park, reaching it, just as the Sika Deer passed the NT cafe (all shut up for Christmas). Fortunately, as I got onto the beach there was one crowd of on-lookers & then a reasonable gap to the next group. More importantly there were no dogs running loose here. The Sika Deer seemed to be wanting to come ashore, so I asked the one guy trying to get closer to return to the back of the beach with his friends, who took his (for once) well controlled Labrador with him. Both came back & that helped create a bigger gap for the Sika Deer to come ashore. Once ashore it belted for the dunes & the woods around Littlesea. It looked OK as it came ashore, but I guess it was feeling very stressed about its swim.

So one of Santa's Little Helpers got safely ashore. Perhaps now Santa will answer my requests for my Christmas present. Ideally, I would ask for more consideration for the wildlife around Studland, but I know that isn't realistic. So my other Christmas present would be an American Wigeon in Brands Bay before the end of the year. With only one Poole Harbour record: a First Winter male on 4 & 5 May 1987, then this is a species that we are long overdue in seeing the second record. I just hope if Santa does response, it doesn't get mis-delivered to another part of Poole Harbour.
Another of Santa's Little Helpers in less stressful times: Middlebere (25 May 14)

Finally, thanks for following the Blog over the last year & I would like to wish you:
A Happy Christmas & Great New Year

8 Dec 2015

8 Dec 15 - Clearly Not Bedtime Yet

Normally by early December, I would expect that the local Common Frogs were all hibernating & only occasionally appearing during a short mild snap. Apart from a few days in late Nov, when there was a cold snap, it has been a mild Autumn. As a result, I've see a Common Frog in my larger pond on a few occasions recently. Today, I saw it out looking for some food. Although it is hard to see where it will put that food, as it was remarkably stout.
Common Frog