22 May 2023

22 May 23 - Spring Spotted Flycatchers

Spring Spotted Flycatchers are normally scarce at St Aldhelms with typically only one or two seen on a good day. So, it was surprising to hear Phil Saunders had a big fall of at least twenty-three on Sunday 21 May 23. I was out the following morning & saw at least eleven Spotted Flycatchers between the Renscombe Farm car park & Trev's Quarry: this included eight flying North. Steve Morrison had seen another ten at the Head itself at the same time I was seeing my Spotted Flycatchers, so overall there were similar numbers to Phil's day. On both days, there were a number of individuals flying strongly North & rapidly leaving the Head, so it was clear that the fall was continuing for a second day with a good turnover of individuals.
Spotted Flycatcher: One of the eleven Spotted Flycatchers by Trev's Quarry
There was also a Marsh Harrier over in the late morning. I picked it up in the field North of Trev's Quarry at 11:08. It was still hunting over the fields near the car park as I got back to the car, but it quickly rose in height presumably to get a good view of the surrounding area. It dropped back to ground height & disappeared off North West at 11:33.
Marsh Harrier: Marsh Harriers are a scarce species with only one or two records a year at St Aldhelms
There was a third fall of Spotted Flycatchers on the 23rd with another thirteen individuals between the Renscombe Farm car park & Trev's Quarry, including another four flying North. During this period, the winds were North Easterly which were helping to provide a headwind & encouraging the fall.
Spotted Flycatcher: One of the thirteen Spotted Flycatchers at the top of Pier Bottom (23 Sep 23)
On the 23rd, a full-sized replica of a 16th or 17th Century Spanish Galleon, the El Galeon Andalucia, was seen heading East past St Aldhelms. Despite being a replica, it clearly has an engine as well, as it was motoring East without any sails up in a North Easterly wind.
El Galeon Andalucia: This is full-sized replica with a modern engine as well (23 May 23)