Saturday 26 September 2020

Saturday 26th September

Similar conditions to yesterday that began with the chilliest morning so far this autumn (7°C) with a light north-northwesterly and a few isolated clouds.  Overhead passage was mostly too high and distant; the lone 'vis-mig' observer out today managed to at least record 31 Meadow Pipit, 18 House Martin, 17 'alba' wagtail, including some on the golf course, eight Swallow, seven Siskin and three Song Thrush that rose out of the bushes soon after dawn and flew NE, clear passage birds and the highest count here since successful breeding noted in late May.  Appreciably scarce this year, two Reed Bunting were clearly migrants; also two Lesser Redpoll, two Chaffinch and single Grey Wagtail, Raven and Rook

A mixed tit flock moved through the wooded areas and with it some of the nine Chiffchaff and also seen were three Blackcap and a Goldcrest.  In open areas and on scattered bramble patches, c75 Goldfinch with 18 Greenfinch; 65 Starling, eight Stonechat, four Cirl Bunting and one Wheatear.  At least 97 Linnet at one moment foraged in The Bight. 

The neap tide saw many waterbirds remain within the bounds of the recording area throughout the day, particularly along Shutterton Creek and the best of counts combined with those in the afternoon were c.755 Oystercatcher, 563 Wigeon, 406 Curlew, 178 Redshank, 167 Teal, 152 Black-headed Gull, 57 Knot, 40 Bar-tailed Godwit, 28 Pale-Bellied Brent Goose plus 13 Dark-bellied Brent Goose; 20 Cormorant, 19 Mute Swan, seven Turnstone, four Greenshank, four Little Egret, three Common Gull, two adult winter Mediterranean Gull, two Pintail, two Grey Heron and the male Eider roosted in The Bight. An unseasonal Little Ringed Plover was the latest record since 1983.  On the beach were 10 Sanderling.

Among the 169 Canada Goose that dropped into Shutterton Creek, a Canada Goose x Greylag Goose hybrid was the first individual of this unattractive union here since Sep 2008.

Offshore just 12 Common Scoter, eight Gannet and also five Shelduck flew in off.

A Woodpigeon sat incubating (more) eggs or warming squabs in a nest beside the Butterfly Ride explained the broken egg shells found nearby yesterday. The bird breeding season is sometime described as March to August, derived from cross-compliance rules that farmers and landowners must follow if claim under the Basic Payment Scheme, as now known, to maintain minimum environmental standards. Similar or different periods that describe the bird breeding season exist in legal binding agreements such as planning conditions and contracts. However, the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 (as amended; 'the 'Act'), the cornerstone legislation that protects all wild bird species in Great Britain, does not define a breeding season. As a result, subject to derogations and exemptions, this makes the intentional damage or destruction etc. of a bird egg or a nest, when it is in use or being built, an offence, at any time of the year.

Contrary to popular belief, the Woodpigeon is not actually a 'quarry' bird in Britain (despite international law saying it can be), so although it's the 'open season' (for some 'quarry' species) at the moment, the Woodpigeon sat in its nest can rest easy.  But what about 'pests'? This vernacular may still be in use but hasn't applied to birds, in a legal sense, since about 1992.  Although the Woodpigeon is listed under a number of 'general licences', or alternatively one could apply for a licence to request to remove it, hypothetically of course, licensing is (more-or-less) restricted to only specific purposes listed in the 'Act', and since this late nesting Woodpigeon isn't causing any problems listed, it should be fine - which means that, if the circumstances persist, any scrub clearance and habitat management works needs to proceed rather carefully in this area.

Wildlife news: plenty of warmth in the sunshine still and in sheltered margins were numerous Small White and Speckled Wood, a few Large White, two Red Admiral, a Common Blue and a worn out Gatekeeper. Also a few Common Darter, Migrant Hawker and a Southern Hawker.

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