A Great Start to the Year

Smew (Aidan Brown)

Smew, male and female, Longham Lakes, January 2012 (Aidan Brown)

…for some observers anyway. I have spent most of the year stuck in the office, as others have enjoyed the Longham Blue-winged Teal, Smews and Scaup, plus Raven and other goodies. Anyway, here is a summary of the year so far, going backwards…

31 January 2012
The immature drake Scaup still present (Alan Pearce). Its visit to Longham Lakes has obviously done it good, and it has now moulted almost into adult plumage. There was also a pair of Ravens feeding on the carcass of a recently deceased swan.

25 January 2012
Female Smew still around, and other odds and ends included Stonechat, Sparrowhawk and Mediterranean Gull (Pat and Dave Harris).

15 January 2012
The Blue-winged Teal was reported for the last time (Dorset Bird Club website).

14 January 2012
Female Smew, Goosander and the immature male Scaup present (Ian Lewis).

10 January 2012
A complete count at the Lakes produced the following numbers: Mute Swan 4, Mallard 39, Gadwall 23, Teal 34, Wigeon 175, Shoveler 3, Tufted Duck 122, Pochard 33, Greater Scaup 1, Smew 1, Little Grebe 5, Great Crested Grebe 32, Cormorant 65, Little Egret 3, Grey Heron 1, Coot 158, Black-headed Gull 255, Common Gull 32, Herring Gull 24, Lesser Black-back 2, Great Black-back 2. Also 7 Meadow Pipits.

The Common Gull count equals the all-time record.

7 January 2012
James Phillips had a superb visit, nailing every one of the quality ducks: male and female Smew, the female Blue-winged Teal and the Scaup. Also 1 Chiffchaff and Cetti’s Warbler singing.

4 January 2012
Ian Lewis is searching for the Blue-winged Teal when he manages to spot the first drake Smew on Longham Lakes since January 31st 2004.

3 January 2012
Alan Pearce saw a Raven feeding on a carcass left behind by a Buzzard.

2 January 2012
A clean sweep of quality waterfowl for David Taylor, namely: the female Blue-winged Teal, a Smew, the Scaup and a Goosander. Also Bullfinch (never common here) and Grey Wagtail.

The year began with interesting news of a local ringing recovery. A Reed Bunting ringed by Roger Peart at Longham Lakes on 27th June 2011 was caught again at Lytchett Bay, Poole Harbour, on 14th December 2011 (per Shaun Robson).

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