Welcome to the 2011 Holland Haven Bird Report
A total of 189* species were recorded during the year, six more than 2010, five more than 2009 and seven less than the record 196 species recorded in 2008. (*excludes Caspian Gull).
Two species, Balearic Shearwater and without doubt the highlight of the year, the stunning and thankfully long staying Sub Alpine Warbler, represented new additions to the overall site list.
This total does not include:
1. Species reported where reasonable doubt exists concerning the identification claimed.
2. Species recorded from outside of the site boundaries that without doubt passed by/over the recording area. i.e. multiple sightings of seabirds, waders, wildfowl and passerines passing south offshore/over Frinton-on-Sea reported by Paul Brayshaw.
3. Reports of Caspian Gull without supporting images.
4. Species where escape from captivity is considered beyond reasonable doubt.
The addition of both Balearic Shearwater and Sub Alpine Warbler combined with the decision by BOU/BBRC to elevate Siberian Stonechat to full species status, increases the total number of species recognised by ‘hollandhavenbirding.com’ as having occurred within the site boundaries (The Haven List) up until 31st December 2011, to 267.
Pete Davis notched up a total of 177 species, (93% of the total species recorded) again well short of the all time record of 185 set in 2008 by Gary Gardiner. Also of note, Mick Rodwell finished 2011 with a site year total of 167.
In addition to Sub Alpine Warbler and Balearic Shearwater other 2011 highlights included the 3rd and 4th records for Crane, 5th Great Grey Shrike, 6th and possibly 7th Pallas’s and Yellow Browed Warblers, 6th Osprey and Mandarin Duck, 7th Rough Legged Buzzard, Black Brant and Long Tailed Duck, 8th and 9th Pectoral Sandpiper, 9th and 10th Egyptian Geese and Temminck’s Stints, 10th and 11th Long Tailed Skuas and a lot more besides!
However, as usual, it wasn’t all good news with again few reports of Little Terns, Turtle Dove and Guillemot and as feared we finally had a blank year as far as Pied Flycatcher was concerned. Grey Partridge just about hangs on with a single report of a single bird, although at least this year it was a live bird! After a good year in 2010 both Cetti’s Warbler and Bearded Tit returned to virtually rarity status and Redstarts totalled two, one in spring and one in autumn. Spotted Flycatcher fared little better with just two records totalling three birds!
In terms of ‘near misses’ there was an ‘’interesting’ Swift, possible Dusky Warbler and yet again Common Redpoll failed to cross the line by the slimmest of margins! Although not detailed in this report there was also a potential Red Rumped Swallow, fly over Rosefinch and Serin, Wood Warbler flashing out of the bottom panel of a mist net and a large dark Lark none of which, to the eternal credit of the observers involved, were formally claimed thereby making the job of the Recorders that little bit easier! Other species that either passed by unseen or were seen just outside the recording area were Fea’s Petrel, Cory’s and probably Great Shearwater, (all on the same day with the first two passing Frinton-on-Sea and the latter Walton pier), a Black Stork seen heading south from Languard (two observers had a candidate very distantly out to sea...but it could have been a gliding Cormorant!) and reported just outside our North Eastern boundary by the Frinton Bird Observatory, Hooded Crow, Grasshopper Warbler and Serin!
Nonetheless 2011 proved to be an interesting year with virtually all Haven regulars able to add one or more new species to their Haven Life Lists....... including the compiler of this report...... who, for the second year running, notched up a most welcome three new site species during the year! From the sublime to the ridiculous, it can also be reported that a Bar Headed Goose was claimed on the 20th June and an escaped Harris Hawk, first seen on the 26th July, hung around for weeks before moving on to Wigboro Wick where it could be seen from mid November!
Ringing activity continued during the year, resulting in an impressive 759 birds of 35 species being rung. Full details of all ringing activities etc can be found elsewhere on the website.
For once I’m not going to finish with a list of non birding activity witnessed over the year - which at times makes most of us so angry that you just want to start banging heads together. We all know what the problems are! However, one particular problem is getting worse: Irresponsible dog walkers who have total disregard for both the wildlife and other Country Park users alike. Whilst some dog owners are seen to clean-up after their animal/s and subsequently place this rubbish into the appropriate ‘council bins’ on the site (thank you), there are many who don’t! Just as bad are those who clean-up the mess into a bag, then throw said bag into the trees and onto the bushes! Let alone the laws relating to ‘dog fouling’, are these people not aware of the dangers of the excrement / bags to humans and to wildlife?
Anyway, enough of the annual whinge and looking forward to 2012, the hollandhavenbirding.com editorial team, along with a number of other ‘Haven Regulars’ continue to offer up predictions for new species to be added to the site list during the current year.
Common (Mealy) Redpoll
Black Winged Stilt
Green Winged Teal
White Rumped Sandpiper
*Terry Palmer scored with Sub Alpine Warbler and he’s now plumped for Radde’s Warbler. Perhaps surprisingly nobody had Balearic Shearwater although Cory’s, as chosen by Paul came close with a single bird seen moving north east past Frinton having passed the Haven unseen!
**As finders of new birds for the Haven list, Mick and Pete Davis had the opportunity to change their predictions (even stealing someone else’s, other than Tel’s pick.... as he predicted right) but opted to retain their original choices.
Finally......... again a massive vote of thanks to everyone who contributed to the ‘Latest News’ section of the website as well as to Kas Aldous and Gary Gardiner, who between them throughout the year, continued to update the web page on a daily basis. Without both this wealth of data and the time and effort put in to input daily updates on to the website (let alone the Gallery and Ringing Pages) it would be impossible to construct anything other than a few lines on a handful of the rarer species.
Pete Davis 27th September 2012
Red Throated Diver
Reported regularly during the first winter period until early February with 14 offshore on the 11th January, and a flock of 80+ disturbed by passing boats on the 23rd January being particularly noteworthy. No further reports were received until the 6th March on which day a total of eight birds were noted. Following one on the 19th and two passing north on the 20th March the last report of the first winter period involved two or three birds noted on the 25th March. The first returning bird was noted offshore on the 10th October. During a much quieter second winter period singletons were noted on the 24th October, 7th, 8th and 12th November, 6th December with the last report of the year concerning five plus on the 12th December.
Black Throated Diver
Four records, all in the first winter period;
23rd January (on the sea early pm drifting south)
29th January (passing north east offshore)
5th February (on the sea close inshore)
6th March (on the sea drifting distantly north east)
It is entirely possibly that a single wintering bird was involved in all the above sightings. In addition to the above, ‘diver sp’ seen distantly on the sea on the 4th January, passing distantly offshore on the 23rd January and again on the 27th October were thought to possibly be this species.
Great Northern Diver
23rd January (one, possibly two, passing north offshore mid pm with flock of Red Throated Divers)
8th October (passing offshore)
9th October (passing south west offshore)
8th November (passing north east offshore am)
In addition to the above two ‘divers sp’ seen passing south west offshore at 1215 on the 19th December were thought to possibly be this species.
Other than one seen on Great Holland Hall farm pond on the 6th April there was no evidence of potential breeding across the site. In fact no further reports whatsoever were received after this date for over seven months until December! Three seen on the 12th December and three or four on the 2nd February were the highest reported single day counts during what was a somewhat uneventful year for this species.
Great Crested Grebe
Seven records involving a maximum of nine birds;
23rd January (on the sea early pm with Red Throated Divers)
6th March (passing south west offshore)
26th March (three on the sea)
2nd April (passing south west offshore)
2nd May (on sea near sluice before moving off north east)
12th November (on the sea)
21st November (on the sea off of the golf course)
As with a number of the Diver reports it is entirely possible that single wintering/lingering individuals are responsible for multiple records.
Five records, all in spring, of individuals passing offshore as follows;
The individual seen on the 25th April was considered by the observer to be of an ‘intermediate phase’. A similar showing to the six seen in 2010 but less than half of the 11 birds seen during 2009.
Three individuals all passing north east on the 16th September (0855 hours, 0900 hours and 0945 hours respectively) strongly mirrors 2010 when the sole records for that year involved three birds passing north east on the 6th September.
Two records involving two birds;
20th September (north east close inshore 1503)
9th October (south west am/early pm)
A welcome return to the year list after a blank year in 2010.
The first record for the Haven involved one of two Shearwaters seen by Pete Davis passing relatively close inshore north east at 1035 on the 16th September. The closer of the two could be determined as a Balearic however the more distant individual, whilst thought to also be a Balearic, evaded specific identification offering only a ‘stern on’ view once attention had switched from the closer bird.
Both birds were moving apace in strong on shore winds however within minutes they were picked up by Paul Brayshaw at the Frinton Bird Observatory who 10-15 minutes earlier witnessed a Cory’s Shearwater heading the same way! Although this individual had managed to evade Pete Davis stationed at the Haven Sluice, this disappointment was nothing compared to later that afternoon when Paul noted Essex’s first Fea’s Petrel passing north east offshore! Although bitter sweet, the 16th September was clearly a day to be sea watching! Regrettably, as the sole observer, cold and hungry, Pete Davis had long abandoned his post by the time Paul picked up this iconic seabird from the warmth of his front room closely situated to a no doubt well stocked larder!
Mid September saw an unprecedented influx of Balearic Shearwaters in British waters including record day counts from a number of locations in the south west of the Country.
A total of 228+ individuals were recorded over 22 dates (124+ individuals over 17 dates in 2010, 298+ individuals over 23 dates in 2009 and 283+ individuals over 37 dates in 2008).
The first record for the year involved a single bird in late winter reported on the 28th February. The sole spring record of the year concerned two seen on the 29th April. Adults seen on the 3rd July and the 14th July (two) were the sole records for that month. The only record for the following month involved an immature passing north east on the 25th August. The main passage of the year spanned early September to the second week of November with double figure day counts occurring on the 16th September (17 passing south west), the years maximum on the 8th October (111 passing offshore between 0730-1545 hours), the following day 9th October (52 passing offshore 0730-1315 hours) and 6th November (12 passing offshore 0830-0930 hours). A near adult passing north west on the 14th December was the sole record for that month and the last report of the year. The 8th and 9th October (total 163 birds) accounted for over 70% of the total birds seen during the year.
Recorded in every month (although none reported from 2nd June to 5th July) with the maximum day count of 22 seen over the scrape before continuing south west on the 16th September. Other than between 10-12 reported for four days thereafter (17th -20th September) the only other double figure day counts involved 20+ feeding offshore/passing south west on the 23rd February and 10+ reported on the 8th November. Critical examination of individuals seen on the scrape or elsewhere at close quarters suggests that individuals of the race sinensis are involved in most instances and that carbo may in fact be a scarce visitor with no more than a handful of confirmed reports during the year (sub adult 9th May, 1+ 1st and 2nd August with 2 on the 18th August one of which remained on and off until the year end, recognisable by the plastic beer can holder it had managed to get its neck stuck in. (Despite this obvious impediment this individual could often be seen fishing off the sluice and as its continued survival suggests, was less disadvantaged as perhaps one might think!)
Three records involving two or three birds;
24th November (adult passing south west close inshore)
10th December (juvenile on the sluice)
14th December (fishing off the sluice)
A welcome return to the year list after a blank year in 2010. Although no age was given it is entirely likely that the bird seen on the 14th December was the same individual flushed from the sluice by dog walkers four days earlier. Although scarce to rare at the Haven, up to double figure counts of Shag have been regularly recorded nearby (relatively) at Bradwell where they can be found lounging on the power station baffle.
Recorded in every month except June with only single reports for April, August and October. Again the vast majority of reports involved single birds only with most records occurring from 1st January to mid March with two birds seen on the 3rd, 4th and 11th of January. Five seen together in Holland Brook from a moving car on the 15th November was the highest day count of the year with four flying over south west on the 5th October also worthy of note. Following records for seven days in July only 10 reports were received thereafter until the years end the perception being that perhaps this species is occurring less frequently than in recent years.
Recorded in every month. Modest increase in numbers noted from mid August to late November. Maximum day count a modest six plus noted on the 23rd November with five in off the sea on the 14th October with five again across the site on the 16th October also of note.
Multiple records thought to involve maximum of five individuals;
On the 20th March, Mark Coventry noted one on the scrape late pm which, after 40 minutes, departed north east.
On the 24th September at 0940 one flew high over the hide out to sea.
On the 20th October three immature were located on the scrape, one of which was bearing coloured rings, one a strange large black hexagonal ring whilst the third was un-ringed. Subsequent investigations found that the ringed birds originated from Germany having been rung as nestlings earlier in the year. Two were still present the following day, the 21st October and again 24th-27th, 29th and 31st October (these two being the un-ringed and the colour ringed birds). Both were still present on the 2nd November however on the 3rd, 5th and 8th November only the un-ringed bird was reported although on the 9th November the colour ringed bird had returned and joined the un-ringed bird. The scrape is well watched during late autumn so on most dates when no reports were received it can be assumed that no birds were present suggesting that on these days they were feeding elsewhere, albeit quite local. A Spoonbill seen to fly off from the grazing marsh on the 17th November is assumed to be one of these two. On the 1st and 2nd December the colour ringed bird was once again on the scrape.
Assuming five different birds were involved in all the above sightings, there have now been a maximum total of 25 individuals recorded all of which have occurred since May 1996.
Present throughout the year. One pair nested opposite the hide hatching seven cygnets although at least one was reportedly killed by a dog. Four young had survived to the end of the year although to confuse maters two family parties each with four large cygnets were reported present on the 31st October!
In addition to the breeding pair the resident adult on Great Holland Hall farm pond maintained its lonely vigil throughout the year.
The sole record of the year involved a party of six, of which at least one was a juvenile, seen flying low over the grazing marsh by members of the ringing team at 1300 hours on the 29th October. The party continued over the site before disappearing south west along the coast towards Clacton-on-Sea.
Pink Footed Goose
Three records involving six birds as follows;
10th May (one with a pair of Greylags on the scrape)
7th November (a party of four were on the arable at around 1300 hours)
17th November (one on the grazing marsh loosely associating with a group of White Fronted Geese)
The above represents the 16th to 18th records for the Haven although some doubt as to the origin of the May bird must exist! In addition 3 ‘Grey Geese sp’ seen distantly on the arable on the 23rd November were either this species or (Tundra) Bean Geese.
One record involving a single bird on the grazing marsh in with Greylags on the 16th November.
Found by Mick Rodwell, this individual was assigned to the form ‘’rossicus’’ (Tundra Bean Goose). Unfortunately for other patch year listing locals this individual could not be found the next day. Also three Grey Geese thought to be (Tundra) Bean or Pink Foot seen distantly on the arable on the 23rd November had disappeared by the time the two observers involved had closed the distance via a circuitous route across the golf course!
White Fronted Goose
Recorded in both winter periods.
A flock of six seen on the grazing marsh immediately to the right of the hide on the 9th January constituted the sole record for the first winter period. Things improved in the second winter period beginning with four birds seen with the Brent from the 9th to 13th November. A significant influx was noted on the 15th November when 19+ were present, increasing to 25 (formed by what appeared to be two distinct groups of 11 and 14) on the 17th November. Only seven could be found on the 19th November which in turn only lingered until the 21st November after which no further records were received until 2 on the 29th and 30th November. There were no reports during December.
Present throughout the year in variable numbers culminating in maximum day count of 465 on the 4th September (15 short of site record 480 recorded on the 21st September 2010). Did not breed.
Compared to recent years numbers were well down during the first winter period with the maximum recorded being around 100 on several dates during January (224 present on the 21st January 2010). As usual numbers dropped rapidly from mid February with only four double figure counts reported (highest 32 on 11th March) until birds returned from 19th July having been entirely absent in the four weeks from the 21st June. Numbers then steadily increased throughout the early autumn peaking at the years maximum day count of 465 on the 4th September after which a slow and erratic reduction was noted over the remainder of the year with around 200 present at the end of November and 60+ on the 9th December after which (other than a singleton reported on the 13th December) no further reports were received.
The table below denotes the highest monthly maxima reported.
Recorded erratically in small numbers during April and early May with only one other record thereafter.
Two reported on the 3rd April were the first for the year. These were promptly followed by a party of four that flew over on the 6th April, a flock of five on the scrape on the 9th April and three that ‘appeared’ on the main scrape island on the 13th April before promptly flying off! Following one seen on the sea off of the sluice on the 29th April a singleton then appeared on the scrape on the 1st May, joined by three others (or replaced by four others), on the 2nd May with two present on the 5th May being the last report during this period. No other reports were received during the entire remainder of the year with the exception of a flock of 20 that appeared on the scrape on the 18th August. This species was only noted on nine days (13 days 2010) during the entire year!
The sole record for the year involved a (presumed) pair that arrived on the scrape on the 15th May remaining until the 18th May. This represents the 11th site record and the fourth year on the bounce where a single party have been recorded. This record compares nicely with the three from 2010 which appeared on the rather late date of the 9th May.
During the first winter period recorded throughout January and February with a maximum of 1400 reported on the 1st February. However wintering birds had promptly left by the 1st March after which the only reports involved birds passing south west on the 10th (2) and 21st and one north east on the 26th March. Following four moving north east on the 2nd April the last report of the first period involved two passing north east on the 22nd April.
There were no summer records this year with nearly five months elapsing before the first returning birds (total 51 passing south west) were noted on the 16th September. Thereafter birds were noted passing offshore regularly during the remainder of the autumn/early winter with by far the highest day count involving around 4000 noted between 0730-1315 hours on the 9th October. As far as wintering birds were concerned groups were noted on the arable/grazing marsh from late October/early November with a maximum of 1250 noted on the 20/21st November and 1000 on the 9th December.
Pale Bellied Brent
Two birds from the end of 2010 were noted amongst the grazing Brent flock on the 3rd, 4th, 10th and 11th January with one remaining on the 13th, 25th, 30th January and finally on the 1st February. One was reported again amongst the grazing Brent on the 23rd, 28th and 30th November and again on the 3rd December.
An adult found by Mick Rodwell amongst the grazing Brent on the 3rd January is assumed to have been the same individual noted previously on the 15th December 2010. It showed intermittently, sometimes well, up until the 11th January.
A ‘probable’ glimpsed amongst 1250 distant grazing Brent on the 21st November was confirmed by Mick Rodwell on the 3rd December after which it could not be found having assumed to have left with many of the Brent whose numbers had reduced after this date by around 50%. This represents the seventh site record.
Multiple records involving minimum of nine birds, two of which were possibly first noted in late 2010.
Two seen flying through the site on the 11th January could well have been the same individuals reported on the scrape on the 23rd December 2010.
One arriving with Greylags on the 20th January may well have been an ‘additional’ bird as two reported with the Brent on the arable on the 23rd January became three on the main scrape island the following day, 24th January. These three, possibly an adult and two juveniles, remained until the 30th January.
A party of 6 were reported on the 19th September.
Assuming the singleton from January and the party of six in September were the only ‘new’ birds, the above represents the 9th and 10th records and follows two records in 2010, 2009 and 2008.
Recorded in every month except August. Only one pair bred, hatching just three ducklings of which two survived.
One on the 3rd January was the first report of the year. Numbers fluctuated wildly during the early part of the year with maximum counts of 22 on the 19th January and 23 on the 18th February, however from early March until the first chick was noted on the 1st June, double figure day counts became the norm with the year maximum of 42 recorded on the 26th March (Two short of the site record of 44 recorded 25th May 2010). Although between four to eight pairs could be seen throughout June only the one pair bred hatching a rather paltry three chicks which became two from the 15th June. After the two remaining juveniles departed on the 25th July no further records were received until five flew south west offshore on the 17th September. Following four passing offshore on the 25th September, two on the 8th October and 36+ over a prolonged period of sea watching on the 9th October, the first individuals noted back on the scrape involved two birds reported on the 28th October. Thereafter reported regularly through to the second week of December including odd birds/small groups passing offshore, however numbers on the scrape during this second winter period only reached double figures on one day, the 10th November, when 10 birds were present. Five on the scrape on the 27th December was the last report of the year.
During the first winter period between 300 to 400 birds regularly present until around mid March with peak counts of 565 on the 14th January and 550+ on the 11th January. After mid March numbers reduced rapidly throughout the remainder of that month (c200 17th, c100 21st to 27th, 30+ on the 31st March). From the 1st April only three or four birds remained until the 15th April after which a single drake lingered until last reported on the 19th April. No further reports were received until the 3rd August when a single bird was noted passing south west offshore. The first birds noted back on the scrape involved a party of six reported on the 24th August. Other than 13 noted on the 16th September, only single figure counts came from the scrape until the second week of October which saw numbers begin to increase. By the 26th October 200+ were noted, with 320+ on the 29th November and 334 counted on the 15th December. As usual strong offshore passage was noted on certain days during autumn, the highlight being 728 counted moving south west over a prolonged period of sea watching undertaken on the 9th October with 122 passing on the 17th September also being worthy of note.
Following eight birds noted on the 31st December 2010, 10 were present on New Years’ Day, the highest count of the year! Single figure counts were received throughout January to a maximum of six on both the 13th and 23rd of that month. Following odd reports of a drake or a pair on widely scattered dates through February, and a drake seen on the 14th and 17th March, no further reports were received until the 12th April when a drake was seen on the scrape. Thereafter reports were received on most days of one to three birds (four on the 3rd May) until the 23rd May although no evidence of attempting breeding was noted. A pair seen on the 24th June, a lone female noted on the 30th June and ‘one’ seen on the 12th July were the only ‘summer’ records after which no reports were received until two were seen passing south west offshore on the 17th September. Following six seen passing offshore during an early morning sea watch on the 9th October the only other records for the year involved a pair on the scrape on the 21st November with a single drake noted on the 27th and 30th November.
Recorded in every month. With no more than c200 reported on any day up until the 11th January a major influx was noted from the 13th when around 750 were present, eclipsed the following day, the 14th January when a thorough count totalled 1165 birds, a new site record easily beating the previous record of c800 noted on the 17th January 2010. Although around 600+ were still around on the 25th January numbers fell away sharply during the remainder of the first winter period with 150+ the highest count for February (2nd and 20th) and no more that 45 recorded on any day during March. Between five and 20 were noted daily between 1st April and 5th May after which time (other than one or two birds 10th to 12th May) no further reports were received until three were seen on the 3rd June. Single figure counts were made on various dates throughout the rest of June with 20 seen on the 30th June. Around 10 to 30 were regularly noted throughout July to mid August after which time numbers increased to around 75-150 until the year end with a maximum of 330 0n the 13th December. Offshore passage was noted on several dates, primarily in the autumn, with 104 seen passing south west on the 9th October being of particular note.
Present throughout the year. Small numbers bred on the scrape, the farm pond at Great Holland Hall and probably at the old-folks home. The only significant report concerned a total of 70+ on the scrape on the 6th September and 65+ on Great Holland farm pond on the 5th January. Almost certainly under recorded.
The sole record of the year involved a female/immature type which frequented the scrape in the company of Teal from the 12th to the 15th August.
After a blank year in 2010 a return to form (or sorts!) with six records involving nine individuals as follows;
22nd January (drake on the scrape mid afternoon)
17th September (two offshore passing south west)
9th October (one passing offshore early am)
4th November (four passing south offshore am)
7th November (drake north joined up with Brent then flew south!)
The sole record of the year involved a female found by Ian Minton on Great Holland farm pond during the morning of the 29th October. It remained for the rest of the day and despite spending long periods lurking obscured under bank side roots, was duly photographed (see gallery), allowing a number of Haven regulars to add this species to their patch list. Perhaps surprisingly, in view of the seemingly suitable habitat, it was not seen subsequently.
The above represents the sixth site record and the first since early September 2006 when a female/eclipse was present on the scrape and Adjacent grazing marsh for 5 days. With one, probably two, pairs known to have bred a nearby Great Holland Pits it is it is unlikely that this individual had travelled far!
Recorded in every month. No evidence of breeding although a pair seen on four dates between 17th May and 24th June. Seen on most days during January with a maximum of 22 on the 17th January, the highest day count of the year. The odd pair or drake seen infrequently in February with five noted on the 23rd February. Following single figure counts to a maximum of five up until 17th March only the odd pair or drake noted through to end of May when two drakes seen on the 31st May. Other than five seen on both the 7th and 22nd July late summer to late autumn only saw odd counts of one to three birds with regular sightings from the scrape commencing from mid November up to a maximum of 13 noted on the 9th December. Three passed offshore north west on the 18th August and one passed offshore on the 9th October. Highest monthly maxima as per table below.
Five records involving nine birds as follows;
1st and 2nd January (drake, on the sea on the 1st)
29th January (female on Holland Brook behind sluice)
12th May (pair on Holland Brook west of B1032)
22nd May (Two, no further details)
17th June (Three, two drakes and a duck on the scrape)
Reported on two dates involving seven birds as follows;
9th October (Five south west 0730-1000 with another drake south west 1000-1315
4th November (Drake south west am)
The first records since 1997 with the birds seen on the 9th October particularly appreciated by a number of local patch workers sea watching at various times throughout the day aware that a bit of a general movement was underway! At least some present that morning secured a ‘two for one’ in the form of a lone Long Tailed Duck passing by!
Reported on 11 dates involving total of 33 birds as follows;
29th January (Two drakes north east)
12th February (Two north east)
29th March (Immature drake and female on the sea)
16th April (Drake passed south west close inshore)
19th April (Immature drake and two female landed on the sea)
28th July (Female on the sea)
16th September (Two south west)
24th September (Four south west)
24th October (Four drakes south west)
7th November (Eight south west prior to 0900, two north after 0900)
8th November (Two drakes south west)
Long Tailed Duck
The sole record of the year involved a single female/immature type which passed south west offshore between 0730-1000 hours on the 9th October.
Being only the seventh site record, the second record since 1995, at least some of those sea watching that morning secured the ‘double whammy’ of another sought after sea duck in the form of Scaup, which was also noted moving south during what was clearly a significant movement of birds offshore.
Six reported on the 28th February, three north east on the 6th March, five north east on the 20th March and five south west on the 25th March were the only reports received for the first six months of the year. The sole mid-summer report involved a flock of 23 seen passing south west on the afternoon of the 19th July after which no further records were received until the 1st September when six were recorded moving south west. Two passing south west on the 11th and a total of 13 south west on the 17th September were the only other reports for that month. Following 12 south west on the 8th October the largest movement of the year was recorded the following day, the 9th October when during a sustained period of sea watching a total of 208 were noted passing through up until 1315 hours. Between 30-45 on the 14th and eight passing south west on the 27th October made up the only other reports for that month. Recorded on five dates during first half of November, two drakes north east on the 3rd, 12 on the 4th, 23 north east on the 7th, 8 on the 8th and 15 south west on the 12th November. The final reports of the year involved 44, (30 south west, 14 north east) on the 12th December. Assuming zero duplication a total of 425+ were recorded at the Haven during 2011 over 18 days although just under half were seen on the one day, 9th October. This compares with 297+ over 12 days during 2010, 439 over 26 days during 2009 and 921 over 34 days during 2008 (albeit over 50% of these occurring on a single day, 17th August 2008.) Strangely whilst August has previously proved to be a peak month of occurrence in some recent years (2008 & 2010) not one Common Scoter was reported during this month in 2011!
Two records involving five birds as follows;
9th October (Four south west 1000-1315)
4th November (Female south west early am)
For the second year running this species outnumbered Velvet Scoter which had a blank year!
Red Breasted Merganser
Reports on eight days involving a total of 38+ birds as follows;
9th October (Nine in total made up of 2+5+2 all south west between 0730-1315)
14th October (Female south west early am)
24th October (Two south west early morning)
4th November (Four south west am)
8th November (Two south am)
12th November (17+ in total made up of 10+ 1020 hours and seven 1045 hours all south west)
13th November (Two south west am)
17th November (female on the sea)
A bumper year with all records falling in a five to six week late autumn/early winter window suggesting significant passage/arrival involving our part of south east England. The flock of 10 seen on the 12th November is the largest ever noted.
The sole record of the year involved three birds together, of which at least two were drakes, passing south west on the afternoon of the 4th November.
The above represents the 11th site record for a species that has now been recorded annually since 2007.