Red-necked Grebe – Swineham Gravel Pits, Dorset

I was meeting some workshop participants in Wareham and so decided to head down a bit earlier to look for an Osprey which had been seen in the Wareham Channel. Thinking about it later this was probably the regular female Osprey who had just arrived from West Africa and was using the new and close by Middlebere nesting platform.

There seemed to be a surprisingly large number of birders around when I arrived and I then remembered that Swineham Gravel Pits were close by, I would walk right passed them and a Red-necked Grebe had been seen there.

As I got to the Wareham Channel on the edge of Poole Harbour I stopped to scan the main pit and soon found the Red-necked Grebe. Although not a new bird for the year this was my best view of Red-necked Grebe for some time. The dusky red neck and yellow base to the bill were obvious. 

I didn’t manage to see the Osprey but I did see a few early migrants – a singing male Willow Warbler, a flyover calling Yellow Wagtail and several Swallows. I also heard and then saw a pair of Bearded Tits.

On the way back to the car I passed someone photographing what I assumed was a butterfly but as I got closer I realised that he was watching three Adders basking on the south facing roadside bank. My best ever views of this species.

The 3 new spring migrants take my year list up to 169.     

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