Sunday, December 30, 2007

Last Gasp 2007

We popped down to Weymouth for a couple of days. Nipping out for a couple of hours is normally difficult in winter, but this time I could nip out for a couple of hours in the morning because D#1 appears to be in a state of quasi-hibernation, and doesn’t normally make an appearance until the afternoon.

29th was Lodmoor. I started off scanning Weymouth Bay, and got 3 Great-Northern Divers, 2 Razorbills, a GC-Grebe, c20 Turnstones, and a frustrating distant diver.

On Lodmoor, a large female pheasant powered past, and it was only as it plunged into the reeds that I twigged it was a Bittern – my first for Lodmoor. Then 3 Stonechats, and from Beachdown Way a flock of Pochard contained 2m Wigeon and a female Scaup – another first for Lodmoor. Otherwise a female Bullfinch, and a Shoveller.

Then 30th it was round Portland Harbour. With no wind it was like a millpond, perfect conditions. I watched from Portland Castle, then The National Sailing Academy, and then over the shingle bank into Chesil Cove.

There were at least 4 Great-Northern Divers, possibly 6; a Red-Necked Grebe, 3 Long-Tailed Ducks causing a stir amongst the regulars, 3 Med Gulls (ad, 1st winter, 2nd winter), a couple of Razorbills, a GC-Grebe, and a few Dunlin, Turnstone and Oyks.

Over the bank, there was c30 Common Scoter on the big sea. I couldn’t see the Velvet Scoter with them, despite much searching, but did see a Red-Throated Diver.

Finally another two distant Divers in the harbour. They were good candidates for Black-Throated; serpentine appearance, horizontal beaks, occasional glimpse of white thigh patch, but just too distant to be absolutely positive.

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