Sunday, May 01, 2011
A weekend hit-and-run to Weymouth with D#1. Via the New Forest, which would not bother this blog if not for the fact that I nearly trod on an Adder. Small, just a foot long, but brilliantly black-and white, and quite nippy motoring across the grass. Thanks D#1 for aleerting me to that one ...
Portland on Mayday morning - just an hour's sea watching. I stuck myself on the end of a line and notched up a Pomarine Skua and 2 Arctic Skuas, with a cast of a few small flocks of Bar-Tailed Godwits, a couple of Whimbrel, some Commic Terns, and some close in Gannets plunging into the sea which I always find spectacular.
I find all my experience of sea-birds away from the sea is completely useless when faced with distant migrating birds going past a headland. The skuas leave me struggling, and whilst I can appreciate after the event that the Pom was steadier and more direct, and others did get the full cutlery on this one, I find the most reliable id feature is call. Specifically the excited call of "Pom!" that goes up when a Pom appears, and the slightly deflated "Arctic" that goes up when an Arctic appears.
On to Ferrybridge, where a roadside stop had about 100 Bar-Tailed godwits, many in deep russet finery, and a Whimbrel. Further out on the water line were 3 Little Terns.
Finally Lodmoor, and some spectacular close-ups of waders. The full list was:
Bar-Tailed Godwit - 27
Black-Tailed Godwit - 1
Common Sandpiper 2
Grey Plover 2
and an adult male Whinchat - surely a candidate for the world's best bird - hopping around on a dry area.
The Barwit movement of the last two days is well documented elsewhere. deep rich russet birds are surely one of our most spectacular birds and it was great to get close views of some today.
I held my Powershot up to the scope and clicked away more in hope than in expectation. Here goes ...