Yes its half term, so its a few days in Weymouth again. There are Hume’s Warbler, and a Richard’s Pipit on the fleet, an elusive Iceland Gull and a Glossy Ibis. I saw none of them, but had one of the best half-terms I’ve had. Mainly due to a glorious quarter hour this morning at Lodmoor.
I was at the postbox on Beachdown Way watching a Marsh Harrier quartering the reeds. It had a pop at something, and for a moment I thought it was an owl, but through the scope it was obviously a Bittern. I spent the next fifteen minutes with it filling the frame. It was stationary mainly, perched on top of some compacted reed stems, stretching its neck, looking around and occasionally frilling up its neck. Then, a second bird appeared on the edge of the reeds and pecked around for a while before heading back into the reeds.
It’s amazing what a lift a sighting like that gives you. I practically floated round the rest of the reserve. It’s only the second sighting I’ve had in Weymouth in eight years of coming down regularly, and completely unexpected to see these birds wandering around. Perhaps it’s a regular spot - I’ll keep checking. If you go, stand by the Postbox on Beachdown Way, look towards the rubbish disposal site, and then look at the reeds between the two large areas of water between you and the dump.
Otherwise: C200 Lapwings was a reserve record for me, 10 Dunlin, c10 Wigeon, a Water Pipit, and offshore a Great Northern Diver. A male Pintail was at Radipole, and on the Fleet from the bridging camp on 14th were 3 Avocets, 6 Goldeneye, plenty of Mergansers, Curlews, Oyk’s and Brent Geese, and Mediterranean Gulls in their hundreds. And a Stonechat.
It’s odd what an impression you get of a place on a first visit. When I started watching Lodmoor in winter 2003 there was a Peregrine that sat on the central concrete block and terrorised the birds, and Stonechats were regular around the reserve. I assumed every winter was like that, but Peregrine is a scarce sighting for me here since and Stonechats come and go.
Finally some pictures from Radipole.