Friday, April 14, 2017

Weymouth and Portland - the last time?

Some times, you know you are doing something for the last time. The last day at school, at University, at work, in a house. Other times, it is only after the event that you realise it was the last time; the last time you saw someone, the last time you went into a particular shop. Sometimes you have a sense that you may not be coming back - the last time you go to a particular country, visit a particular town.

Last Thursday may have been the last time I go to Portland Bill, the last walk round Lodmoor. And the last visit to Radipole may have already happened. Circumstances, more of which in a later post, mean that coming here again will take a particular effort, and given the effort, it is likely I will spend that effort going somewhere else that I haven't yet been to, or haven't visited in a while.

So, first off, park at Portland Obs, walk on to the patio, and there is Martin Cade with a fantastic male Redstart perched on his closed fist, calm as you like. Always a cracking bird, they really are better at the range of a few feet. A smashing start. A brief sea-watch has two Red-Throated Divers and 3 Common Scoter up-channel, two Wheatears in-off over our heads, and a Willow Warbler singing in the garden. I head off to the bill to get closer to the movement, but there isn't any in the conventional sense, just Gannets, Fulmars, a fly-by Shag, and on the sea small rafts of Guillemots and Razorbills. The Razorbills are the stars of the show, good scope views with the sun shining on them, just spectacular birds in brilliant white and glistening deep blue and not birds you see too often from a land-locked county like Herts. For me, its this kind of birding that makes Portland a special place.

A brief stop at Reap Lane. A scan has a probable Wheatear on a bush, so I set up my scope and go slowly through a large field. A total of 13 Wheatears, some movement in a generally NE direction with a couple of gorgeous males sat briefly on a nearby wire. 

Later in the day a walk round Lodmoor. Nothing too much here. There's a warbler singing from the reed bed. Its a sedge/reed, and i'm always rusty when I her them for the first time in spring, but with no chuck-chuck-char-chars and lots of whistling I'm confident its a sedge-warbler. There's some movement in the reeds, and a brief view confirms the uniform brown plumage of my first Reed Warbler of the year. Oh well, back to Xeno-Canto to brush up on my warbler songs.

About half way round I bump into a couple of birders. They ask me if I've seen much. Not really. There's a Dunlin on the pool where you come in, two cream crown Marsh Harriers doing their tumbling flight over the reed bed, up high there are about 20 Swallows and Sand Martins, there's been a Raven flying round the reserve for the last few minutes rolling over a couple of times and groncking away, but that's just flown off, and there have been a couple of Bearded Tits flying around just now. Judging from there crest-fallen look on their faces this is a good list, and indeed it is, a sign of what passes for normal at Lodmoor. They have "only" seen two Wheaters by the mound which I get later along with two-pairs of Oystercatcher.  Back to the car, turn out of the car park and into Weymouth, and that, Lodmoor, is that.

1 comment:

Steve Gale said...

I'm intrigued now! Last time? Why!