Wednesday, October 24, 2007

weymouth photos - 22nd

I took the camera down to Radipole. I arrived just in time to learn I'd missed Peregrine, Merlin, and 3 Little Stints at Lodmoor. Oh well.

I took a few pics of the gull roost. Here they are unclipped.

I found a Little Grebe close in to the Marina wall, and watched it diving. They may be serene on the surface, but under water they scrabble round rocks like birds possessed, and if they find a suitable fish just tear after it until they get it. Amazing. What photoshop can do ...

22 Oct Lodmoor

I snuck out at 7:30 am for an hour and a half. It was frustrating, as there were birds going over and some of the hedgerows were rammed, but I felt at the limits of my abilities here. Did I eke a good list out of a poor day? Or blunder round in blissful ignorance of the jewels on offer?


Blackbird C50!
Wigeon; 6 & 3
Black Tailed Godwit 3
Dunlin 2
Snipe 1
Lapwing c20
Sparrowhawk 1
Meadow Pipit
Stonechat 3
Bearded Reedling. Lots of pinging in two places, and scuttling through the reeds. 1 seen. Cetti’s Warbler 3.
Goldcrest 2.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

21 Oct – StourHead

We detoured from our normal route to Weymouth to fulfil a long held ambition to visit Stourhead. We thought we were clever chosing a sunny day at half-term, but several thousand other people seemed to have had the same idea.

It was very nice. Almost, but not quite, as good as Fountains Abbey. Although Mrs D did comment, as we trooped in our conga slowly round the lake, that it was like exercise-time in some super-posh middle-class prison. But nice trees, and a nice farm shop too.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Sawbo - Old Harlow

Well nearly as far as Old Harlow. I walked down the Stort until I could see The Palace. It was clearly quieter than visits last month; flitting birds were no longer warblers but Dunnocks instead, and there were a few other absences; mainly Blackbirds - where are they?.

SLRS was full after recent rains,

A Grey Heron at the top of a tall tree - why? Cormorant 3 imm in the Cormorant Tree, appropriately. Mute Swan 3 adults flew over - again why 3? Mallard 10 in total inc 2 at the flash. Snipe 8. 4 at the S end, and 4 on the grass at the top. Lapwing 25 over, 2 on the flash. BH Gull c30 on the flash. GSW at least 3. Skylark a few singles over calling. Meadow Pipit 3 by the flash then later flying round. Chaffinch c20, Goldfinch 15, Greenfinch c10, Siskin 1 over calling, Bullfinch 2, Grey Wagtail 1, Redwing a few flying around but unsatisfactory views. Mistle Thrush 2, Carrion Crow a few, Jay 1, Yellowhammer 1 over.

And in the afternoon, Shaggy Ink Cap in the Garden. My guide says its edible. After you!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Ferrybridge 6th

A morning stroll from Ferrybridge down to Small Mouth, then across the road and up the Rodwell trail as far as the Castle Cove Yacht club. Proof, once more, that the more time you take the more you see.

Brent Goose – 2 dark bellied went E out of the harbour
Little Egret 1
Ringed Plover
Sandwich Tern
1 juv
BH Gull, GBB Gull, Herring Gull,
Hobby 1 slow N over with something in its claws. A couple of Gulls mad a half-hearted attempt to mob it
Kestrel 1
Swallow – low tens. I didn't see any other hirundines this trip apart form lots of swallows
Wheatear 1 across the road by the centre.

Finally, the obligatory Med Gull sighting. A 2nd year flying around the harbour by Perry’s Restaurant.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Portland 5th Oct

The schools had an Inset day on Friday. Someone in Herts Council Education department is obviously a twitcher. Taking the hint I took D1 and D2 to Weymouth for a couple of days.

Portland was, we were told, a bird-free zone. So, free from the need to wait ages for a glimpse of a Sibe, we took a leisurely walk up the top fields, left to the west cliffs, back to the point, then back to the obs.

And there was action all the way. Firstly we had a fantastic female Merlin that did a couple of hunting sorties for us. Picked up dashing across a field, it twisted and turned after a starling, and then cruised around looking for prey. It was great to have the opportunity to take a good look at the flying style and hunting habits of Merlin at close quarters.

Then at the West Cliffs we had a few Stonechats, a Sparrowhawk, and a Wheatear.Down towards the Bill ours, and everyone else’s attention was turned by the Costguard helicopter hovering by the point. A stretcher went down, and then came up with a person clinging to the basket. Maybe a training exercise? Hope so.

Then from the Bill back to the obs we had a terrific Clouded-Yellow Butterfly, showing off the deep orange of the upper surface contrasting with the lemon-yellow undersurfaces. A couple of well marked Wheatears, a Grey Seal, and 4 Rock Pipits (do they migrate through here?). Finally at the obs a Brown Rat by the bird table.

All the time a trickle of Swallows going through, Meadow Pipits “tseep”ing around, and flocks of Starlings, Linnets, and House Sparrows. The obs recently got a few extra fields I think and the large passerine flocks may be a result of this.

In the evening we went into town. 100+ Pied Wagtails flew down the harbour, and an auk, probably a Razorbill, fished out in the middle. Then a first. Whilst we are used to being one of a few groups in a cinema for a Tuesday afternoon cartoon, for the duration of the 4:30 showing of “Run, Fat Boy Run” we were the only ones in the theatre.

The chopper in action, taken by D2

Monday, October 01, 2007

lost weekend

A late September weekend, easterly winds, its time to get up early and go off to the coast.

So on Sunday I got up early and went ... to work. No point in complaining. Deadlines are deadlines ...

Commonly Spotted Orchids

We are fortunate in the UK in that the commonest orchids are also amongst the most beautiful. I spent a morning photographing some on the lo...