Sunday, 18 October 2009

Some of the Ups and Downs of 'Birding'

Water Rail

I am not a pessimist, in fact my glass is always half full, but I am of the mind that the snowball has rolled too far down the hill! As if to prove the point I'll start with the UP. Not an awful lot about today as I wandered around Radipole, Lodmoor and Ferry Bridge but I had time to reflect that within 8 minutes of turning the key in my front door, I had 'seen' Water Rail, Bearded Tit and Cetti's Warbler. There must be those who would be glad to see that trio in a year let alone over such a short time span.

Bearded Tit

On the minus side, I mused as I surveyed the foreshore at FB how we have been overtaken by the plague of man and dog, to name but a few. Brent Geese were 86 strong (probably having just arrived from the tundra) while Mediterranean Gulls numbered 27 with about 100 Waders in total. Firstly, 2 scroats, with their even more inscroatable charges, released their yapping little canine companions each immediately embarking on a 'wild Goose chase'. Disturbed from the plentiful supply of Zostra Eel-grass the Geese flew around until the animals had had a dump (yes I think the dogs had one too), decanted into their vehicle and hit the high road. Having settled back to eat for just 10 minutes, next came the bait diggers and set about forking (sic) up the foreshore. Now, I doubt the practice of taking a few Lug or Rag Worms cocks-up natures great plan, but in addition to putting these birds to flight yet again, they leave their cavernous gapes for the tide to re-settle, totally ignorant of just how detrimental this is to their own hobby. In both cases I was loath (nae afraid) to remonstrate for fear of repercussions, the likes of which I have experienced in the past, societies general attitude being, "I'm right and I'll do just what I like".

Cetti's Warbler

Over the road, the yachting fraternity were having a whale of a time with vessels varying in size from coracles to grit big un's, covering every square yard of Portland Harbour and, obviously without a care in the world. So what then of yer average Red-breasted Merganser or early arriving Diver, where will they be able to alight and feed? With the National Sailing Academy now in full production, this is set to be a year round pursuit causing real fear for the birds. There are notices aimed at deterring disturbance, but laughably inadequate, while trying to engage some Wardens or Managers around the borough in meaningful conversation you'll be met with a blank. So, while this missive is unlikely to make an ounce of difference, and while some of natures carers themselves choose to flaunt the basic rules, then what for the rest of the community?

a study, in photographs of Northern Giant Petrel

I am reliably informed by Albatross Encounter Skipper Gary Melville of 96 Esplanade, Kaikoura, South Island, New Zealand that this species becomes progressively paler and more mottled with age.

This one must be getting on then?

and finally a message for my dear next-door neighbour Joy. HAPPY BIRTHDAY dear lady, hope you are enjoying your 70th in the company of your latest grandson. Please give my love (and a little kiss) to Oliver and warm wishes to Andrew, May and Trevor.

Click the link to see what some kind soul sent to you - I know I'll enjoy them!

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