Tuesday, 15 September 2009

High Drama Day at Radipole Lake

Great Crested Grebes - Radipole Lake (it is not known if all 3 juveniles are attributable to this parent bird)

Dunnock - Lodmoor NR (a nice subject in a nice pose)

Little Stints - Lodmoor NR this morning

Ditto

The search continued this morning for the 'summer plumage' Red-throated Diver reported a couple of days ago by Daragh Croxson, in the hope of gaining a photograph. Paul Harris saw it yesterday, so close that stood on the promenade it disappeared from time to time behind the bank of stones. Unfortunately, it was not to be but there were a few things of interest on Lodmoor. Already a Little Stint had been reported, and fortune shone as while watching it I encountered another. In addition to these little beauties, there were 44 Dunlin, 7 Ringed Plover, 4 Redshank, 16 Black-tailed Godwit, 7 Wigeon, 2 Sandwich Tern, more than a dozen Common Snipe, single Common Sandpiper and Knot plus a few each of Little Egret, Willow Warbler and Lapwing. Perhaps even more on my mind this morning were Quail, or more accurately their eggs. No, I haven't suddenly become an oologist (maybe I should say 'again', going back to my boyhood exploits) these are available at Waitrose, Dorchester and I was walking towards the bus via Weymouth Bay Avenue. That is when the massive plumes of smoke became apparent. Another case of badly burnt toast, I don't think so, no it was only Radipole 'on fire', with just about every appliance in the county attending. Don't know any more than that, but let's say it doesn't come as a surprise! The eggs? they're for dinner with Ille on Saturday, at what some have dubbed the best restaurant in the borough, Cafe Bagsy. The full menu will be posted after the surprise has been sprung - bon appetite.

video
Short-eared Owl - Buchan Alpha, North Sea

video
Long-eared Owl - Buch Alpha, North Sea

Both of these larger Owls were seen annually on the Buchan Alpha, and as often as not both Spring and Autumn. The Long-eared Owl depicted was first located early morning towards the end of the year, but without the camera I witnessed an amazing sight. Flying some way off the rig it slowly closed the heli-deck where I was stood, whereupon it seemed to mesmerize a Purple Sandpiper, plucking it out of the air with no difficulty whatsoever. It then landed, with its prey, close by to me and deftly decapitated it, then in similar fashion removed its legs and wings, before swallowing it whole. One of the joys I suppose of Oil Rig 'birding'.

It's Stansted Airport for me tomorrow, to pick Ille up, so I'll endeavour to 'post' before I leave, otherwise I hope you don't all miss me!