Thursday, 1 October 2009

Lists & Listers

A bit better day today for me despite the lack of any huge numbers of migrants except for Alba Wagtail and Meadow Pipit. This was mainly due to a number of 'boxes' being 'ticked' in what is a great necessity for most 'birders' - Lists. Most of us have them in one form or another, (I don't know anybody who doesn't) and while I have probably embraced most at some time or other, I have now reduced them to what I consider essential. In the past, these have included lists compiled 'from British Rail Trains', 'TV ', 'various Countries', 'First Sightings at Airports' and even 'Birds Heard on Films, Radio etc' - sad git! World, UK, Dorset and Home are now the most important of lists, but also my Dorset 'ongoing' Month List holds great store, but unlike some birders who keep a month list, every month of every year, mine simply gets longer annually. Spending so much time away from home has a detrimental effect on this list so today, being the first of a new month, I managed a little redress, picking up a couple of useful additions, also adding to the latest List in a long List of Lists the Photograph List.

First thing this morning I made a concerted effort to add Ruddy Shelduck at Radipole to the October tally, but they were uncooperative and not seen. However, with the water level so low at last there were dozens of Common Snipe in company of 3 Black-tailed Godwit as 2 tussling and calling Kingfisher flew by. Arriving at Weston, Portland the afore mentioned Wagtail / Pipit movement was very evident with a count of over 200 Albas between The Hump and Barleycrates Lane (a quarter mile), where a few Swallow, 5 Wheatear and 6 Stonechat were logged. On the way to the Obs 2 Turtle Doves, and the Little Owl were seen, in addition to a calling Tree Pipit which was an addition to the month list. At Culverwell I flushed a Sparrowhawk while 3 Kestrel were screaming overhead, the start of what turned out to be a minor Raptor day. During the walk to the bus back to Weymouth, I searched out and found the Grey Partridges, another month 'first' and photo tick. Back in town, above the Fire Station, a Peregrine was making life difficult for 3 Feral Pigeons, while at home, enjoying a coffee with my neighbor, a large Raptor floated into view at great height, which turned out to be a Common Buzzard. No sooner had it disappeared to the south, a further 6 appeared, at similar elevation, in company with a distinctly different but similar sized Honey Buzzard. 2 of the 6 were giving the rarer bird a real hard time, with all of them quickly disappearing in the same direction. The later was also a month tick and this number of Commons was a record total for home.

Something of passing interest today, was to see a small vessel trawling in Lyme Bay under a 'mizen sail', a practice even adopted by some of the larger pelagic boats in days gone by. Economical, green and quiet, the mizen, at the stern of the vessel, would be set to the wind conditions maintaining a steady speed of about 4 - 8 knots to propel the vessel, effectively 'fishing for free'. I haven't see this practice for many a year - maybe I need to get out more often?

Grey Partridge - Top Fields, Portland Bill

Ditto - probably not recorded on the Island since the early 90's, it would be nice to think they had bred here and not released?

2 of the 'covey' of 6
Almost all present and correct, but one flew off

Magpie - Culverwell, Portland

Little Owl - usually confined to a favoured crack between the stacked stone face in the Obs Quarry, today this one was out in the open and closer to the quarry rim

At 18-30 this evening, the 3 Ruddy Shelduck were present at the North Hide, Radipole in company with 5 Wigeon and 4 Little Egret. Yours aye - Plastic Paul

More images from the Sewerage Works just north of Sharm el Sheikh

Long-legged Buzzard

Red-throated Pipit

Kentish Plover
White Stork - there were over 300 individuals at this site in February 2009