Monday, 21 June 2010

Midsummer Madness

Light airs, bright sunshine and little cloud welcomed in the Summer Solstice, so calm being the wind the c5 merchant packets at anchor in Weymouth Bay were tide rather than wind rode. Across Radipole and in the cemetery, young birds were most predominant, accompanied by singing Chiffchaff and the usual Blackcap. With reference to the latter, so long has he been vocal now that should a lady happen along he'll be too knackered to do anything about it?

There were c3 young Pied Wagtails feeding at Pottery Lane,

while this Reed Warbler put in just a brief appearance before I came across both

this adult Moorhen and

the first juvenile Coot I have seen this year. Before leaving the reserve it was worth taking a shot of this handsome

Lesser Black-backed Gull before walking over to Lodmoor. There the story was similar

with this mother Mallard showing off her new brood, paying scant attention to me.

In the roadside ditch this Song Thrush was also busily collecting to feed its young. The first Common Tern chicks were being exposed to the world for the first time, while being continuously being fed by the adult birds. In addition there were about a dozen Black-headed Gulls (including a recently fledged youngster), c2 Lapwing, a flying Marsh Harrier and a Ruddy Duck.

It would be untrue to say there was 'nothing' at Ferry Bridge, but single Oystercatcher, the summering pair of Red-breasted Merganser and a few Little Terns were expected, while

at Portland these 2 juvenile Goldfinches were part of a 40+ mixed flock, along with Linnets,

and while not wishing to be branded sexist, a 'female' Broad-bodied Chaser (Dragonfly) should compliment the 'male' presented last week.

Out of the Archives

While at the Bird Observatory, the conversation turned to yesterdays discovery of a Tufted Puffin in Veranger Fjord, remote northern Norway, where Martin Cade, the Warden, had himself been in May last year. On that occasion he missed a Soft-plumaged Petrel by just 2 days, and now a second extremely rare bird had shown up again at the very same place. This generated memories of my first experience of this species in Alaska during my 2007 back-packing expedition, so here is a shot of

a Tufted Puffin taking off just south of Seward, Alaska.

This in turn led to a discussion about the differences between Marbled & Long-billed Murrelet and their very close relative Black Guillemot. A single of the later, almost exclusively associated with salt water (the sea), was once found in the fresh water area of Lodmoor, while both Murrelet's are just as likely to be recorded inland and often nest in trees.

Great Britain's first, and still only, Long-billed Murrelet was found at Dawlish Warren on 7th November 2006, and initially identified as a Little Auk, later being seen by many hundreds of 'birders' at Seaton.

This 'summer plumage' Black Guillemot graced the Buchan Alpha sea-area for several days, some years ago,

and at one stage photographed 'underwater' clutching an unidentified object in its bill.

and as I wended my way home, the Maersk Boston, which had previously been anchored in Weymouth Bay for 3 days, appeared as she rounded Grove Point.

The medium size Container Ship Maersk Boston heading in the direction of the Atlantic Ocean.

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