Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Oh What a Beautiful Morning

I'm beginning to wonder if all the stories of adverse weather during my absence have been true, given the gorgeous conditions since my return. Told you I'd bring some back with me! The same again today, after a night when Jack Frost had been busy, very early the ice disappeared to be replaced by 'warm' sunshine, even before leaving what may be described as my 'local patch'.

I recon on mainland UK it is extremely difficult to have what might be described as an exclusive local patch, so the Longcroft Cemetery is about as close as it get for me. Having been used to the luxury of birding a North Sea Oil Rig this tiny patch of Dorset has become a bit of a bolt hole. On Saturday I reported the sighting of a Jay there, to be followed today by an increasing scarcity, a Great Spotted Woodpecker. Over the years Hoopoe, Black Redstart, Great Grey Shrike and even a stray Ring-necked Parakeet have been recorded, but usually common species such as Mistle Thrush, Coal Tit, Goldcrest and Tawny Owl have not shown themselves so far this year.

Early morning Longcroft Road Cemetery

Leaving this mornings cacophony of bird song behind, I arrived at Radipole Nature Reserve to a completely different range of vocals with, of particular note, more Reed Buntings singing than I have heard for a number of years. A hat-trick of new birds for the year, Long-tailed Tit, Stonechat and Wigeon, soon entered the log before starting the walk to Lodmoor. Progressing along Greenhill, already a good number of water-birds could be seen in Weymouth Bay and on closer inspection there turned out to be at least c33 Great Crested Grebes, c7 Black-necked Grebes (another year tick) plus c3 Common Scoter. On the moor things were very quiet with just a few Common Snipe, a couple of Oystercatcher, a few Lapwings etc, but despite a report of the returning Spoonbill yesterday afternoon, nothing was seen of it. The only other addition, and a relative scarcity since the authorities blasted most of them out of the water, was a female Ruddy Duck, the exact location of which will remain undisclosed.

A few more images are added today, mainly to give our friends in the Americas an idea of some of the avian delight to be found this side of the 'Pond'.

Bearded Tit

Eurasian Wigeon (male left)


Long-tailed Tit

Long-tailed Tit detail

The 2010 UK Year List now stands at - 75