Saturday, 27 March 2010

A Scarce Bird By the Skin of Our Teeth

We have been trying to get to Portland, and more particularly the Bird Observatory, since Ille's arrival but each time failing at the final hurdle. On the first 2 occasions it was the rain that put paid to our visit, but today it was something far more important. As our bus pulled away from Debenham's in Weymouth, I received a text which read "Alpine Swift flying over Aldi / Radipole", so, with a little quick thinking we got off, walked to the other side of the road and caught the next bus back. During that short journey, I wracked my brain as to where Aldi (a supermarket I think) and came to the conclusion it was half way along Dorchester Road. Knowing how wide ranging any Swift can be it was not beyond possibility that it had been seen at both sites, so we set of to catch the Dorchester bus. Re-checking the location on the way, it was confirmed the said shop is at Jubilee Sidings, so back we walked. At the railway Station I scanned the sky only to find a circling Sparrowhawk which certainly wasn't going to help matters. As we reached the suggested spot I was lucky to pick it up immediately, but unlike the photograph below, it was about 10 miles high.

An excellent photograph of Alpine Swift 'borrowed' from the Internet.

After all that excitement, there was only time to visit Ferry Bridge where we recorded just 2 species, Carrion Crow and Sandwich Tern, the latter being our second 'year tick' of the day, after which we had to return home to get ready for this evenings dinner party.

The c2 Sandwich Terns at Ferry Bridge today, a poor shot at quite a distance.

An image from the archive showing a better representation.

Back at base we found my neighbour, recently returned from a short holiday, brandishing a bottle of wine and a few tab-nabs which we were happy to help her polish off. With a few stories of the Cotswolds and getting her up to speed with our exploits.

Me, Anne & Bob Clark, Ille, Julie, Lee and Nigel

One thing about having grown up children and being a traveller is, when you go away for the festive season they do you a Christmas dinner when you get back. This evening, Ille and I plus a couple of friends all met up at Nigel, Julie and Lee's house for that dinner. It was a traditional affair, very much liked by Ille, who was able to compare with the Estonian version, including turkey, crackers, silly hats and even a Christmas pudding. So, I'll leave you with a traditional greeting - Merry Christmas!