Monday, 19 April 2010

Spring Has Sprung, the Grass is Griz, I Wonder Where the Birdies Is?

Today has shown the first proper signs of what I consider to be a truly Spring like day. With no discernible wind and a clear azure sky, save for a few wisps of high cirrus cloud, even the birds were in better voice. The song of numerous Goldcrest in both the cemetery and Radipole were indicative of an overnight 'fall', while the Jays let out their raucous screeches and a pair of Collared Dove busied themselves twig carrying.

There was little more to report from these areas save maybe a few more Acrocephalus (Reed & Sedge) Warblers than previously. The walk to Lodmoor was gorgeous where, on arrival, I noted both Mute Swan and Fulmar well off-shore in Weymouth Bay. The later was of special interest as never having been added to my Lodmoor List (those who have no idea about 'Listing' please bear with me). To qualify for list placement a bird has to be seen, not necessarily ON the moor, but from it, so I quickly sort higher ground, and TICK, the deed was done. Strange behaviour you might think for a grown man, but since taking it up I haven't hit an Old Lady over the head, and there's a lot of it about. A 4th addition to that list this year, along with Whooper Swan, Mandarin (another 'bone of contention') and Redstart, which is rapidly closing up on Radipole at 191 to 195. I sense the question, how many 'lists' does this anorak have but probably best no to go there.

Lesser Black-backed Gull - a fine pair on the Radipole Car Park


From this elevated point, I also saw c5 Whimbrel fly over (which was an addition to the 'year list') with one dropping in only briefly. It was also apparent that numbers of Whitethroat had increased, while Sand Martin had done the opposite. On the mud flats were c2 Black-tailed Godwit, between them showing good examples of summer and winter plumage, while a little further on was a single Bar-tailed Godwit, which much less frequent at this site. In total, I believe there were c8 Oystercatchers today but along the southern margins c6 were in territorial disharmony and perhaps trying to get up to a 'bit of nonsense'? There were also c5 Wheatear, a species I havn't seen at Lodmoor this year, while a Grasshopper Warbler put in a brief snatch of song as several Swallows flew overhead.

Grey Heron

This fella had certainly had his snout in the trough!

I bet you thought I'd forgotten.

Unfortunately for some, no as I continue to highlight my concerns at Radipole Lake SSSI. I have received an encouraging letter from Natural England, which I hope will bear fruit, as I do with my letter submitted this very day to the Editor of the Dorset Echo. Their correspondent did interview Nick Tomlinson posing the question, " why didn't you undertake the building works in September"? As I had predicted, she was fobbed off with the answer "we were too busy reed cutting at the time", as if RSPB staff were going to lay the bricks themselves. Well, that has resulted in no article in the Echo, but that isn't the only newspaper in the world, and unlike most, the more knocks I get the more determined I become - PLENTY MORE AVENUES TO EXPLORE YET! The sad part is, and close to my heart, the more bad publicity that is generated against the RSPB, the less inclined the public will be to put their hands in pockets, particularly during these economically flawed times. I already knew of 5 members who had already quit, with others I have been told will follow. Although the RSPB are 'rich beyond compare' with an estimated annual income of £112 MILLION and cash assets of a further £118 MILLION, any loss of funding is a loss to our already critically threatened wildlife. Additionally, spare a thought, if you will, for the beautifully effervescent Lyn Bellingham, who in the few years I have known her has worked her little cotton socks off canvassing in all quarters (Schools, Pubs, Glastonbury, the Isle of Wight Festival et al) to raise membership and donations for the Charity. And believe you me, if you think the adage 'there's no such thing as BAD publicity' to be true just wait until all of this is over and ask Nick Tomlinson! I will post the letter in its entirety in the near future.

Finally, I have been sent this fine photograph from Paul Harris showing the recently constructed foot/cattle bridge at the top of Ridgeway Hill as part of the new bye-pass. As can be seen the hard-core is now being laid, but before this and the construction of the distant bank, the arch 'rain-bowed' Lodmoor Nature Reserve perfectly. I agree whole-heartedly with Paul's observation that this would have presented the idea 'first view' of our beautiful surroundings to all arrivals.