Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Birding Beirut?

Goldcrest, Song Thrush and Wood Pigeon were the most predominant bird songs in the cemetery this morning, while at Radipole my highest count of Great Crested Grebe topped c17, while c3 Swift skimmed the reed-beds as a Garden Warbler was seen and heard singing at the concrete bridge. Apart from a lone male Mallard there was little in Weymouth Bay, except I did hear later of an Arctic Skua flying towards the Purbecks. Before even reaching Lodmoor there was a text alerting me to a fine summer plumage Spotted Redshank which took little time to find close to the Tern islands.

A beautiful summer plumage Spotted Redshank, at some distance the photographs were never going to be brilliant but, while still watching, the 'Shank took to the air and I thought left the moor to the east.

Unbeknown to me, my correspondent Daragh Croxson was stationed on the flat roof of his house overlooking the moor, sending a steady report of bird movement. Even before the Wader flew off he had given direction to an adult summer plumage Little Gull on the western scrape, which made me feel a little like a Lebanese sniper receiving target directions from the rooftops. Very easy to locate, it was again only distance that precluded a good image.

Summer plumage Little Gull showing the difficulty of distance,

but with a little lap-top tinkering the Gull can at least be identified.

Still viewing the Gull the air was filled by the gentle peep of the Spotted Redshank, which obligingly landed in front of me at a better distance. I too had sent off a number of texts and was pleased that Jo Lawrence had picked this up and soon joined me. Unfortunately, the Gull had flown and was not seen again despite contacting the roof-top observer!

A couple of closer shots of

the Spotted Redshank

Jo and I continued around the moor, picking up a few Whitethroat, one of which was building a nest, plus c2 Common Sandpiper and a Whimbrel on the way. I just don't seem to be able to shake Jo off as tomorrow we are to be joined by my rig mate David Penney, down from Northants, for a days birding. I'm very much looking forward to that and hope the predicted rain stays off.

The SR brings the GB List total to 164, only 10 of which have been recorded outside of Dorset with today's additions being accredited to Daragh - MANY THANKS DARAGH!

On my way home I met a mate, Chris Lucking, I hadn't seen for a while who told me of his 'stalking' exploits in Dorset. Of late he has shot a Roe and a Sika Deer, which he tells me he carefully selects partly to control the population, and best for the table. Rightly or wrongly I have no problem with this kind of cull, plus going into the food chain makes even more paletable, if that's not a pun! In parting he gave me a 'shank' of Roe which I assured him would not be wasted.

A model of the Brough Superior SS100 that lead to the death of TE Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia). Apart from the local interest, I though this esthetically pleasing and it will soon be wending its way to Canada as a present for another friends grandson.