Friday, 30 April 2010

They're At It Again!

With the sky 2/3rds covered by cloud, and a threatening looking 'front' approaching from the west the chances of rain seemed high as I wandered through the cemetery. Due to declining numbers on a global scale, it is unlikely we'll ever see the counts of birds we enjoyed up to the early 80's. However, arriving at Radipole about 07-00 there was a glimmer of hope as good numbers of Hirundines, mostly Sand Martin, and a few Swifts had already congregated above the southerly reed-bed. By the number still, or returning to, perch on the reed stems it seemed likely a roost had occurred there overnight? Let's hope for a return to those days when at dusk the reeds filled with these and other birds, such as Starling and Yellow Wagtail, and the opportunist Hobby would happen along for its supper. The only other point of interest was a 'mute' Grasshopper Warbler which, despite a bit of a wait, never blessed me with its reeling song.

Sand Martin cling to the reeds

After a complete 'blank' along the seafront, Lodmoor turned out to be nearly the same, with what action there was being confined to this singing

Sedge Warbler now in its eighth day of trying to attract a mate from the same perch.

This pair of Collared Doves seemed contented snuggling up to one another, but well behind the resident pair close to my home, that are already sitting on eggs. The best sight on the moor today was a pair of Bullfinch, seemingly feeding young, while continuously emitting their mournful call.

Convinced that it was Saturday, there was no need to mark time awaiting 09-30 when the 'bus pass' kicks in, but on boarding the bus was told "it's too early to use that". The walk back to town didn't kill me and as it was still only 9 'o' clock there was still a while before the tide would turn at Ferry Bridge. I arrived to see the 'pot fishermen' laying their traps, in the hope of a few Velvet Swimming Crabs, but what they do with them I don't know. Each makes a lovely sandwich filling I seem to remember, but whether they go to a commercial market is beyond me.

Velvet Swimming Crab

Whatever is going on?

Readers must be reaching the point of boredom and disbelief that I am not anti RSPB, but here is another 'fine' example of Royal Society for the 'Protection' of Birds MANAGEMENT in action!

This photograph shows, more or less, the full extent of what used to be the Little Tern Colony across the water from Ferry Bridge. If you 'left click' and enlarge the photograph, you might see slightly left of center and below the ridge of the beach, RSPB Tern Warden John Dadds. With little else to do while waiting for the tide to fall I watched him shoveling shingle within the Tern Colony while totting up what I would claim to be the highest Little Tern count this year, c23.

At this moment he is wandering through the Colony seemingly kicking shingle about, while, and you'll have to take my word for this, the Terns were flying over his head. He then took up station sat by the perimeter fence and simply watched. Every year that I have watched this Colony, and that's quite a few, guardians have seemed happy to utilise the old shooting butts not far away, not only affording some protection from the elements but also within viewing range without disturbing the birds. Maybe I need to buff up on modern Nature Management techniques or, much less likely, wait for other so called 'wildlife lovers' to pick up their pens in support - I'm not holding my breath!

Danny Fox long time Landlord of the Pulpit Inn (formally the Devenish), long suffering waitress and luminary Clair Harper, Myself and Portland Bird Observatory Chairman Edwin Welland

Edwin and I had lunch together today - nice work if you can get it!