Wednesday, 2 June 2010

What A Difference A Month Makes

When I left for Eastern Europe on the first day of May, most birds in the local cemetery were still singing, trying to attract a mate. There were a few already feeding young (Robin and Blackbird) while some, like the pair of Collared Doves below, where busily carrying twigs to the sanctuary of an ancient fir tree.

Collared Dove, now utilising this chimney as a 'look-out' above a feeding post, while busily providing for their brood.

In addition several Goldcrest were silently foraging among the pines, as c2 family parties of Long-tailed Tit did likewise and Carrion Crow (probably feeding on some of those feeding), Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Song Thrush and Great Tit also fed young. It was good to be back, despite the reduced bird song, and ideally would liked to have continued through most of my usual haunts but time didn't allow today.

At the Westham Sluices, I once again encountered a male Pochard that we noted the day we arrived back, seeming a little out of place this far down the lake and subject to more human disturbance. Anyway, it seemed quite content floating around with head under wing, just as the male Hooded Merganser was doing.

Both male Pochard and

male Hooded Merganser (not looking half as resplendent as the day I left) contently roosting in the bright sunlight, until

c4 Mallards passed noisily by disturbing them both.

A bonus for me as I was then able to take a couple of 'head up' shots before they returned to a sleeping posture.

juvenile Starling looking up from its feeding to investigate me!

Little more to report from that area, I quickly moved on to Ferry Bridge and the main quarry of the day, the 'pair' of over-staying Red-breasted Merganser which were very quickly located close to the second Chesil Beach fishing hut i.e. miles away. With good numbers of recently fledged Starlings, now feeding themselves, to study plus c11 Little Terns, and singles of common and Sandwich Tern, there was something to focus the viewing. However, things were very different the Portland side of the bridge as the sand flats were completely devoid of birds. Not surprising given the Bank Holiday week being upon us, with bathers disturbing one side and dogs the other, when I would ask are the Waders going to get a chance. The signage here is woefully inadequate and I doubt the average 'dog-emptier' has even heard of a Dunlin, so until something is done to redress the balance I think we'll have a while to wait for a 'good' passage visitor to arrive and stay.

Both Merganser (the male above) did leave the sanctuary of the beach, and started fishing in the Fleet, but never came anywhere near enough for a photograph, so once again I have had to rely on archive shots.

female Red-breasted Merganser

On the plant front, I had missed the full 'flowering' cycle of Thrift (Sea Pinks) a splendid annual occurrence, but the at least the Birdsfoot Trefoil still presented a beautiful yellow carpet in places.

I also had to pop up to Easton (Portland) to see Kern Forden and on the way back bumped into Don Moxom, the Fleet Warden. He had some good news for me, as it is predicted that up to 10 pairs of Little Tern are nesting this year. Maybe that's because the RSPB stopped working in the colony a little earlier this year????

Ille had spent the whole day sat in the garden soaking up the sun, and my return coincided with that of my neighbour Joy and friend Roy, so we cracked a couple of bottles of Pinot Grigio and sat watching the setting sun.