Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Once Around Poole Harbour

Well, seems like yesterday's decision was the right one, but as I went to bed last night my confidence wasn't so high. The intention had been to pay a little more attention to the east of the county, but with a threatening sky and predicted rain it was best left for another day. There was rain during the day but nothing like the deluge, accompanied buy the most violent electric storm I've witnessed in UK for many a day, directly overhead last night. However, once it had dumped its load, in moved the high pressure bringing a perfect, spring like sunny day with it, next stop

the start of a trip around the Poole Basin.

Two photographs showing much of the extent of Hartland Moor

where highlight birds can include both Marsh & Hen Harrier, Peregrine and Dartford Warbler but none here today. A short walk from this spot brings you to Middlebere, a narrow finger of tidal water at the extreme south west of Poole Harbour, and

this small hamlet of old farm cottages, now owned by the National Trust,

and 'rented out' mostly to holidaymakers.

Behind the houses are a couple of barns, home on occasion to Barn and Little Owl but again absent today.

From there a board walk takes you to a bird hide allowing this panorama to the left

and to the right. Settling to 'scope the wealth of Waders here, Dunlin, Grey Plover, Redshank but there was also a

Yellow-legged Gull, a Year Tick, some distance away. However, most in evidence were a large flock of

Avocet which unfortunately had other business elsewhere and soon took to the air and disappeared around the corner.

Avocet photograph from the archive. A short drive away is probably the most familiar landmark on the Dorset Coast,

Corfe Castle, which was built mainly in the 11th century. Wikipedia contains excellent detail.

Continuing east to the village of Studland there's always time to take a look at Old Harry Rock, pointing in the direction of the Isle of Wight, and Old Harry's Wife, the small pinnacle at the end. From here all manner of waterfowl can often be viewed, but there is another little 'goodie', often difficult to see despite its bright colour. Barely having left the car park I could hear the squawking of at least one

Ring-necked Parakeet. Following the calls I soon found this female, easy to see in a bare Ash tree, but these delightful birds spend much of their time in green foliage, including Ivy, and can often be a struggle.

Not far away was this male, paying little attention to me, no he had that 'little bit of nonsense' in his sights.

These hardy birds are early breeders so no surprise here, but look out 'sister', he's on his way.

Yeah, yeah it's all been said before, but a

little peck behind the ear usually does the trick (or at least that's what I'm told),

but once he passes the Black Magic the rest needs no description! Now we all know many 'captive' Parrots are good talkers, but surely I didn't hear this one say

Great Tits?

Also close by was this Grey Squirrel plus many other Tits, Nuthatch and several

male and

female Chaffinch. Ever onward, and a quick look at the

'drilling derrick' at the BP oilfield at Goathorn, before stopping further along the

to check out another Duck that has received some publicity on the local web-sites locally.

A walk of about a mile through the heath and enjoying good flight views of a Dartford Warbler, I arrived at the Littlesea and fairly quickly located my target a

female Red-crested Pochard.

Keeping its distance, like all the other wildfowl including Wigeon, Gadwall, Mallard and Pochard, this is the best image available.

Taking the 'chain ferry' Bramble Bush Bay from Studland to Sandbanks (the most expensive real estate in the world)

I was lucky to see the Poole Lifeboat returning to port from seaward.

Now, I have to make it quite clear that having served 47 years at sea does not qualify me as an 'expert', but if I was the Old Man of this hapless craft I think it best to start the 'ballast pump'?

After a quick look from Evening Hill into the Brownsea Island Lagoon for Spoonbill, which also resulted in a 'blank', I arrived at the railway embankment intersecting Hole Bay. There a Common Sandpiper 'flushed' from close quarters which you might be able to see just below the signal?

For those who cannot, here it is!

I know just how this Common Gull, atop the Kerry Food Factory, feels, it too must be looking for absent Yellow-legged Gulls.

On the way home, with a total 164 Year Ticks indelibly scribed in the note book, I took the opportunity to call into Northmoor Park and visit my 'Shipmates' Ginge & Val Price. Quickly pulling up a couple of bollards and getting all the lamps swinging, we were soon shipping 'em (the Waves) green, a Royal Navy expression for telling endless stories. Great to see you both again and in good health. I repeat my parting shot "let's not leave it too long" - Yours Aye!

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