Thursday, 17 February 2011

All Along the Backwater, Through the Rushes Tall

Ducks are a'dabbling up tails all.
Duck's tails Drake's tails yellow feet a'quiver
Yellow bills all out of sight busy in the river

A second fine morning on the trot, and under a half covered sky with sun peeping through and little in the way of wind, it was going to be another hard day in the office for me. First visit of the day, not unusually, was the cemetery where all birds were singing not least a small party of Greenfinch absent for most of the winter. Given the past severe conditions and the fact that some sort of virus has reduced the local population it was fantastic to see them back on my 'patch' and next I'll be hoping to see them displaying.

Vocals were the highlight at Radipole as both Cetti's Warbler and Reed Bunting were busily trying to attract a mate, but for them a positive hindrance must have been the Song Thrush that was drowning them out! There were c3 Bullfinches at the 'kissing gate' and c2 mates at the bridge, fellow birder Ian Stanley and long time ex-diving mate Roger (Chippy) Chippendale - good to see you both gents!

Teal, especially males such as this, are a sure fire target for the camera

and while the female is much less colourful she holds no less charm.

Like most duck species they are ever alert and timid, but there is always an exception to the rule as I approached this 'lady' to within 6 feet - sweet dreams.

The Coot was also obliging, so 'click'!

Featured on this Blog before, I think there is a certain charm about this mutant duck which to me looks like a Mallard/Gadwall hybrid?

With no hurry I took a walk around the Inner Harbour looking over the armada of small boats ranging from rowing boats to 'gin palaces', and of course the ever present charter fishing boat that in the past I've enjoyed so much. Must get out and catch a Bass or two later in the year.Ferrybridge produced nothing out of the usual, except for former 'shipmate' John Kirby who I hadn't seen for many a year, so off to Portland and a walk from Southwell along the East Cliff to the Bill. Along the way there was a single

Turnstone on the ledges while just a little further on I came across

c4 Purple Sandpiper.

As regular readers will know they are resident on the rocks here during the winter months,

but doubtless it will be long before they

'take to the wing'

and head for their breeding grounds in Iceland and other northerly sites (no not Dorchester).

This shot was a case of 'the Snapper taking a Snap of the Snappers', as this group of trainee photographers honed their skills close to the fishing boat crane.

I had noted this coach earlier in the day as 'white van moron' overtook it on the Ferrybridge, blasting his horn and nearly causing an accident. The driver had just dropped off a party of tourists from Nottinghamshire a few of which I had already bade good morning, with one lady I spoke to living on the very estate where I lived as a child. They and the driver seemed interested in a little local knowledge and even more as I pointed out some of the birds above. After our chat the driver offered me a proposition, to do a short talk for his passengers on forthcoming trips. Well, he said he would only be able to pay me £120K per annum and not wanting to drop to those sort of wages said I would do it for free. When you read this 'drive' I was deadly serious and would love to share our Magic Island with you on your next visit.

By this time I had already received intelligence of the presence of c2

Black Redstart in the Bill Quarry

and it was a lovely couple from the tour who located them for me.

We all enjoyed these splendid little birds together along with c2 Pied wagtail and a few Rock Pipits. Lovely to have met you all, and thanks for your company!

At the Observatory (where new 'anti-aircraft' artillery is rapidly being deployed) I was met by this Wood Pigeon looking picturesque on the wall, but the Warden was just leaving so no time for a coffee and a chat. However,PBO Chairman Edwin Welland had just arrived and quick as a flash he invited me to join him for lunch. A little treat we afford ourselves when Ed pays his occasional visits, so it was off to see our mates Danny Fox (Landlord) and Andy (the Barman) at The Pulpit Inn, called The Devenish these days, but for my money far better named as formally The Pulpit as being just across the way from the famous Portland rock of the same name.

So here I am, full of 'fine' Dorset pâté, fish & chips and orange juice writing today's epistle. Best Wishes to you all and Spread the Word!

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