Sunday, 20 March 2011

A Better Day At The Office

A most convivial evening as I treated my neighbours Shelagh, Roy & Joy to a Chinese meal which we enjoyed at Shelagh's house on account of mine remaining un-heated. I'd had a pint or two before I arrived to celebrate England's humiliation at the hands of the Irish rugby team - To Be Sure, To Be Sure!

It was quite a late affair and on leaving it seemed like there was 'trouble at' Mill' with a Police car stationed at the end of our cul de sac. The officer in charge did approach us to ask if we were alright, but wouldn't be persuaded to reveal what was going on - we'll have to wait and see what the Dorset Echo has to say.

With the sun already burning off the light mist it was set to be a fine day and it wasn't until I got to the Bill that the southerly breeze manifested itself making things just a little colder. Barely out of the door the sound of a

Great Spotted Woodpecker could once again be heard from the cemetery, while at the main entrance c3 individuals flew purposefully to the north in what could be described as a mini 'ariel dog-fight'. As if 3 were not enough, the excavating bird continued hammering high in one of the giant ornamental trees and I was able to get a few shots off before c3 Woodpeckers flew out in the same direction. I didn't see any of the original birds return, but that is not to say they didn't, so there were a definite c4 but a possibility of 6 leaving a good deal of scarring on the tree just below the bird pictured. In addition a Willow Warbler sang briefly from an adjacent garden but was not seen.

Almost the first bird to come into view on Radipole was this Aythya (Genus name for one group of the 'diving ducks')Duck which was initially thought to be a Greater Scaup,

but, given last weeks Gull mix up, have recruited the help of others more well versed than I in this subject. Here's hoping for a positive outcome later.

It's impossible for me to walk past a male Teal at any time, but this little beauty just catching the right light was a must for a few shots. It was immediately after this that another vocal Willow Warbler was located but this time seen through a dense Blackthorn bush, in addition there were also a number of Chiffchaffs (some vocal) and c2 Sand Martins.

At both ends of the lake there was an increase in the number of Lesser Black-backed Gulls, with my total reaching c35 today,

while this 'first winter' Great Black-backed Gull, sporting rings. was perched in full view outside the Visitor's Centre. Maybe someone can help us with a ring return?
On my way to catch the bus to Portland this shot of the continuing road works at Kings Street, that have plagued Weymouth for almost a year now, was taken to include the scaffold around the soon to be refurbished Jubilee Clock. Not before time as this ancient time-piece, dating back to 1887 and marking Queen Victoria's 50th year as sovereign, is looking well past its 'sell by date'. I hope to bring you pictures of the finished article in what is estimated to be a 7 weeks refurb.

The news on Portland, from 3 visiting birders, was of a Ring Ouzel last seen close to the spot where I was then stood. A long search was made but the bird wasn't found, however during this time I heard the distinctive call of Yellow Wagtail and looked up to see c3 birds fly above me and quickly out of sight. Although not the first to be seen in Dorset this year, this is still quite an early date so it was important I search for these also to get a photograph. This was not to be either but, along with the Willow Warbler was another addition to the GB Year List.

This Pheasant was far more obliging and looked rather good I thought under the arch of an Elder bush.

This dainty and pretty little plant was in flower just opposite the Bird Observatory and I think I've narrowed it down to one of the Speedwells (Blue Ivy-leaved maybe) one of you Botanists out there should be able to put me right?

All the hard work undertaken by Richard Newton in recent months afford me some return this morning, finding c2 Yellowhammers in the new ploughed field running up the hill at Culverwell,

and while these are only distant shots, the records remain.

My first Peacock Butterfly of the year as well.

In a final effort to locate the Ring Ouzel, I predicted it may have flown further up the Island so made a stop at Barleycrates. No sign of it, or any other birds for that matter but the Ivy banks

were seen to be still full of fruit so maybe next time?

Finally, there was a bird, as yet not described to science, which I will call the Terracotta Tanager. I've past this house on Weston Road a thousand times but never noticed until today this nifty chimney adornment.

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