Friday, 25 March 2011

A Hat Trick of Raptors

Corned Beef is one of my great loves and since visiting Uruguay, and more particularly the seaport town of Fray Bentos, (a name derived from the reclusive priest Friar Benedict) in 2005 I've rarely eaten any other brand. Today it's extremely pleasing to welcome readers from this fine country perched on the edge of the Rio del Plata. Colonia was another small town we visited, and remember well the parade of vintage cars through the town and onward to the seashore. We hope you enjoy the read as country number 133 and will pass the link on to friends and family.

Thank You.

Apart from less wind and slightly more mist over the Ridgeway, the weather today was once again 'springlike'. All of note in the cemetery was the increasing array of Primroses that are certainly making for a fine picture.

Bird-wise, the picture was similar at Radipole except for a dozen or so Sand Martins, a Sparrowhawk and a couple of Bullfinch, but even before I'd even reached the 'kissing gate' my 5th Columnist (the enemy within) had informed me that the Visitor's Centre had been burgled (remember where you heard it first!). With some swift 'Policing' the perpetrators had already been arrested, but given this building is out on a limb, and the amount of valuables within (all manner of expensive optics and books) it comes as no surprise!

I include this photograph of Queen Street in the heart of Weymouth as probably being unique? This has to be the most disgustingly litter strewn thoroughfare in the Borough, but today my arrival coincided with the mechanical road sweeper, so I quickly got this shot. It's now only a matter of months before the world arrives in our town (Olympic Games) but if the situation reference litter, dog muck etc prevails, I will sew a Ukrainian flag on my jacket and if anyone from another nation talks to me I'll pretend to be from elsewhere.

Swiftly on to Lodmoor, and after another look at the Long-billed Dowitcher, a single Wheatear, a distant Bar-tailed Godwit and c2 Dunlin, I spent a little time watching these

c2 Carrion Crows squabbling over this discarded apple. However, this was nothing by comparison to the Tussle that was going on right next door.

A third Oystercatcher had muscled in on the resident courting couple (preparing to breed close to the Hump we hope), while they were having none of it. Amid squeals, screeches, head bobbing with bills agape

they herded the intruder along a grassy knoll

before putting it to flight. By now in company with Daragh, the walk up Beachdown Way was fruitless, but reaching the end a phone call alerted us to

a Red Kite passing high overhead. This had been seen by fellow birders Geoff & (or) Sheila Barlow who had, as quick as lightning, called us. Another Thank You both!

Continuing today's pattern of hassle, it too was continually buzzed by Herring Gulls until it disappeared to the north east.

Daragh sporting a look of glee just moments after watching the Kite disappear. Yesterday while walking along this hedge, I watched both a female Chaffinch teasing Lichen from a branch and a Magpie carrying sticks then both flying off to a nest. Today the RSPB are 'pile-driving' fence posts into the same area, but I know having been branded the 'Local Nutter' it will be of little concern to anyone else (except the few).

Heading towards the bus stop, and Portland, there was this carcass of an Early Thorn moth, and also a chance to get just a little closer to the once distant

Bar-tailed Godwit.

Always a joy to watch, these youngsters are taking advantage of the £5.00 per day sailing lessons at PORTLAND's National Sailing Academy. When seeing this sight, I often wonder if there is a future 'Gold Medal' among those sails?

Portland still remained fairly quiet, but Nick Stantiford had recorded the first Common Redstart of the year and I got to see Ken Parker (recently returned from 'birding' Trinidad & Tobago), PBO Chairman Edwin Wheland (on one of his many short visits) and Peter Morgan (familiarly known as The Prof, freshly arrived from Wales and already hard at work in the 'ringing hut'). Great to see you all!

During my wanders across Top Fields, 2 species of Raptor were seen starting with a most obliging

Kestrel, while a little further on this

Sparrowhawk appeared overhead, before disappearing as quickly and silently as it had arrived. Just time now after this early post to get ready to meet up with Lesley Godfrey (of recent days) and husband Simon (recently arrived from London) for a Jameson's or Twa - Manana!

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