Tuesday, 1 March 2011

I See No Ships

Weather wise things simply got better the longer the day went on, and from a cloudy, cold start by midday "the sun was out, the sky was blue there's not a cloud to spoil the view" - Buddy Holly. Leaving behind a 'song; filled cemetery there was even more at Radipole as an indeterminate number of Bearded Tits were singing in close proximity of the North Hide. Otherwise there was little to report from there except for a few more

Gadwall than I have seen of late, plus a couple of

Lesser Black-backed Gulls

However, there was more on my mind than these as the new month arrived with more than one prospective addition to the ongoing Dorset March List at Lodmoor! On the way there it was noticed that the number of ships in Weymouth Bay had increased overnight, and thought worthy of inclusion here.

The first, a 'general cargo' vessel, was so far away neither flag nor company could be established

unlike the Maersk oil tanker that lay a little nearer to land.

Another tanker of the SKS Line was at anchor close by but here name remains a mystery. In fact

all but one ship seen today remained unidentified by name as a consequence of the 'fret' across the bay. The oil supply tanker Sara is a familiar sight in our waters these days as she 'bunkers' visiting vessels almost on a daily basis, without them having to resort to an alongside berth.

This distant Mine Counter Measures Vessel was just steaming back and forth, but on the Moor the

Long-billed Dowitcher had hardly moved from where it was yesterday, which was the same for the

White-fronted Goose. This photograph is of one of the Bestwall birds taken earlier in the year.

Another subject I know nothing about is Lichen but have to admit a Likin' for them - get it? Looking at these simple plants at close range through binoculars, opens up a whole new (moonscape) world - fantastic!

Ferrybridge brought very little to the day with the exception of a low tide, coming onto Springs, and these c5 Little Grebes that have spent all winter here. With no sign of a Wheatear, even though 'sod's law' might well have produced one now we have left February behind, and a distinct lack of Auks just about the only thing airborne was the

Police Helicopter. Even its short pass overhead put what birds there were to flight, so what price should we get the proposed 22 'joy rides' each day?

Once again it was left to the c2 semi-resident Black Redstarts to

represent the less common bird-life, but even these

were put to the wing by some school kid who I'm sure should have been at school?

The Weymouth Crabber WH286 was active off the Bill as can be seen as they haul another pot over the starboard bow.

Passing the 'active' lighthouse at the Bill, a number of Starlings alighted on the latticework, which

for any birder is worth a check for scarce Rose-coloured Starling - perhaps needless to say, there wasn't one.

Always great to bump into long time friends Rex and Sue Comben, while today there was time for a longer chat than usual - lovely to see you both, before wandering back to the Bird Observatory where on my earlier brief visit the power was down for maintenance. What better way to catch up on that previously missed coffee than with the Warden and Ian Dodd who I hadn't seen so far this year. Good to see you too Ian.

There is chance of a 'special' bird tomorrow but not to tempt providence I'll leave it at that!

PS - it will be noticed that the Header Photograph has been changed to Swallow-tailed Gull. If this isn't the very best of the 54 recognised Gull species in the World, I'd like to know what is!

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