Thursday, 17 March 2011

Little 'Drummer' Boy - Bing Crosby & David Bowie

A little on the grey side this morning, but mild with some moisture in the air were all soon forgotten as a Great Spotted Woodpecker was heard 'drumming' (excavating a hole in a tree) in the cemetery, while at the same time what could have been its partner flew off to the west. I don't know if Great Spot's have nested here before, it would be a surprise if they hadn't, as the setting is perfect while among the many mature trees there must be endless food. Perhaps needless to say I will be keeping my eye on the situation.

On Radipole, Chiffchaffs continue to sing, while there was a third GS Woodpecker plus half a dozen Redwing, but the limelight was stolen by the arrival of

c16 Sand Martins, not unexpected but a welcome addition to the GB Year List. Not at all easy to photograph on the wing and at some altitude, this silhouette was the best I could do!

Otherwise, Cetti's Warblers continue to get more bold by the day, Water Rails seem to have fallen quiet and there were a few more Gulls than yesterday including these sub-adult Herrings in various stages of plumage.

Now, please don't confuse my next move with a text received yesterday and confirmation of the sighting of an adult Glaucous Gull at Charmouth on the Dorset Bird Club web site, no it's just that I thought it would be nice to take a ride on the X53 bus and see what turns up. Yeah, alright!

No disrespect meant but I have never been over enamoured with this village, the church dating from 1836 being about the only notable feature, but get down to

the sea-side and it's quite a different matter. Immediately west of the small promenade is a section of 'land slip', but no means as dramatic as those between Seaton and Sidmouth, but just as interesting (always a fantastic walk), while a little further along

Lyme Regis can be seen, with its world famous Cob jutting out into Lyme Bay. Oh, hang on a second, that Gull looks rather pale wonder what it is?

Now that's a lucky discovery that I uncovered all on my own, an adult

Glaucous Gull.

A little distant and at all times in the full glare of the sun (moan, moan, moan) but what a bird!

To continue with the Geography lesson, to the east stands Golden Cap

and a little closer so the reader can see that it is the highest point on the South Coast of Great Britain (another fine walk). I did spend a full hour looking at the Gull, but this was punctuated by texts and phone calls alerting others to its continuing presence

plus a look at this tiny Black Crab

Before heading back to catch the bus, I did check-out the Heritage Centre and the Beach Cafe mainly to advise potential 'twitchers' that both are open every day, times at the weekend being 10:30 to 16:30. Well worth a visit to both I would say. Good Luck to Meirel Whaites and staff at both establishments. PS (sorry) there is also an excellent Fossil Shop which, I was advised by potential buys, is excellent value compared to others along this coast!

Close by I found this map of the Jurassic Coast, one of the best I've come across, and feel sure it will be of some interest especially to our overseas readers who might like to get a better idea of the 'lie of the land' here. Right Click on the image, then right click on it again to magnify.

and just when you thought you'd got Far From the Madding Crowd! It's rare I go far without meeting someone familiar, and what nicer couple would you wish to meet than fellow Portland Observatory friends Phil & Sue Johnson taking a walk and the sun on their own turf. Great to see you both, and don't forget that coffee!

On the way back to Weymouth I took a few shots of Dorset scenes, through the bus window

starting with Symondsbury, just west of Bridport and tucked in the valley between Colmer's & Old Warren Hills.

This was followed by a shot of Bridport itself, looking up the High Street from the west, a town I always consider, in the nicest possible way a 'time warp'. Little seems to change here except for the sometimes frantic music scene.

While finally, I was almost able to get the full length of Bucky Doo the West Bay 'gig' being launched at the fishing village slipway.

Welcome back Bowie & Sheila from your Orchid Expedition in Cyprus, glad it was a success. Thank you for the cider, which I needed after the warmth of the sun on that bus, plus the Marzipan and plain chocolate Bounty Bar, you know the way to a man's heart.

and finally, I have to mention the coincidence of having tea with Annie yesterday and today's star bird. It was just 20 days over 2 years ago that we first met on the beach at Swanage, while photographing my last Dorset Glaucous Gull (by MY, I mean, like today's bird, initially found by somebody else) and she was collecting the most minute Cowry shells I have ever seen.

So, with that in mind I dedicate these photographs of the Swanage bird to Annie!

adult Glaucous Gull, Swanage 25/02/2009

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