Saturday, 2 April 2011

Red-flanked Bluetail - Again!

In what seems like a blink of the eye, it's Saturday again and no restrictions as far as the bus pass is concerned. That being the case there was only one course of action for me, straight to Portland after a cursory look for Garganey on Radipole. A complete 'blank' before alighting the bus at Southwell and not a lot to add, except a few

Wheatear plus a couple of Willow Warblers

on the way to the Observatory, where there had been a little more action including a few seabirds that were potential additions to the Year List. On the strength of this information and the chance of having my new name as The Geek Birder rescinded it was down to the coast for another session of sea watching. On the way I saw my first

Common Redstart of the year, 2 of which had already been trapped at the Obs. It's always great to see any of the new migrants arriving after the winter but on seeing the first male Redstart I know my season is really underway, What a Bird!

At the Obelisk there were just a handful of Sea Watchers, but there had been a little movement which soon manifested itself

as a couple of dozen Gannets flew by, as did a few Razorbills, Guillemot, Kittiwake a single Fulmar

and 3 small flocks of Common Scoter which were all distant. A little later a fellow birder allowed me to look at an adult Little Gull, through his telescope, feeding with a small party of Kittiwakes relatively close to shore, before the arrival of c2 Manx Shearwaters. The latter 2 were new for the year, and that's when a text from Paul Harris arrived announcing the discovery of a Red-flanked Bluetail at Durlston on the Purbeck Peninsular. 23 miles as the Crow flies from where we were stood, but nearer 32 by road, and that was only if anyone would be kind enough to offer a lift. Not a desperate plight as I had seen the 'first for Dorset' in the Autumn of 1993, plus many dozens in South Korea but if anyone was going I was more than happy to foot the fuel bill. There seemed to be no interest for such a 'rarity', so having had great success here I returned to the Obs well satisfied and just in time to see a

male Ring Ouzel taken from one of the mist nets,

and a real beauty I had not seen 'in the hand' before. On its release, I pondered my luck and this excellent 'Purple Patch' as Julian Thomas (a long time birding friend) arrived and simple said "are we going for the Bluetail then"? No need for an answer on a post card, we were off like a shot but soon hit traffic at Lanehouse (not that you can avoid it anywhere in Weymouth these days) just a couple of mile from Portland. Anyway, we eventually got there to learn it had disappeared and not taking long to calculate if there had been no hold up we would have seen it. But nil desperandum, after about 20 minutes Julian relocated it perched on a fence.

Red-flanked Bluetail as it reappeared.

The male of this very rare visitor to our shores is bright blue throughout its upper-parts and more reddish in the flanks.

but we certainly had no complaints about this female type. The distribution of these proper little gems is North Eastern Europe and across most of Asia (TICK!).

On the way back across the field there was this single Daisy which reminded me of Lesley Godfrey - this one's for you Lesley and Thank You for your lovely words when you joined as a Follower.

Our return to Weymouth took us so close to Middlebere that it would have been senseless not to call in and have a look for the Osprey that has been seen there in recent days. On the way this

Fox posed right in front of the car, but the windscreen was a bit on the mucky side making the image blurred.

An impromptu shot from the side window as we passed it by resulted in a clearer view. There was no sign of the Osprey, even though there was a note in the log to say it had been seen earlier, but there was plenty to view including

a couple of dozen Curlew, an estimated 400 Black-tailed Godwit, a few Dunlin & Redshank, c3 Common Buzzards and a Peregrine to name but a few. For me this has been a fantastic days 'Birding' with equal quality company - Thanks to those at the PBO and Julian Thomas for making it so!

The GB Year List now stands at 201

and lastly while in no way least, I am proud to publish these photographs of my dear friend Roy Henderson who, after only a 50 years wait has finally been awarded his Malaya Medal. He and my neighbour Joy went to Salisbury to receive it from

Brigadier General Othman Bin H. J. Jamal, Malaysian Defence Attache to the UK presents Roy with his medal.

Roy Henderson with his 'gong'.


No comments:

Post a Comment