Monday, 2 May 2011

Dragonfly - Yngwie Malmsteen

The sky was threatening enough this morning to take no chances, and stick on the 'wet weather' gear and it wasn't too long before it was needed. The best the cemetery had to offer was a Goldcrest, while Radipole was once again very disappointing with no more than 2 Bullfinch, 3 over-flying Common Terns plus this

lone Oystercatcher which seemed to be prospecting the island outside of the Visitor's Centre. Just a quick flick through my own records shows there are far fewer Warblers at Radipole these days with so far Blackcap and Grasshopper Warbler being absent, only one singing male Whitethroat, 2 Lesser Whitethroat and extremely poor numbers of Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler, maybe they're yet to move in?

Arriving at Barleycrates the rain had died away, replaced by some bright sunshine, but the easterly wind had increased some from yesterday keeping things pretty cool. Apart from this

female Stonechat, escaping my photographic clutches, there was little until reaching the West Cliff where there was a Gannet 'fishing' unusually close to the shore, while Hirundines were moving north at at my estimation of about 300 per hour for Swallows and 50 each for House & Sand Martin. Otherwise, it was left to Wheatears to make up the numbers with at least 2 dozen in the fields close to Reap Lane.

There followed another long 'sea watch' for me, today totalling about 30 minutes, during which time I was able to catch up on the news from Somerset and elsewhere with Julian Thomas. All that passed by were a number of mixed Terns including Sandwich, Common and Arctic, a few Guillemots and Razorbill but precious little else. A coffee and yet another hot (cold) dog left over from Friday's party and I was off in search of at least one of the 3 Hobby that had arrived from seaward earlier. This was not to be, but in one of the fields opposite the Observatory

3 Grey Herons (look closely now) were stood head to wind probably sitting out the blow?

All else included 5 Wheatear, a Whinchat, a Yellow Wagtail plus 6 Common Swifts but already the tide was on the turn so Ferrybridge was the next destination in hope of a repeat of yesterday's Wader-fest!

Already these Turnstone were whirring around before settling directly in front of us

showing off that

fine 'Summer plumage', while 106 of the Bar-tailed Godwit were still present but no Red Knot which had seemingly been replaced by

7 Sanderling

with some still in 'Winter Plumage'

in between plumage's

one allowing comparison with a Dunlin

and just one showing

this fine Summer Plumage.

Ringed Plover were represented by about a dozen individuals and there were also 3 Grey Plover, while I was also

Thanks to Paul Harris & John Gifford this plant is identified as Rock Samphire - thanks both,

interested in this plant growing out of the sea wall. With no idea of name it would be great if someone could enlighten me. It was at this point, while taking time out for a chat with avid Blog readers, brother & sister John Gifford and Maggie Hayden, that the rain started in earnest accompanied by thunder and lightning so I headed for home. Having more or less settled down for the evening there was a message alerting me to a creature I'd not even heard of let alone seen. Only a couple of miles from home and on the garden gate of fellow 'birder' Neville Fowler we found this

Vagrant Emperor, as the name suggests, a 'rare migrant' from sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East. It is a well known long-distance migrant, is at home in desert conditions and may occasionally appear even in winter.

A great bonus to conclude another good day.

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