Friday, 20 May 2011

Long Tall Sally - Little Richard

With a few things to catch up on this morning and with the last couple of days producing very little, I decided to do the chores before going for the 09:30 bus to Portland. Having barely looked at the weather and with the mobile phone out of reach for the moment, I just caught the fading strains of the ringing tone. The missed call, timed at 08:17, was from Ian Stanley, which could only mean one thing, stimulating an immediate recall. Fortunately I was dressed and ready to go as Ian announced "Black-winged Stilt outside the Radipole Visitor's Centre"! At a brisk pace towards the reserve, making telephone calls and sending texts as I went, it seemed what is a short walk on any other day was on this occasion akin to a marathon. Just about to reach the bridge, and the 3 or 4 'birders' who had beaten me to it, the jangling of

Bearded Tit emitted from the reed-bed a chance not to be missed given the scarcity of this species so far in 2011. After a few 'clicks' of the shutter I reached the bridge

Justify Fullwith this sight meeting my eyes, from l to r Shelduck, Great Crested Grebe (distant), the target bird and Common Tern.

A closer view of the Black-winged Stilt

and Common Tern.

The Stilt was extremely active, even taking to the air at one point and completing a circuit of the lagoon, before settling once again to preen. There are more pictures at the end of this post.

In addition it was noticed that some Coot chicks

are now hatched and, as usual, making strong demands on parent birds.

There were also a good number of large Common Carp viewable from the bridge with my mate Dave Tissington, himself a seasoned Carp angler, suggesting this individual to be in the region of 15 pounds in weight.

One sharp eyed member of the throng also spotted a male Garganey

some distance away but fortunately in open water so could be seen well. With the excitement subsiding, there was chance to take note of the weather and a Marsh Harrier, also at great distance and altitude, which featured a half covered sky, a generally chillier feel than yesterday but some bright sunny periods. Afforded a lift to the Bird Observatory by the Warden Martin Cade, I was now in the planned position had there been no rarity. However, it wouldn't be true to say precisely, as if I had made my own way to the Obs it is highly unlikely there would have been connection with this

Turtle Dove that did coincide perfectly with our arrival

but lingered only a matter of seconds. With 2 'Year Ticks' in the bag it was worth a short search for the Dove, but with no luck there was chance to capture this image

of a pair of Magpies breakfasting on a dead Rabbit.

Returning to the Obs it was noticed that this Honeysuckle will doubtless soon be in bloom, and with a single Pomarine Skua plus about 30 Manx Shearwaters for good measure it was soon time to catch the bus for Ferrybridge for the turn of the tide.

Nowhere near the number of Waders as in recent days, but there was a single Sanderling among the 60 or so Dunlin but there was disturbing activity close by.

Having reported yesterday the sighting of the first Little Tern on a nest, today the RSPB construction gang have moved in! It's the 20th of May for Christ's sake and here are John Dadd and his marauders building, heaven knows what, a matter of a few yards from this sensitive breeding colony of Globally Threatened Sea Birds. Am I alone in thinking this is tantamount to 'breaking the law' or am I also a little too sensitive?

Is it the new Fleet Visitor's Centre, a Hamburger & Trinket Store or just the RSPB once again trying (without success) to justify their existence - LEAVE THEM TERNS ALONE!

A sub-adult Herring Gull finds a tasty Limpet for lunch.

Finally, a Pink-legged Pictorial

Black-winged Stilt in company with a Gadwall

In company with Shelduck

"Oh by the way, which one's Pink" - Welcome to the Machine (Floyd)

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