Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Mrs Robinson (The Graduate) - Simon & Garfunkl

A slightly different stance on the 'birding' today, as I decided to monitor the full 'ebb' of what are now spring tides. High water was at 08:00, with the weather remaining dry except for extremely low cloud or high fog banks covering most of the region despite a fresh westerly blow.

Huddled in the lee of the Fleet Visitors Centre, the first birds on display were a Skylark rising and falling like a melodious yo yo, a Kestrel busily hunting the verges of Beach Road and just a few tardy Swallows, still presumably arriving from the south.

This bright yellow plant a member of the Pea family (maybe Birdsfoot Trefoil or Yellow Vetch? help John) is now replacing the rapidly wilting Thrift

with the first bird to take advantage of the newly uncovered food source was this Jackdaw, seemingly one of a pair.

House Sparrows were also hard at work,

dashing from the sanctuary of the Tamarisk in search of food for their noisy young unseen in the eves of the building.

The first of the Waders I had come to see were a small scouting party of Dunlin and with so few present it was easy to pick out

a single Sanderling with one of the Dunlin in the background.

One of 2 Rooks was also taking advantage of the morsels left by visitors and also digging into the hard earth in search of something a little more substantial. About now, 2 flocks of 40 or so each Ringed Plover flew close past me and landed on the shingle of the Little Tern colony, where today there could have been as many as 20 individuals, a good sign. I am also informed that the first nest had been detected by the continuous watch keepers from the RSPB who will once again be guarding these endangered birds (24/7) throughout the full breeding period.

In addition to an estimated 150 Dunlin (impossible for me to count as being so flighty) there were also 2 Oystercatchers, a single Bar-tailed Godwit and a Little Stint, not totally unexpected but welcome all the same. It too was extremely mobile but eventually fell to the Visitor's Centre telescope but wouldn't allow anything like a close approach. This brought up the 250th species in GB this year, and comparing this figure to the last decades 'full year totals' only two outnumbered this - year 2000 = 258 species and 2002 = a hard fought 298 my best year ever.

Before leaving 2 sub-adult Gulls dropped in, this Great Black-backed Gull

and a Herring Gull but it was now time to pop down the pub for a pint and some Fish & Chips.

There are always loads of people to talk to down The Swan and among them is the ever welcome company of Ted King, looking a little pensive, someone must have reminded him it was his round?

Also there was 'Shipmate' Arthur Copus, who is a legend in his own 'lunchtime'. A man who elevated himself from Boy Seaman to Commander Royal Navy and these days involves himself in who knows how many acts of 'good works'.

and what a way to end this post today as the proudest Dad in the world as my Little Girl in Australia attended her 'Graduation'.

The Family York (l to r) Bernard, Frederick III, Alexander the Great and Lisa (mortar board and all). The rest of the series need no caption except to say



There follows the post 'lost to the ether' and not found until now, which should have been posted on 12/05/2011.

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