Thursday, 5 May 2011

Night Owl - Gerry Rafferty

The wind having backed to the south and moderated to a mere zephyr it was already balmy when I left home, but still overdressed! With little to detain me in the cemetery it was quickly on to Radipole where my intent was to visit the long neglected North Hide but the was a bit of a wait before they opened it at 08:00. In the meantime a circuit of the Buddlhia Loop produced both Lesser & Common Whitethroat, in full song, and lots of chatter from the reed-beds especially from

Reed Warbler, difficult to see let alone photograph.

There were also a couple of Common Sandpiper that with nowhere to feed soon buzzed off, which made me think (not for the first time this Spring) that with the likes of Temminck's Stint in the county what might turn up here if the water was at a sensible level?

As far as the environment is concerned everything looked to be in sparkling order at the North Hide with the only down side being no Sand Martins in residence at the specially built nesting wall (centre of picture), but it could be said it's still early days yet?

A look across the rest of the North Pool.

One of the pair of Kingfishers nesting in the Sand Martin wall (ironic) putting on fantastic flight flashes of bright blue and rufous.

It wasn't long before one of what are thought to be 2 female Marsh Harriers turned up

putting on a fine flying display, albeit at some distance, before

perching in a dead tree. It was then that I spotted the target of my desire as the

pair of Garganey, here for their third day, were spotted roosting among the reeds.

We had seen a pair at the Loch of Strathbeg during our week in Scotland,

but these were my first in Dorset this year - 'tick'.

At the main bridge what may well have been the same 2 Common Terns, caught sleeping there yesterday, were up and about this morning with one bathing and the other watching.

Among a bunch of Herring Gulls attracted to bread, this Lesser Black-backed Gull was causing mayhem on the wall of Westham Bridge as a familiar 'face' hove into view.

The adult male Hooded Merganser (a favourite of mine) has reappeared after a short absence, I hope it's told its American pal (Long-billed Dowitcher) to do the same as Jo Lawrence, a 'birding' friend from Chatham arrives on Saturday and is eager to see it!

I though this a nice shot, which reminded me of a little 'dit' I mumble to myself on the odd occasion I'm brave enough to look at my own reflection. "Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all"? "You are Duckie (Bagsy) without a doubt". "Thank you mirror, Roger, Out".

Onward to Portland and little of note all the way to the Observatory, except for flushing 2 Stock Doves and so it was time for coffee. On the way back to catch the bus, a single Whimbrel flew in off the sea (calling)

and my first Clouded Yellow Butterfly (archive shot) of the year flew in front of me, but must have been on a mission as it didn't stop for a photo call. I phoned to inform the Warden, but almost before signing off this

Short-eared Owl appeared from nowhere

and flew, at some distance from me, across the fields, so I had to phone again.

These shots from the archive give a bit better idea

of what one looks like.

This brings the GB Year List to - 242 & the Dorset Year List to - 198

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