Monday, 16 May 2011

Radipole, Lodmoor and the Bill

Only a couple of minor changes with the weather today, which on the whole remains 'fair'. The wind did try to seek the south mid-morning and seemed a little more 'fresh' which couple with more cloud cover made for a cool feel, except in the lee when things turned 'warm'. On the bird front it was a carbon copy of yesterday with just a few common migrants, a Red-rumped Swallow seen by just a lucky few (not including me), and no confirmed sign of the Savi's Warbler of recent days. On that subject, this now 'rare' bird to Dorset was seen to bare a 'ring' on it's left leg (unusual in itself as most 'ringers' mark the right leg) which fit with the bird seen at Slapton in Devon a few days before it arrival on Lodmoor.

In the cemetery there was nothing more than what might be expected, and while seen almost daily on Radipole a Marsh Harrier (thought to be a male) is always a welcome sight.

On the east path of 'The Loop' footpath the now resident Common Whitethroat appears to remain without a mate, but there is still time. Before leaving there was also a Lesser Whitethroat heard and quite a number of Common Swifts overhead.

Shipping in Weymouth Roads looked to be reaching 'armada' proportions, these being just a few of the total, with a medium size Crude Oil Tanker centre, a General Cargo Vessel to its right plus 3 small Bulk Cargo Carriers.

First up at Lodmoor was this very vocal Chiffchaff, while in the far distance

2 Barnacle Geese had replaced a Bar-headed Goose that was reported from the same area yesterday.

Both species are likely feral or escapes while these photographs are from the archive just for illustration.

On a 'dry-stone' wall close to the Common Tern colony these mini Spiders seem to have just emerged,

and on the subject of the Common Terns there are now estimated to be about 150 individuals

at this site (Daragh's count being 60 pairs) which make for a fabulous daily exhibition

of aerobatics and Tern colony life.

Part way along the west path and in the company of Daragh, we found a Common Redshank

feeding in the margins and even though we were respectful in every way

its reaction to us appeared a little indignant - Charming! In addition we also saw / heard an undetermined number of Bearded Tits, 2 Bullfinch and a single Water Rail.

To the north, along Horselynch Copse some early 'hay-making was underway but meeting up with Dave & Jan Kingman our attentions were diverted to the Red-rumped Swallow they had seen earlier. Despite an hour long search nothing was seen of it by me and so it was time to head for Ferrybridge.

Hardly surprisingly there were no birds at all on the fore-shore, while all the Little Terns were being kept at some distance from their nest site by firstly this Royal Navy Sea King helicopter

then this M***N with his model boat which had engine noise louder than a chain saw. The helicopter pilot had no excuse at all as he or she was just defending the realm, while 'chiefy' was only stood right next to a sign saying, in a nutshell, Foxtrot Oscar!

Anyroadup, there was some delight as the bus transported me onto the Island, where at the National Sailing Academy these young people were taking advantage of the £5 per day experience in canoes and yachts.

Walking the Top Fields, there were 2 Spotted Flycatcher and a single Wheatear in company with my first Small Copper Butterfly of the year and yet another

spectacular view of The Bill with the active red and white lighthouse in the far distance, the white painted Old Lower Light which is the Portland Bird Observatory and the notorious Portland Race bubbling away to seaward. What a sight!

Before arrival at the Obs there was time to enjoy this small patch of Scarlet Pimpernel

at close quarters, while arriving there found both

Common or Smooth Newt emerging from the water weed

then seemingly basking in the sun,

and a female Emperor Dragonfly

ovipositing (laying eggs).

On the way home, there was another 'first for the year' by way of a Dingy Skipper Butterfly

and another one too many helicopters, this time a Westland Lynx, I thought they'd come to take me back to the Oil Rig - pheeew!

Finally, for Ginge & Val "see you tomorrow"

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