Thursday, 21 July 2011

'Dipped' Paddyfield Warbler

The sun showed its hand early this morning, and also in sharp contrast to yesterday it was warm and just about windless. Fine day for a walk along the Rodwell Trail thought I, and with low water timed to perfection there maybe a few Waders at Ferrybridge at the end of it.

Not unexpectedly, the first Butterfly to hove into view was the first of dozens of Speckled Wood.

Greenfinches were singing from high perches, but the 2 or three Bullfinches that were equally vocal remained under cover.

Gatekeeper was next favouring both Ivy and

Great / Hedge Bindweed while

all the Red Admirals seemed content on the old favorite Buddliea.

All of this before the Isle of Portland opened up before me bathed in bright sunlight and topped with just a few white clouds.

Wood Pigeon taking advantage of the rapidly ripening berries, as

this juvenile Herring Gull sat patiently on a roof top waiting for Mum to return.

There was also one for the Jockanese (especially those on the Buchan Alpha) this splendid, blooming Thistle.

At a glance, the only thing I could identify on the foreshore at the Bridge was Pete & Debbie Saunders who had again beaten me to the punch having already been there a full hour. There were a few Sanderling still, but by no means as many Dunlin as yesterday, and a bunch of 11 Sand Martins did fly over and to the south. However, there was an interesting selection of Gull, albeit the more common species with this

juvenile Black-headed Gull voted 'best in show' for me.

The adults weren't bad either

but in comparison with a Mediterranean Gull close by, no contest!

A few more shots of Mediterranean Gulls in the vicinity.

A couple of these Black-heads in moult and showing strange head colour, reminded me rather of Grey-hooded Gull.

That's when the phone rang and Martin Cade, the Warden of the Portland Bird Observatory, related the story of his encounter with a Paddyfield Warbler earlier in the morning.

Mutual friend Ian Dodd, seen here with local birder Fred Alway, had been 'mist netting' at his secluded patch of reed bed on the Fleet when he trapped an Acrocephalus Warbler that he wasn't quite sure about. Doing the right thing he recruited some help and it was confirmed as a Paddyfield Warbler (the 'first' Dorset record) and was then released back where it was caught. A bird of such magnitude was sure to raise a lot of interest, but when arriving at the 'difficult to access site' I was the only one there. I did meet Ian and Fred briefly who told me the story, quickly high-tailing it to the capture location. Obliged to spread the word, I was later joined by 8 other Dorset birders all joining me in the vigil to relocate this little gem. To cut a long story short, as far as I am aware it was not seen again, but once again convey my Best Wishes to Ian on a marvelous find / catch (I know how you feel Mate).

A few Fungi on the way home.

Throughout our wait the Army rife range at Chickerell was active, not making it at all easy to hear anything let alone a tiny bird!

Final note:- Forget the News of the World, remember where you heard it first and no need for Phone Hacking when you have enemies in your camp!

I receive texts and e-mails from a surprising variety of quarters (not least from my RSPB 5th columnist) about the happenings within the local RSPB, the volume of which precludes me from publishing most as there would be no room for anything else. However, one received today is considered worthy of publication and is done so Verbatim.

This news will please you! Nick Tomlinson went for another job locally and apparently got it. Looks like he's leaving Radipole now he's done all he can to destroy it. Will keep you posted.

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