Saturday, 27 August 2011

Lord of the Flies

The improvement in weather conditions was marked by no rainfall during my wanderings today, but on the deficit side the north westerly breeze brought with it something of a temperature change not for the better. Catching the start of the ebb tide at Ferry Bridge (06:30) the chill was even cutting through the fleece and there also seemed to be a lack of birds.

For those not familiar with this unique area a 'right click' on the map will show the layout of the southern end of both the Fleet Lagoon and Chesil Beach. While the Lagoon stretches about 5 miles to the north west, the Beach continues some 17 miles in the same direction and a further mile in the opposite where it meets the Isle of Portland proper. This relatively small acreage is the breeding ground for innumerable species as diverse as Little Tern and Bass.

First Wader on the scene was this Sanderling

which landed at some distance, had a quick bath and feed then disappeared.

Close by a Little Egret was rather more obliging as a few more Waders arrived to meet the falling tide.

There were never many, but for once Turnstone (this one already close to 'winter plumage) outnumbered the others with a count of 10.

This individual, still in 'summer plumage' was well worth the 10 minutes watch as it busily did what its name suggests and turned stones!

That is until it came to this small pile of decaying zostra grass, teeming with invertebrates,

capitalising on changing to a weed turner.

No more than two dozen shore birds had been seen before a Peregrine flew over the sand-flats, putting everything to flight, resulting in a reluctance for birds to return.

No more than half a dozen Dunlin showed up during the following 15 minutes, along with

half that number of Ringed Plover and apart from a few Gulls the only other birds seen were singles of Oystercatcher, Yellow Wagtail and Wheatear. Time to cut losses and head for The Bill.

The visit started well enough with 30+ Wheatear

most allowing a close approach, plus

a few Yellow Wagtail which were nowhere near so obliging.

These images are from the archive.

Similarly, this Tree Pipit was photographed back in the spring, shown here for example of the one flying north and 'calling' as it went.

There were 2 most interesting insects in the Observatory garden this, not a Hornet as I thought, but a large Hoverfly Volucella zonaria a visitor from Europe. Prior to 1940 there had only been 2 records in the UK, since when it has colonised the southern part of England.

This one I believe is Mesembrina meridiana, also known as the Noon Fly, and common throughout the UK.

The walk back to Sweethill Village to catch the bus reveled nothing new, but while sitting waiting the 'alarm' calls of a number of Swallows alerted me to a passing
which was gone as quickly as it arrived.

On the bus, (Joel Hope the driver who is known to me) reveled he is the son of one of my long time ship mates, while in The Swan pub I met Alan Morris who I have known ever since living in Weymouth, 53 years. Turns out he is the brother of Richard (Dick) Morris who for many year has been birding, music, party et al friend and never knew the relationship.

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