Thursday, 1 September 2011

Caspian In Dorset

If yesterday was the last of the Meteorological Summer, then today is similarly the first of the Autumn. There were some changes in the weather as well as the wind veered into the south east (unusual for this part of the world), increased somewhat to a rate of about 20 knots, bringing with it a chill, and the sun came out. Even the cemetery had a different feel as loads of birds were singing including Chaffinch, Great & Blue Tit, Wren, Blackcap, Dunnock and Blackbird.

A Carrion Crow clearing up after the 'Take-Away Litter Louts'.

Radipole, still showing very low water levels, was also active as 'three figures' of Sand Martin swooped above the north end, Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler seemed to be in every tree and bush, while both Lesser & Common Whitethroat were spotted as was a passing Kingfisher.

As ever a good number of Cormorant occupied on of the islands close to the Visitor's Centre

It's been a long time coming, but with the mud comes birds and anticipation and it wasn't long before a Ruff flew in, but my sights were set on the

Little Ringed Plover of yesterday which was still in attendance and a good deal closer. An addition to my 'ongoing' September List so welcome indeed as was the next contender. Fellow 'birder' Ian Stanley already had an odd looking Gull in his sights, and joining him we discussed the merits of what it could be, and started leaning towards Yellow-legged Gull. That's when we were joined by Bob Ford and by the time he and I left we were sticking to our guns. Shortly after reaching Lodmoor I received a text from Ian confirming it to be a

'first winter' Caspian Gull (seen here with great Black-backed Gull on the right) a rare find indeed.

This was only the second time I had seen this species which coincidently

was also found by Ian in more or less the same spot

in February 2008.

A second addition to the September List!

While watching the House Sparrows pecking at a nut feeder this

Brown Rat was seen capitalising on the bits falling to the ground,

seeming unconcerned about my presance. Before leaving we also saw Curlew Sandpiper, Black-tailed Godwit, Dunlin, 14 Grey Heron plus a few Swallows.

Lodmoor remained much the same as yesterday, but this Sea Buckthorn was a sight to see laden with berries as all the hedgerows seem to be, and there were also a few Common Sandpiper, more Dunlin, a Common Redshank, several Little Egret, Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Tree Pipit, a Yellow Wagtail and 3 Sandwich Terns.

I always find it difficult to pass a Wood Pigeon by, as they are so photogenic and in my view

have beautiful eyes. I should also point out that I rarely pass them by if they are on the menu as well.

As the bus sped alongside Portland Harbour, it was unusual to see what I beleive were 2 Royal Navy (Pusser's) Whalers under sail?

Arriving at Sweethill, Portland the number of House Sparrows along the footpath seem to have doubled over the breeding season, but there was a distinct lack of migrants as I walked towards the Bird Observatory.

As with the Buchthorn, the Tamarisk in the Obs garden is showing good colour but flowers not berries.

Common Darter

This Red Fox appeared out of the undergrowth, close to the Barns, perched on top of the bushes and enjoyed a feast of an abundance of Blackberries.

At last a migrant, or as it was 3, Yellow Wagtail and on my way home found this

Small Copper Butterfly,

a few Scarlet Pimpernel and also a fast flying Hobby plus a Spotted Flycatcher.

During my visit to see my mate gary White he showed me this photograph on an insect I could not identify. However, I know a man who could so sent it to John Gifford who arrived at Leptophyes punctatissima, English name, Speckled Bush Cricket. So, there you are Secret now we all know and many thanks to you John.


  1. Love the Wood Pigeon photograph

  2. Looked at your Blog Jack and the Cuba photos certainly 'rang a bell'. Take care one and all.