Saturday, 3 September 2011

I-Spy - Pulp

Compared to the rest of the Dorset Coastal Path, my track today was but a small part but none the less interesting for all that.

The full length of The Fleet Lagoon runs from Ferrybridge in the east, a full 18 miles to Burton Bradstock in the west with my starting point being the quaint village of

The sun had once again given way to complete cloud cover and with a stiff south westerly breeze foiling over the Chesil Beech, like the wing of a Boeing 737, it was no less chilly. Just before entering the village and looking towards Abbotsbury in the west, Herring Gull, Common Starling, Magpie, Jackdaw, Wood & Feral Pigeon, Carrion Crow, Pheasant, Swallow plus Common Whitethroat started off the day list.

This is such a pleasing part of the world not only for the splendid views, more enjoyable on a clear day, but its diversity of habitats. Decent sized tracts of woodland pepper mile after mile of arable and pasture land, many well appointed gardens in the hamlet, unending sea coast and the less saline Fleet are just part of this magic place.

What historically has always been a 'good pub' still stands at the centre of this tiny community while as well as fine ale and good grub it has seen some notoriety. During the late 50's Harry Houghton and Ethel Gee, later to become known as the Portland Spy Ring, hatched their plots to pass secrets on to the People's Republic of Poland in The Elm Tree pub. They were both given a 15 years prison sentence in 1961.

There were a number of additions here as Common Starling, House Martin, Chaffinch, Collared Dove,Black-headed Gull and a 'calling' Yellow Wagtail entered the log.

In the garden of Langton Cottage Willow Warbler, Wren along with Great & Blue Tit were seen,

and in the nearby fields adjoining the fleet there were a flock of

Rooks, the first 2 Mammals by way of Roe Deer and Rabbit, a Jay, Common Buzzard, Chiffchaff, 2 Raven and a Green Woodpecker. There is a choice of 2 tracks here to the waterside, and luckily I took the first. No more than a few paces across the field a flock of Linnet with a few House Sparrows took to the air in alarm and arrival of a Merlin. This tiny raptor didn't stop, but in its wake it also left fleeing Stock Dove and Greenfinch while I happened on a hedgerow full of ripe Plums. A great addition to breakfast to come, I was already re-sharpening my pencil in anticipation of the wealth of Wildfowl to come at

Rodden Hive - I need not have bothered. Great disappointment, as even armed with the trusty Mighty Midget telescope all that could be seen were a few each of Wigeon, Teal, Mallard. Gadwall and Coot, not a Wader or heron in sight!

West Fleet from Rodden Hive.

Walking toward this sign post at the Langton Slipway Dunnock, Mute Swan and

Red-legged Partridge were added to the list, but at

Herbury Gore, where again great things were expected, nothing happened except for a lone Wheatear.

Shaping up for the Moonfleet Manor Hotel there was a family party of Stonechat, but the

real bonus was a family of Chinese People. The lady centre, who lives in London, is flanked by her parents over from Shanghai on a holiday. It always gives me such pleasure to welcome people from other lands as I get such warm welcomes when travelling myself. We talk for a time about my 2 visits to their country and their visit to mine then parting company all the better for the meeting. Please continue to enjoy England.

There are still at least 3 Grey Partridge in the field between East Fleet Farm and this

Race Horse training Track. I have never seen this in use but guess it is as

it was being raked as I passed this morning.

In or on the Fleet looking towards the Bridging Camp were Great Crested & Little grebe, Great Black-backed Gull, Grey Heron, Goldcrest, Little Egret, 2 squawking Peregrines, only one Pied Wagtail (all day), Curlew, Blackbird, Oystercatcher.Kestrel, Skylark, Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Long-tailed Tit plus

3 'first winter' Mediterranean Gulls which brought the birding to and end with a total of 60 species.

There were a few Frisians heifers in the field leading to Fleet Village

as Moonfleet Church came into view.

There I met another 2 lovely people visiting the County from neighbouring Hampshire. Unfortunately they had left their camera at the camp site, but 'never fear, Bagsy's here', it won't be difficult to send a couple of shots via e-mail will it?

and finally, I received this e-mail from my mate John Gifford which may be of interest to the Apiarists among you:-

Lately there have quite a few dead or comatose worker bumble bees just past the bridge on Icen Lane, Upwey, and today there is at least 10 and a large wasp, all within 20ft of each other, @ 16.30 today, and that's just on one side of the lane.

Would any of your contacts be interested, and if so please pass info on, plus my details if would be helpful. Landline No. 01305 813736.

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