Monday, 26 September 2011

Pearl's A Singer - Elkie Brooks

By and large the day began much as the last few both weather and bird-wise. Overcast and gloomy did quickly give way to some outbreaks of sunshine but rain did look likely, things remained warm overall, while the wind (a brisk westerly) didn't even manifest itself until arrival on the cliff at Barleycrates.

Goldcrests and Robins continue to dominate in the cemetery, with little else to keep me, so quickly on to Radipole. There the water level is still being kept low but as far as Waders were concerned seemed only to have attracted 3 Black-tailed Godwit. Elsewhere on the reserve 3 Kingfishers were active along with a single Common Sandpiper, plenty of Teal, Bearded Tits 'pinging' from the reeds, the long staying Arctic Tern remains and numbers ofJustify Full

Reed Bunting appear to be increasing. One of the best and certainly most endearing birds to land in the county for many a day, remains here for what must be a third year.

This image was taken on the 24th July 2011, since when (just 65 days)

the Hooded Merganser has moulted into this fine plumage. Not quiet complete yet but a few days should see it pristine!

Close to the Westham Bridge sluices I found this unusual looking plant with thorny leafs and stems. A flick through the 'wild' flower book produced no answer as to what it might be, so looks like I'll need to call on my mentor John Gifford to sort it out. Given that so much WWII bomb rubble from the High West Street/Chapelhay area was used to form footpaths etc here, it may well be a cultivated plant. There is much evidence of this around the reserve with Plum, Crab Apple, Bay et al growing all over the place.

Taking a quick weather observation as I arrived at what we used to call the Backwater as children (Weymouth Inner Harbour would be more appropriate) things looked a little bleak towards Portland.

However, we persevered, taking a look at some of the decent size Grey Mullet that now prosper here. Portland once again was a dead loss for me, retracing my route of yesterday seeing only a hand full of Swallows, 3 Stonechat and 2 Ravens.

Lodmoor was my next port of call where Lapwing, Little Egret, Common Buzzard, Red & Greenshank, Dunlin, Common Sandpiper plus a single Grey Plover were seen in quick succession, and it was worth taking a little time to watch this

Grey Heron

Never hurried in their hunting technique, it just stood motionless eyes firmly fixed on one spot.

Quicker that my eye could see, it's head plunged into the water and emerged with this small Dab.

Not a huge profit for such a long wait, but maybe bigger fish next time and

at least we've eaten today!

The main thrust of my visit was to try and see a juvenile Red-backed Shrike that was spending a third day on the Moor, and on arrival the news was good. It had been seen regularly and often but, as is often the case, had just disappeared from view. The wait was a full 20 minutes, and even then the bird only lingered for a short time before presumably catching another insect.

With no chance of securing a photo these 2 images come from the archive, the bottom one showing an adult bird. So, while thumbing through a few shots I again returned to the Venezuela section to bring you a few more from the Hato Pinero visit in 2009.

Roadside Hawk

If the Pearl Kite isn't the niftiest little raptor, I'd like to know what is!

Rufous-vented Chachalaca

Saffron Finch

Certainly not David Attenborough, but an Ocelot for all that!

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