Thursday, 29 September 2011

The Tunnel of Love - Dire Straits

The 'alert' arrived right at the wrong time for me early yesterday evening as dinner was on the table and the daylight fast disappearing. 2 Great White Egrets had landed briefly outside of the Radipole visitor's centre before taking to the wing and flying high to the north - another one lost!

The Radipole 'Sun Tunnel'
This was the scene close to the VC, along the cross-path Radipole, this morning with the sun just peeking above the buildings to the east. There was precious little to report from the cemetery except for the continuing sound of Robins, Wrens and Goldcrest while on the Reserve, except for the chosen 3 (Water Rail, Bearded Tit and Cetti's Warbler),

there was little more than this small 11 strong flock of Black-tailed Godwit.

At what is known as The Swannery, with the Westham Bridge Sluices in the back ground, this guy had just arrived with a bucket of grain to feed the Wildfowl.

The 'feeding frenzy' that followed was worth 10 minutes of anybodies time.

An early departure for Portland meant I had to 'PAY' a bus fare, but all that was on offer around the Top Fields, Culverwell and onwards to the Bird Observatory were a few Collared Dove, many Bees and Hoverflies on the Ivy Banks

and this delightful Peacock Butterfly.

I had received early warning of the arrival of Ron (Chunky) King (foreground) but in the event was unable to dodge him. Ron, now in his 78th year, has been 'bird watching' longer than most of us and is one of the most colourful characters in the game. Always a delight to encounter him, it was once again GREAT to be in your company Chunky! That was when the next alert was sounded

as a Short-eared Owl was spotted flying across the fields opposite the Obs. No need for a second call for any of us as we made for the road, and soon relocated it, albeit at quite some distance, perched on a fence post close to the Culverwell bushes.

Slightly luckier with previous SEO's this bird, from a couple of years ago, allowed a closer contact

before flying away as did today's.

Also at the Obs for their annual 'bird ringing' visit have been Martin Lanaway and his father who can hardly be disappointed with the visit as it was Martin who caught the Blyth's Reed Warbler on Tuesday, only the 5th ever on Portland.

High Water Spring Tide was at about 10 'o' clock this morning so it was time to make for Ferry Bridge to catch the first of the Ebb, but there too things were a little disappointing.

First to appear was this Rook,

followed by this sinister looking bunch who, judging by the sleek lines of their 'dug-out canoe', looked every bit like Special Forces - Shhhhhh!

Soon it was the turn of a 'skein' of 15 Dark-bellied Brent Geese to 'splash down' likely having just arrived from the Tundra?

There were also 21 Mediterranean Gulls and a single Little Egret, but it wasn't until the 'last knockings' of my stay that any Waders showed up in the shape of 6 Ringed Plover, 5 Dunlin and 8 Oystercatchers. Thankfully, I had some shopping to do which cheered things up no end - Manana!

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