Monday, 7 November 2011

Go West Young Man - Genesis

My first day back home and anxious to start some local birding I had decided to try for an elusive species that has been reported infrequently from the Lyme Regis area some 32 miles west of here. The 09:30 X53 service would take me there giving time to check out the cemetery and Radipole beforehand to give some indication of what was about. Plenty of Wood Pigeons overhead along with a few Redwing was sure sign that winter is on its way, while on site Blackbird, Carrion Crow and Magpie were all much in evidence. There was better to come crossing to the northern half of the graveyard, to find more Redwing (4) prospecting the 'berry' bushes while 2 male Blackcap, an unknown number of Goldcrest and a superb Firecrest were encountered during the wander. The very short time on Rdipole also came up trumps with 5 Pochard, 2 overflying Redpoll, a Water Rail also in flight, a Kingfisher, 7 Lapwing and a 'ring-tail' (female) Hen Harrier the first ever seen at this site.

Just an hour away, via some lovely Dorset villages including Portisham, Abbotsbury and West Bay plus dozens of Pheasants and a single Merlin at Langton Herring, the bus arrived under a clear blue sky, a gentle easterly breeze with plenty of sunshine. First port of call the seafront

to take in the panorama of this beautiful section of the Jurassic Coast. The pier running out to seaward, known as The Cob, is probably most noted as one of the locations for the filming of the Karel Reisz directed French Lieutenant's Woman.

Looking back to the east, along the Lyme landslips, can be seen the plateau that is Golden Cap, the highest point on the south coast of England, but it was now time to start the search for my quarry which if seen would be an addition to my Dorset November List.

Starting at the mouth of the tiny River Lim and following its course to the north you soon pass

the Parish Church and the Fish & Chip shop where there is a slight bend in the river where, perched directly below me, was

this brilliant Dipper which I always think of as 'The Toff' of the riverbank complete with dinner jacket and starched white shirt.

The first I have ever photographed in Dorset, this little fella was quite content to stay in a small area, adding a great deal of excitement to the find.

Posing in just about every stance possible, this series of images show just how obliging this individual was!

and to cap it all, it was also singing most of the time!

Nearly always associated with this species but nowhere near as elusive is the Grey Wagtail, however this individual did seem a lot more camera shy and soon departed.

Back at the seawall, the ever attentive Herring Gulls had gathered but I was far more interested to watch the feeding antics of a number of

Rock Pipit, this one with a 'club foot' which didn't seem to hamper its hunting skills.

Each would survey the stonework until spotting a likely morsel,

then flying up and perching on the rock-face, rather like a Wallcreeper - I (we) wish,

proceeded to winkle whatever it was from the crevice.

On occasion this took quite a time and lots of maneuvering

before securing the prey, this time a Grub of sorts, but Spiders were also on the menu.

Despite having had a fantastic trip through a very special part of Europe, it's good to be back. During that time I was lucky to meet lots of lovely people, touch on 8 different countries (Italy, San Marino, France, Monaco, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg and Belgium), those in red being new to me, and enjoy some great experiences. In addition the bird list reached 42, best of which were Blue Rock Thrush and White Stork, but it has to be said sharing the experience with such a dedicated 'Blog Readership' really put the 'cherry on the cake' - Thank You One & All!

PS - Have already had the atlas out looking at whereto go next with a 'short list' already forming.

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