Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Stayin' Alive - Bee Gees

Still trailing by a day, so it's back to the second day of frost but otherwise another lovely day. Walk through the cemetery produced this winters first 'feeding'

Redwing, the very few others have all been fly-overs, and not surprisingly

in this apple tree closest to the house and outwith the graveyard wall. This tree must attract as many birds as all the others combined so always worth a long look. Chaffinches predominated here today with singing bids seeming to be perched in most of the trees.

This car was covered in ice that morning, but I'm sure readers living further north would be happy to swap weather conditions.

Have you ever seen a Blackbird looking 'sheepish'?

Well now you have, and one that was lucky to still be with us.

Feeding in a local garden it hadn't seen what I had, but all of that was about to change as the local


launched itself from the ridge and gave chase, fortunately we can report

it made off empty taloned.

Over at Radipole water levels were back to their previous low, where what Common Snipe were present seemed to be flying in from further up the River Wey Valley.

Ice had also formed on the Buddleia Lagoon,

and also today the Cormorants were able to stand on the now exposed rock island.

As in the cemetery there were plenty of Chaffinches here as well a little bolder that usual now food is becoming harder to find.

On the car park I met Derrick the Duck Ringer along with Terry Coombs and his helpers Guy and Catherine. Unfortunately, the lovely photograph of the latter 3 was lost due to a 'technical error' (aka 'gross incompetence) leaving just this one of baiting the Ducks.

The target of this ringing exercise were Tufted Ducks, which on this occasion seemed to be keeping there distance. Even a bucket full of corn wasn't having the desire effect, luring everything including the Hooded Merganser and the Strange Duck. It may be of interest to some that I for one have never seen the Merganser take any human offered food, only ever seeing it feed on small Crabs, Eels and other small fish. That is not to say it is not 'hoovering' the bed of the lake for corn or bread, but there is a theory that it is attracted to the feeding station as are the fish and crabs.

However, the corn was attracting good numbers of Coot & Mute Swans.

Portland on the whole remains quiet except I did see, at great distance, one of a few Red-throated Divers picked up by the Sea Watchers but unfortunately not the Eider Duck.

Nevertheless, there are still the stalwarts that can be relied upon including the 2 Little Owls

One of at least 3 Common Kestrels

a Magpie

plus beautiful sunny views across Weymouth Bay and onward to the Purbeck Hills

and Southwell Village. Finally, a couple of shots from a little further afield, firstly from my friend

Patricia Shearing of this fine male Mandarin just 10 minutes walk from her home in the Thames Valley,

and a little closer to home from my mate Paul Harris who saw this Great Bustard fly over his house earlier this week and the next day found it feeding in a field at Buckland Ripers a small village just outside of Weymouth. Thank you both for a pair of stunning photographs.

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