Monday, 28 March 2011

The Chapel of Love - The Dixie Cups

A day of few birds and even fewer 'birders', in fact there were none of the latter until I met Geoff & Sheila Barlow at the gates of the Portland Bird Observatory. The weather again was sunny with a little cloud at times, and the wind had dropped away to almost nothing but that was not to last.

In the cemetery 3 or 4 Willow Warblers were in full song as were Chiffchaff, Goldcrest and Blackcap which was in sharp contrast to Radipole, where there was an eerie silence and lack of birds. The water level there is now so high that even the Grey Herons seem to have departed in search of more shallow margins, while Gulls and Ducks were almost absent and it would be an exaggeration to say I saw a total of 50 individual birds.

Of these there were a couple of Greenfinch,

a couple of clumps of this Fungi

while this Blackbird was one of the few birds in song.

There was little change in this deficit all along Barleycrates Lane, and it wasn't until reaching the cliff that the first migrant was seen as a

House Martin flew quickly to the north and disappeared. This was the first addition to the GB Year List since this time last week.

Further along there were a pair of Dunnock, but it was only later that one of the c4 Stonechats remained close enough for a shot. There were also c2 Blackcap, c6 Wheatear and a single Raven.

In the absence of the Snail Man John, who I believe has now returned home, this is my own attempt at identifying this species Large 'Black Slug Arion ater

Arriving at the PBO, about 40 Wood Pigeons look as though they had just arrived from seaward, while within once again Peter Morgan was busily tending the series of

Mist Nets strategically placed around the garden. It's not known what will be caught by these fine mesh nets, but surely sooner or later there will be something to cause great excitement. However, for now we'll have to be content with more common fare.

Often just overlooked as too common this picture highlights the beauty of what some may consider 'the humble' House Sparrow.

Probably highly placed on every one's favorite British Bird List

this beautiful Goldfinch

is given the 'once over' by the Warden allowing him to determine it was from one of last years broods.

Down by the coast Rock Pipits are now in full display, while in the Bill Quarry there was a

Pied Wagtail plus yet another

Black Redstart.

Yesterday a total of 10 were counted from a number of Island locations.

This is the Stonechat promised earlier. On the subject of The Warden of the PBO, it is often he that finds the 'bird of the day' at Portland, but today he was upstaged by his wife Sharron. Her visit to the Grove area of the Island this morning she turned up the second Hoopoe of the year.

and finally another conundrum for me from Paul Harris. Simply titled 'Dorset Quiz', his question was "do you know where this place is". For the second time this week I cracked it! For those who would like a go at answering the same question, I'll reveal the answer at the foot of this post.

There is a second reason for posting these images, as my 2 lovely daughters Julie and Lisa will remember with delight the days we would visit this place, especially when the Bluebells are in flower.

The ruin of St Luke's Chapel - Ashley Chase, South West Dorset.