In sharp contrast to yesterday, when bird-life this side of the Beach Road was thin on the ground, just a few short steps from home Blackcap, Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff could already be heard from the cemetery. Add to this Robin, Blackbird, Dunnock and a brief but distinctive 'yaffle' from a Green Woodpecker things looked set fair for a good day.
Carrion Crow already seem to be sitting on eggs, but the bad news is no signs of any Great Spotted Woodpeckers in recent days. While Radipole didn't exactly abound with 'vocals', it's always welcome to kick off withBullfinch and while not
'point blank' approach to within a few feet is not usual here and to get a
female to linger as well is considered a bonus. There were also a good number of Sand Martin and a Swallow with Cetti's Warbler and Water Rail getting more vocal by the day.
Wood Pigeons too were in evidence as several dozen flew high and into the north east as I made my way to Lodmoor. On the way, a lady of senior years stopped me at Greenhill and asked where she might find 'The Lake'. Telling her about the 2 local nature reserves, her enthusiasm to visit seemed to be bubbling over, and mine too as able to impart some useful information about what is partly 'my patch'. This kind of encounter goes a long way towards my personal Good Vibrations, as recent encounters with Annie Meadows, Jo Lawrence, Lesley Godfrey et al has proven in recent months!
At the Lodmoor entrance c9 Black-tailed Godwit were circling at great height, while news from Daragh of a
Grey Plover on the west scrape was of great interest,
not at all 'usual' on this reserve, so headed straight there to view it in company with c2 each of Lapwing and Oystercatcher.
Returning the way I came, it looked like a Sandwich Tern have recently arrived, my second of the year, and while very much keeping its distance
the archive is usually good for a closer look. During every visit to the Moor, the Long-billed Dowitcher is to much of a temptation to miss, so off I went in search of it.
On the way it was seen that the previously ariel Black-tailed Godwits had alighted and were busily feeding.
All 9 were seen to be in various stages of plumage with a 'winter' bird (front) starkly contrasting with the other already best way to summer attire,
and as if to order there too was the Dowitcher.
Again today I had opted for my warmer jacket, which thus far was considered over-kill, but reaching the seaward end of Barleycrates Lane (without seeing a single migrant) it came into its own. The fairly stiff easterly continues and coupled with patches of dense fog (Portland couldn't be seen from Wyke Regis just a couple of miles away) it was by and large a dull day. However, reaching Reap Land the sun did make a couple of attempts to show through but soon overtaken by the afore mentioned conditions.
Along the West Cliff Jackdaws are busily building nests, and no sooner had I thought that only one Peregrine had been seen in Dorset so far this year,
a pair appeared from nowhere briefly performing aerobatics. The first of only 2 migrants to show before reaching the Observatory was a Wheater, followed by a
Obs visiting 'ringer' John Cromarty
plucked another out of a mist net. That was the end of the birding for today, but with traffic light problems and continuing road works it was a long journey back to Weymouth. Fairly close to my destination the driver dropped me off, continuing via a walk along the redundant railway line. There along the virtually untouched banks was a fine display of flowers, some wild and some dumped by humans including
these Grape Hyacinth (or Muscari)
along with these pretty Primula.