Tuesday, 3 May 2011

America - The Nice

Starting today's post with a quick return to previous days , giving the readership an update on one or two happenings. Firstly, yesterday's mystery plant (only to me it would seem) is

Rock Samphire as pointed out via the following E-mails:-

HI Paul,

Firstly thank for sparing the time to pass on the valued local bird info today, and secondly thank you for the mention in the today's Blog.

The plant on the wall @ Ferrybridge is Rock Samphire, (I think I said it was Sea Samphire) and is only found on south and west coasts, usually found on sea cliffs and rocks, and very rarely on shingle.

Regards - John Gifford

Well howdy. Rock Samphire if I'm not very much mistaken, although not yet in flower. In Shakespeare's time was a popular vegetable, cooked in the same way as Asparagus. Glad you got the Dragonfly (and assume my text got thru'), been waiting over 20 years to see one of those!

Cheers - Paul Harris

Thank you both very much, it must be a real trill to keep the 'Ald Lad updated?

Secondly, with a great deal of help from Martin Cade, Warden of the Portland Bird Observatory, the following has been reveled about the Red Knot I observed and photographed at Ferrybirdge on Saturday:-

...fantastic, and thanks for making a special effort to photograph the colour-ringed/flagged bird; I've sent off the details to the project - it looks like it will have been ringed in either Holland or Mauritania.

Overview of the sightings of colour-ringed Knots of: Martin Cade
Period: 01-Apr-11 till 01-Jun-11
Colourcode: Y1RYRY Date of original catch: 30-Aug-98
Place of catch: De Richel, Holland - see footnote.
53.16.97 N, 5.08.23 E
Sightings of this bird:
Date(d/m/y) Place Observer
23-Aug-99 Waardgronden, Engelse Vaarwater Leon Peters
53.11.00 N, 05.02.00 E
11-Sep-99 Suderoog, Schleswig Holstein Sebastian Berger
54.28.00 N, 08.33.00 E
01-May-11 Ferrybridge, Portland Bill, Dorset, England Martin Cade via P Baker
50.34.00 N, 02.28.00 W

De Richel (Dutch for "the ridge"), is a permanently dry sandbank in the Wadden Sea, in the gap between the Dutch islands of Vlieland and Terschelling. It is located about 1 kilometer east of the northernmost point of Vlieland and is administered by the municipality of Vlieland. The sandbank has an average surface area of 116 hectares. It is completely flooded only during extremely high tides.

The first thing that struck me about this 'return' was the age of the bird, first caught in 1998, that makes it 12 years old. I had no idea that these medium/small Waders were so long lived! Most, if not all, of the Knot 'ringed/flagged' in this project over-winter in Mauritania, West Africa, but this individual had not been seen there during its lifetime - this would have made it a special recovery, but it is easy to see what great value, even through this brief note, bird 'ringing' is.

and finally, I noticed this drain cover when viewing the Vagrant Emperor Dragonfly yesterday which just conjured up an imaginary advert in the local newspaper:-

You can rely on us, even though we are 'S HITT' Builders of Weymouth

and so to today which was both Blustery and Chilly to say the least. On the upside the clouds were short lived and reverting to the Antarctic jacket (kitch red) I was warm a toast! By and large, another 'blank' at Radipole with the saving grace being these

2 Common Terns roosting outside the Visitors Centre.

In sharp contrast to their lethargic mates, the Lodmoor colony were hard at work fishing, while

the 3 at Ferrybridge were content just flying around.

Along the Sea Front and now in the 'eye' of the blustery wind, I saw this notice which needs bringing to the attention of at least our 'local' readership. If you only have the slightest interest in contemporary music then be assured this gig is not to be missed. Performed by the 'cream' of Dorset musicians and singers I, along with my youngest daughter Lisa, attended the first concert several years ago now. So impressed was my little girl that next day she visited me and copied all the lyrics of the Floyd classic 'Dark Side of the Moon'. There have been another 2 since, which also saw my attendance, and its only the impending next adventure that will keep me away from this one - Be There or Be Square.

This was the scene looking from Greenhill towards Weymouth along the sea-front this morning, but the choppy sea wasn't deterring the

Ocean Racing Yachts already half way across the Bay and shaping-up for the Isle of Wight.

On Lodmoor, Common Swifts were quite numerous so an opportunity to practice some 'in-flight' camera work -

a lot more practice needed I would say! In addition there were good numbers of Swallow, a few House & Sand Martins, 3 Little Egrets, a Ringed Plover and on the way back a tardy Brent Goose flying across Weymouth Bay. Unfortunately, once again, there was no sign of the Long-billed Dowitcher.

OK boys and girls, here's another one for you. I've been through the Field Guide without success, so same wall, same location Ferrybridge - off you go!

Along with Common & Sandwich Terns there were also still 46 Bar-tailed Godwit

on the fore-shore along with a few Dunlin and Ringed Plover plus one remaining Red Knot.

This Little Tern looked like it was in the acrobatics team, but it was now time to head for Portland.

There, about the only excitement for me was the Search & Rescue Helicopter attending a small fishing or dive boat. Something about this said it was not an exercise (but I could be wrong) as it quickly went into a 'hover', before

before descending to just above 'wheelhouse' height,

sending up spray in all directions before lowering a 'winch-man'. Removing what looked like a person (difficult to tell at such distance) it quickly made for the land. After a not too appetising lunch with my friend Edwin Welland it was time to go home, where over the last couple of days I have been mussing about my day out on Saturday with Author and Naturalist Richard Crossley . Richard lives in Cape May, New Jersey, USA and knows another dear friend of mine who also lives close by Sandra Keller. Having undertaken 4 trips to this Mecca of American 'birding' I have had the pleasure of meeting and enjoying the company of a good number of the local bird fraternity.

Sandra Keller, Moi and a gentleman who's name I cannot remember (apologies).

My last visit there was with Sue Hallam, arriving Cape May 30/09/2007

Sue and I at the Cape May Lagoon

The 'Hawk Watch' at the Cape May Lighthouse (bird watchers on the raised platform right of picture). Some of the birds we encountered included:-

Solitary Sandpiper

Stilt Sandpipers

Tricolored Heron

Black Skimmers

American Kestrel

Bombay Hook, New Jersey

with our dear friend Doug Johnson who along with wife Mary and son Gabe afforded us fantastic hospitality.

'Till we meet again, here's to all my MATES in the USA!