Only a short time after first light Weymouth was shrouded by a halo of sunshine from a cloudless sky with a gentle breeze. Having encountered a few Goldcrest, Blackbirds and Chaffinch in the cemetery, plus 13 Black-tailed Godwit at Radipole I walked the Inner Harbour just in time to see the fleet of charter angling boats putting to sea. Pictured left is 'Wild Frontier II' skippered by Clem Carter, while to the right is 'Flamer IV' with Colin Penny in command, both good friends of mine.
While none of these vessels are big enough to need the Town Bridge to be raised, there were a number of tall masted yachts waiting to come in as the small armada continued to leave. It being high tide at this time of day, there was little point stopping at Ferry Bridge
so I continued on to Barley Crates Lane where a single Crossbill was heard flying over and 15 Siskins were seen. In addition there were a few Swallows, Pied Wagtails and Meadow Pipits but most numerous were Red Admiral Butterflies which numbered 27 before reaching Reap Lane.
There, this Kestrel obligingly hovered directly in front of me while in pursuit of a meal but with little else I hurried on to the Top Fields.
Only one Wheatear was seen this morning but the size of the
local 'murder' of Carrion Crows seems to grow daily. These 2 are perched on all that remains of an old barn. Before reaching the Portland Bird Observatory there were also a small number of Robins and a single Small Copper Butterfly on the wing,
while soon after arrival the Warden plucked this 'first winter' male Blackbird from one of the mist nets. As others started arriving, there were reports that the too long absent
Little Owl was showing well in the nearby quarry. Like most birders, I get completely overtaken by the sight of any
Owl, so how lucky was it that after taking these shots I turned around to see Bob Ford directing me to a Short-eared Owl quartering the fields opposite. It was turning into a decent day despite the clouds now gathering and probably the rarest bird thus far, a Ring Ouzel, falling prey to a Sparrowhawk, so I continued on to Ferry Bridge via a lift from my mate Ian Dodd.
Already the water had dropped right back, but there were a good number of Gulls at the low tide line, well worth investigating, but not before snapping this Common Starling, don't let anyone tell you they are an 'ugly' bird.
As well as about 50 each of both Dunlin and Ringed Plover, there were singles of Turnstone and Arctic Tern, and there were a total of 79 Mediterranean Gulls. Enough for one day, I boarded the bus home which coincided with the arrival of a text from the afore mentioned Bob Ford alerting me to a Honey Buzzard now flying over the exact spot I had left just 10 minutes ago. No good getting dejected over spilt milk, I continued into Weymouth only to see, presumable, another Honey Buzzard flying very high overhead. It continued flying towards Portland Harbour before disappearing behind the houses, this bringing my UK species total to 258 for the year.