Saturday, 3 December 2011

It Don't Get Much Better Than This

Country number 159 joins the readership today by way of the tiny and extremely beautiful enclave of The Principality of Andorra, another country I have been privileged to visit. Welcome to all you lovely people in the Pyrenees and hope you will pass the Blog Link on to your friends and families. Thank You!

Still in hot pursuit of the 4 (yes 4 not the advertised 5 as Ring-billed Gull is already on the list) potential additions to the Doset November List, I once again hopped on the X53 heading for Poole. From there the service takes me to Christchurch with just a short taxi ride to complete the journey to Stanpit Marsh.

On my last visit in November (for the same reason) the first species noted was Curlew, which was the case today, but it looked like a lot longer wait this time for the target bird. Calling in at the Visitor's Centre to glean information, I was met by the Duty Warden who was almost at pains to relieve me of my travel bag and tell me that the Glossy Ibis had been seen just around the corner moments ago. Now where have I heard that before?

All that was found were the horses that it was said to be feeding close to!

There was the odd fly-over Black-tailed Godwit and of course the ever present Little Egrets, but I needed an update. One arrived right on cue by way of a fellow 'birder' who had seen it in flight heading towards

the Christchurch Priory Marsh, but with no idea as to where it might have landed.

It's a fair old trudge round there, but well worth it when you find what you're looking for feeding the Inner Estuary but at great distance. Nonetheless, it had been seen and just as well as it took to the wing heading back from whence I had come.

Over the trees, and somewhere close to the Visitor;s Centre, it folded wings and plummeted to earth but at least I had some direction. It was a full 20 minute search before it appeared from a ditch close by me allowing

Glossy Ibis to be added to the December List.

It had obviously found a rich food source here

as it was feeding voraciously.

Allowing fairly close viewing, I was well happy with the result

and almost managed to photograph it alongside its close cousin a Little Egret on the ground, but had to settle for this.

It's a very lucky man who enjoys a 'OPEN' invitation to visit friends, whether they are present or not, and being so close to Parley Court knew I would find a warm welcome with the Dampney's. Janet was soon over to pick me up, drive me to their house, top me up with Chocolate Brownie and Coffee before suggesting I take the Freelander and go 'birding' as she was busy. Well, would you refuse?

Crossbill, an infrequently seen species was the idea as I drove off to a site in the New Forest which has been historically reliable for me. I had reached the furthest point I was likely to drive when I received a text from my mate Bomber telling me of a

Blue-winged Teal at Longham Lake no more than 3 miles from Parley.

I could not believe the words, or my luck should I get to see it, as this would be a 'tick' in every box.

Thus far I had only seen this tiny Duck on its home territory of the USA so this was a great argument to 'put my foot down.

The instructions from Paul were the North East corner of the lake, and on another day parking may have been a problem, but Hugh has a 'permit to park' so no problem there either. Through the kissing gate and up the bund, I wasn't exactly sure which would be the best route, but seemed like the 2 'birders' up ahead did so I followed them.

Within a couple of hundred yards they, the 'birders' that is, seemed to have located it and all I needed to do was catch them up and request a look through their telescope, which I did. The rest is history, and I intend to spend the rest of the evening 'ticking' the appropriate boxes, that is until Janet rings the dinner gong - Pheewww!

We have received this fantastic photograph © Bowie Edwards, from an undisclosed Dorset location, complete with evidence that Otters have this year bred in the county.

Time and detail didn't allow me to post the delightful encounter I had yesterday with Marta Nimmo. Of Spanish ancestry she has lived in Weymouth for 18 years and has a passion for photography. We spent a little time chatting at Greenhill before she requested to snap me for inclusion on her daily journal, the link for which is below. This generated dozens of comments from her friends and other readers which are both amusing and complimentary to me - please take a look, log on and visit 'comments' at bottom of the page.

Remember, you win a lady through her 'ears', you win a man through his 'ego'.