A fine start to today's post as the 161st country, and the the first addition of 2012, joins the Country Readership List. The extremely beautiful, jewel of the Caribbean, Saint Lucia where in March 2000 I was fortunate enough to pay a visit and remember it with great affection. We extend a warm welcome to our new readers and hope they might pass on the link to all the friends in the country and elsewhere. Thank You!
A dark and threatening looking sky combined with a fresh westerly breeze gave the feeling that the day was likely to be over very soon after starting, but the clouds rolled through to produce a decent spell of sunny weather.
Looking north from the Concrete Bridge at Radipole.
and looking south from the same position early this morning. With nothing to photograph on the reserve, the only report involved an increase to 18 in the number of Black-tailed Godwits, a reduction in both water level and Common Snipe while very few Gulls had gathered here so far today. The exception to the rule came as a male Marsh Harrier took to the air and began quartering the reed-beds, putting all the Teal to flight and revealing just how many there are. About 100 by my reckoning.
At the bus stop this adult Herring Gull was just posing for a shot, so it got one, before boarding and the first trip to Portland this year.
It was good to be back 'in the fold' and enjoy the sight of the active Lighthouse down at the Bill
and the Old Lower Light which most of you know serves as the Portland Bird Observatory. There was prospect here today of half a dozen additions to the Year List, so first port of call was the Bill to undertake a short sea-watch.
Gulls and gannets were feeding at the edge of the Shambles tidal race, including Kittiwake* which was the first of the 6 to fall to the notebook. The photographs were taken aboard the Buchan Alpha Oil Rig some years ago showing above a juvenile
and here an adult Kittiwake. There were 2 great spectacles here this morning, the first involving many thousands of Auks,
Guillemots and Razorbills, buzzing around backwards and forwards but in no particular direction. The second, was to see a Merlin (our smallest bird of prey) chasing a small song bird out at sea, and then to become the chased itself. From nowhere a Peregrine swooped in and, from what could be seen, made contact with the much smaller Raptor which eventually flew off to seaward.
The scarcest of today's sightings was this high and distant Red-throated Diver which, had it been a little closer
would look a little more like this.
Other birds on the wing included this 1st winter Great Black-backed Gull in company
with an adult Great Black-backed Gull.
The second Year Tick was a single Purple Sandpiper
which barely moved from the rock on which it was perched, while all else included 3 Stock Doves,
Skylark, one of several very vocal birds,
and this unseasonable Bluebottle. Unfortunately, Fulmar, Chiffchaff, Little & Short-eared Owls didn't show so will have to wait for another day!
The Year (January) List now stands at 164
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