Monday, 9 January 2012

Home Again - Blackmore's Night

Well at last I'm heading towards home, but get the feeling that the visit may be short lived. Having done no birding in what might be considered my local area, there was much to catch up on but armed with information provided by John Gifford, Sheila Edwards and Paul Harris how could I fail????

Leaving Parley Court at 08:30 the first destination was the

east side of Poole Harbour here looking towards Sandbanks and the most expensive real estate in the world. There were good numbers of

Red-breasted Merganser* both male

and female on the sea, while 'scoping from Evening Hill

towards Brownsea Island a number of

Spoonbills could be seen distantly in the lagoon.

From there it is just a short drive to the Sandbanks/Studland Chain Ferry where there was a 'point blank' encounter with a

Razorbill. Unfortunately as I raised the camera it dived, for what seemed like ages, a long way off in mid-channel.

Nothing else of note was seen before arriving at the Studland side, but parking close to the Ferry it wasn't long before finding a Red-necked Grebe* in Shell Bay, as reported yesterday.

Onward to the Heath overlooking The Littlesea Lake and further afield to Bournemouth, where 2

Dartford Warbler were first located by their distinctive rasping calls. Knoll Beach produced a couple of small Grebes that were too distant to identify, while further on close to the Studland Car Park

2 Ring-necked Parakeet* looked as though they were awaiting my arrival. The waterbirds in the bay here were a little closer to the shore, where both Black-necked Grebe* and Slavonian Grebe* were seen along with a Great Northern Diver* and quite a few

Mediterranean Gulls*.

Driving past Corfe Castle, buily by William the Conqueror in the 11th Century, a short stop was made at the woodland close to Middlebere in the hope of a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker but that was not to be so I continued on to the Watercress Beds at Tincleton where there were also 2

Green Sandpiper. It was here that I received information relating to 2 Bewick's Swans in that vicinity. This would have been quite a coup as there had been no 'wild swans' in the notebook since the first day in Norfolk, maybe staying further north in the mild conditions? Search as I may, they were never found but perhaps they will be relocated later.

During the search I slowed for this Pony & Trap, which makes for a really nice picture, while at Ilsington Farm there appeared to be dozens of


Close to Dorchester I visited Monkey's Jump, with nothing to report, then just before Martinstown the Bat's Lane turn-off is usually reliable for Corn Bunting* where they seem to favour the 2 lone Ash trees half way along. There was a mixed flock in the trees, with just 3 being positively identified, but there were surely more than this?

Eventually, I arrived in Weymouth and made straight way for Lodmoor where 2 Long-billed Dowitcher have been seen in recent days, but there was no sign or report of them today. Undeterred,

Littlesea Caravan Park was my next port of call where there were some familiar faces from the past. These 3 lads from Shropshire were visiting Scotland the same time as me in 2009, where together we found a Parrot Crossbill much to all our delights. Today the news was not quite so good as they had journeyed south to 'twitch' the Dark-eyed Junco and had now been waiting 3 hours for the Hume's Leaf Warbler* without success. It had been last reported at 08:55 but nothing since, so I decided to cut my losses and have a look for the

Richard's Pipit* which has been in the fields close to the Bridging Camp since before Christmas.

It didn't disappoint today being located soon after arrival, and closing to photograph range. Returning to the Warbler, word was that it had been returning to a small stand of Sallows to roost at 15:00 precisely, which is exactly what it did. A short visit to drop a small token of appreciation into Paul Harris and a cup of tea with my friend Lesley Brown ended a darn good day, and by 17:30 I was tucked up in the old homestead and getting ready for another foray tomorrow. I'll talk again then!

The Year (January) List now stands at 151

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