Sunday, 12 February 2012

Slàinte Mhath - Marillion

A bit of a grey start to the day, brightening as the day wore on, but it was mild enough and dry so a good day to return to Lyme Regis. There have been no reports of the Spotted Sandpiper in recent days, but thinking the town is under-watched as a birding site, that doesn't mean it is no longer in residence. Given the X53 passes close to my house and the journey is 'free' what better way to spend a winter Sunday?

From the lofty perch of the upper-deck dozens of Pheasants and Rabbits were seen, with one of the latter makings a substantial breakfast for a Common Buzzard.

Approaching the tiny village of Burton Bradstock to seaward a couple of Racing Gigs were spotted seemingly well out in Lyme Bay. At Lyme Regis it took no time at all to find a single

Purple Sandpiper, a good omen as the

Spotted Sandpiper was associating with them

on my last visit in January. Unfortunately, this was the only Wader found, but the was another chance to view the

Gig Rebel crewed by the Ladies Team and

Gig Revenge propelled by the Men's Team. What was amazing, they had arrived there about the same time as the bus which understandable had covered more distance and made a few stops, but nonetheless the rowers must have covered about 9 miles, seems they're shaping up quite nicely.

Quite a time was spent searching among the rocks and groynes of the eastern seashore, but it was now time to head in a different direction. A wander along the course of the River Lim in search of the Dipper (s) was also fruitless

but this Grey Wagtail reveled its presence on 'call' flying from the grass verge

to feed along the riverbed

where it looked far more at home.

A second bird was heard but not seen.

The luck had to come good sooner or later and did when this Great White Egret was found, easily identified as not being on the Year List thus far! However, there was some concern about the Goldfish which I can only think are being released by the locals.

The last bird to be seen here was totally expected but its location was a little unusual as Rock Pipits, in my experience, rarely move far from the seashore.

This one had obviously found rich pickings on the upper window ledge of the Lloyd's Bank Building in the heart of the town, pecking away at the moss growing there.

Time for a quick look at the Landslips above the rooftops before catching the return bus.

On that journey lots (probably as many as 300) Lapwing had started gathering in a number of fields we passed by,

with a Curlew also present in one of them.

Arriving at home this insect was awaiting me, which may well be a Cluster Fly but I'm well out of my depth with Diptera.

The Spotted Sandpiper is a very rare visitor to Dorset and the rest of the UK for that matter, so quiet surprising there should be 'another' at Mudeford near Christchurch the other side of the county. There was of course some thought that it may be the same bird having moved location, but that was disproved on closer inspection. The Lyme Regis individual (above) has the left toe of its left foot missing while, I am told, the Mudeford bird is intact.

and finally, it's pork fillet with roast vegetables for dinner, along with a bottle of 2009 Stellenbosch Shiraz, a very nice gift from the Secret Lemonade Drinker. Having removed the cork before leaving home this morning and half an hour by the heater (there will be those surprised to hear I have it switched on) just to attain room temperature, the bottle has already been broached by way of an aperitif. I can report a unctuous, fruity red with light tannins and taking the first sip raise the glass to Gary, Jane, Lizzy and Robert (now safely in the Big Apple)

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