Still reporting one day late, it was yesterday that the rest of the country were shivering in below zero temperatures while once again we didn't even get a frost and though the sky remains overcast there is little wind to spoil the day. Goldcrest and Coal Tit remain vocal in the cemetery, with little else of note there, but on Radipole most of the lake is now free of ice and for me a very early surprise.
Almost the first bird was this Bittern which gave me barely time to raise the camera let alone focus,
and while we are not expecting a nomination for this years Moran Prize,
these images give some idea of what was seen.
Other birds to emerge from the now not so frozen reeds included c3 Great Crested Grebe,
a more than obliging female Gadwall,
the confiding Water Rail once again
which this morning took a short flight to the south end of the reserve
before returning to his favourite perch close to the North Hide.
One of about a dozen Robins on the patch awaiting its grocery delivery,
while your friend and mine (Hooded Merganser) was busily trying to seduce any unsuspecting wildfowl that happened along. Main targets today were 'male' Tufted Duck.
Very few Gulls on the lake today, but I did learn later that I missed an Iceland Gull by no more than minutes, with just a single Mediterranean Gull on the car park.
A Mute Swan flew directly overhead,
with other regular residents such as Great Black-backed Gull and
Cormorant were also present, but it was now time to take the bus to Ferry Bridge. Sharp contrast here compared to the last couple of days, as by my estimation there were easily 400 Mediterranean Gulls, a few more Brent Geese, a Turnstone, 5 Red-breasted Merganser plus a Common Gull.
Today's project was to take another look at the Richard's Pipit and Hume's Leaf Warbler, hopefully adding them to the 'ongoing' February List, so a walk to Littlesea along The Fleet. Looking back from whence I had just come, Portland was shrouded in mist and low cloud
while the Oyster Beds were visible at low tide.
Plenty of Mediterranean Gulls here too, many already sporting full black hoods,
along with c9 flighty Little Egret.
All else to see was this wreck just before reaching the
Army Bridging Camp where so far not redundant Soldiers were being put through their paces. There was no sign of either Pipit or Warbler but there were a few Curlew, Grey Plover along with plenty of Oystercatcher and Red-breasted Merganser, while the rapidly clearing clouds let the sun shine through making for a most pleasant walk home.
It is rapidly approaching the time when I should be thinking about the next adventure, and all I can say at the moment is that South East Asia should feature at least in part.
Watch This Space!