Sunday, 30 September 2012

One of These (Those) Days - Pink Floyd

Not a caravan or airport parker in the dairy, or in sight for that matter , an overcast sky, light breeze and no forecast of rain all was set fair for a few hours 'birding'. Mrs Dampney (senior) had asked if she could leave her dog Cresta at Harbins while she attended a charity do, so I was tied until 08:00, after which it would be all systems go? Unfortunately, overnight the dogs had made a bit of a mess but when you are Lord of the Manor all of that is covered by the job description, so after 'clean ship' it was off to the coup. There, the sickly chook of last night was seen to be moribund so the only humane course of action was to put it down, which I duly did! However, not to spoil the Dampney's holiday there is a cunning plan. First of all I won't tell them (yes they will read this) then it's to Tescos to buy a 'dozen large' each of which will be marked with the appropriate date so production won't be seen to drop and they won't know the difference.
Finally, after filling all the bird feeders (an evolution in its self) I arrived at LONGHAM LAKES at 10:30. Even at a first glance there seemed to be little change, but this is a lovely spot to wander around regardless. Almost the first bird was a Peregrine with Tufted Duck,
Great Crested and LITTLE GREBE following in quick succession. Robins still abound but in seemingly reduced numbers, a Raven was perched on a pylon noisily trying to deter the attacks of Carrion Crows and a Wren was singing in the nearby bushes.
c2 CORMORANTs flew in for a late breakfast landing among a group of Mute Swans
as 100+ BLACK-HEADED GULL accompanied by at least c2 Mediterranean Gulls (a new bird for me at this site) flew in to bathe. The rest of the list consisted, among others, of Reed Warbler, Kingfisher, Lapwing, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tit, Green and Great Spotted Woodpecker, Jay, Reed Bunting, Cetti's Warbler plus Blackbird and Blackcap but it was soon time to return to check the ranch!
Entering the property, the MANDARIN of recent days was stood prominent on the far bank of the Parley Pond but what was stood beside it was of even more interest.

Another male MANDARIN but this one an adult in 'full' plumage.

It may be remembered that the sighting of the original Duck was a first September record in Dorset, as it will be for October should one, or both, stay put.
Highlight of the day was undoubtedly dinner, of the Traditional Farmhouse type, at the home of John and Joyce Wicken the parents of Janet. Before the meal 80 years old John had driven in 50 fence posts, while after he set about mowing about an acre of lawn, and they say these 'youngsters' have no 'get-up and go'?
While further west in the county, reports are reaching me via ex-shipmate Paul Knapp that the Brent Geese numbers are now rapidly increasing on The Fleet.
His visit there at dusk yesterday produced these images of birds going to roost - Thanks Paul! and finally to end Black Sunday, driving home there was something of a shudder about the Range Rover and arrived to find a flat tyre. The up-side to this is the estates 'Jack of All Trades' who, Adrian', was soon on the scene and getting things fixed - THANKS to him also!
My friend John Gifford did warn me that being the Lord of the Manor wouldn't all plain sailing!

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Tot Time Special

Strange happenings last evening as I awaited 'parkers' arriving at Harbins. Janet had briefed me that one of her customers had flown to Spain forgetting to shut the car windows, which Hugh duly covered with a tarpaulin. Arriving under cover of dark I bade a welcome to the taxi occupants to hear a rather unexpected answer, "hey Bagsy wot you doin' here you Old Pirate"? I might have guessed that the incompetent was a Matelot, but not my Shipmate Jim Holt (and wife Jackie)
The last time I saw Jim was at the Corner House Pub at Easton, Portland on 31 July 2010
when a bunch of us Ol' Salts gathered to lament the cessation of the Royal Navy Rum Ration. The Rum Bo'sun and Ticker Off prepare the Grog!
Jim and Shipmate Arthur Copus get stuck into a couple of pints before Tot Time.
"Up Spirits, Hands of Messes for Rum, Stand-Fast the Holy Ghost". Another journey to the past, this time 1994, which was the last time I set a Moth Trap. Having recorded Moth movements for 20 years at Wyke Regig, when I moved to the 'concrete jungle' of Westham, Weymouth I quickly found there were few, if any, insects to be caught. I have to admit to missing the 'hobby', but gain great satisfaction trawling through the catch at the Portland Bird Observatory. Well, being out here in the country, I cleaned up what was once a dustbin (skillfully converted) and switched on.
A clear and slightly chilly night produced a small but welcome catch which included
SETACEOUS HEBREW CHARACTER along with the 'one that got away', Smoky Wainscot - or so I thought?
Today has been mostly sunny with a fresh breeze and in part given over to the animals plus a Car Boot Sale. Profitable to say the least, and at last much of the 'junk' collected over the past 20 years has gone to 'good' new homes.

Heard also from the Dampney's who have arrived safely the Rockies side of Canada, but in their first couple of days have struggled to find much in the way of wildlife. On past performance, it won't be long before they find some but for now it presumed Canada Geese 'cutting' a full moon.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Still Waters Run Deep - The Bee Gees

This novel and amusing photograph was taken by Vicky Cheng my friend in Taiwan while undertaking training as a wildlife guide in China and is now canvassing for votes on the image. Not quite sure what it is all about, buy having told her I would try and recruit some of our readers, it will take just a matter of seconds and feel it will please Vicky no end. Please take those few moments, follow the instructions and make someone happy - Thank You!
1. click the following link:
2. click "vote" on the right side (five beautiful women doing yoga pose on a big rock)
3. final click "share" if you could help me more!
thank you so much
Once again not the best of days weather-wise but with a promise of a few bright patches and 4 hours free before the next airport pick up I set myself a small challenge. Having heard from one of our reader earlier in the week that a group of 'birders' had set their sights on recording 50 species in one morning I decided to do the same. Heard only (but counted) are marked *.
Not surprisingly Robin was first on the list as Black-headed and Herring Gulls flew inland, Mallard, Mute Swan, Coot along with Moorhen were on the pond and this most obliging KESTEL landed in the tree as I drove through the gates. Time to abandon the camera and bins for the 10 minute drive across the border into Hampshire to visit
formally areas of Aggregate extraction surrounded by woodland and now sympathetically turned over to wildlife. With no additions on the way, it looked as though the day was going to be something of a disaster before it had ever started, all gates to the reserve were locked with Hides Closed notices posted???? Driving to the east end, which is always accessible, I thought of 'flooding', or was it simply they don't open up until later - it would be a matter of wait and see! Not surprisingly 'ticks' came thick and fast as I first headed for the Lapwing Hide (where there were no Lapwings) scoring Wren*, Carrion Crow, Collared Dove, Wood Pigeon, Mistle Thrush, Dunnock, Jackdaw, Blue Tit, Jay (very handy), Canada Goose, Cormorant, Chaffinch, Goldcrest, both large Woodpeckers and an even luckier 'calling' Redpoll sp. likely Lesser? Just outside the hide are a stand of Silver Birch tree in which were a number of birds, the first of which was this
SPOTTED FLYCATCHER a species I had not thus far caught up with this year, a nice addition.
It maintained its distance, so for a better view I visited the archive. Several Chiffchaff were also in the trees along with at least one Willow Warbler, in full song, making it easy to distinguish it from the rest.

Excellent views across a large expanse of water soon saw Pochard, Magpie, Tufted Duck, Reed Bunting, Little Egret, Kingfisher plus Great Crested

LITTLE GREBE in the log. The Geese beyond the spit were good contenders for Egyptian, but confirmation would have to wait until a closer view was had.
There is also a fine Sand Martin nesting wall close by where, in the season, the birds can be seen at point blank range going about their breeding cycle. Onward to the Goosander Hide (where there were no Goosander) with the first new bird seen was, yes you got it Lapwing.
Along the way, 600m so the sign said, there was a lone REED WARBLER, latish but welcome, and there on the foreshore were a couple of much closer

EGYPTIAN GEESE. The day saw c15 in total so being this close to the Dorset boundary it may well be we will see more of this infrequent visitor in years to come?
Time to peruse the view to the north of the lake, but not for long as this
STONECHAT took up perch and lingered for the duration of my stay, as the
2 Geese swam south passing a Little Grebe on the way.
Returning to the main reserve and the Visitor's Centre, the gates were still locked but as I searched out a car park to wander through the wood, the Warden turned up and did the business. For those who anticipate a visit here the place opens at 09:00 but there is plenty to do (see) should you arrive early.
There are 3 hides at Ivy Lake, but rather than distinguish which birds were where, suffice to say these were in that area. Some interesting

FUNGI along the pathways which I nothing about!
Alone in the first hide and immediately picking up on a tapping sound, turned to find this
cock PHEASANT trying to gain entry.
The feeders attract many birds which today included
Siskins along with 2 GOLDFINCHs (right)
male Siskin,
female Siskin,

and LESSER REDPOLL, maybe the one from earlier in the day?
Final port of call was the Tern Hide (again there were no Terns) where several small skeins of

GREYLAG GEESE were coming in to land. Had there not been demolition works going on at the Hansford site I may have clinched Bullfinch too but with an acceptable 63 for the morning, some may not have been mentioned, I returned to Doggy and Airport Duties having enjoyed a brilliant morning.