Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Back In The Old Routine - The Strawbs

It seemed rather novel to be following what is my usual daily route this morning, through the cemetery and on to Radipole but most of the day promised to be a little mundane. However, at this stage in mild and almost windless conditions with a fully covered sky there were great expectations of 2 Warblers to add to the list. The first might be found in the northern section of the graveyard and the other on the Radipole Reserve.

For the non-birders, a quick explanation of 'pishing' which is making that kind of sound through the mouth, mimicking the alarm call of a small bird in an attempt to entice other small birds to investigate reveal themselves. It was this technique I adopted soon after clearing the Council workmen chopping down a bush. On the very first attempt a number of Blue & Great Tits showed themselves while

a female Blackbird also seemed interested, but the bird I was after was soon to follow as a

male Blackcap* also popped out of the bush along with a couple of

House Sparrows.

First encounter at Radipole was with a small group of Shoveler, this male paying scant regard to my presence and soon

got its broad bill back into the nose-bag. By the time I reached the viewing shelter 3

Cetti's Warbler had made themselves heard issuing that most distinctive and melodic song, and 3 Bullfinch had also shown briefly.

Lots of Gulls were congregated in the northern part of the lake such as this Common Gull, but there were rarer Gulls here today to be sorted out.


Among this gathering was one of the rarer Gulls mentioned, can you see it yet?

One of 2 Ring-billed Gulls was very much keeping its distance, but there was no sign of either the Iceland Gull of a few days ago or the Caspian Gull. There were also a good number of Common Snipe here on the exposed mud, along with 15 Black-tailed Godwit and a Water Rail.


Moorhen and before this visit was over the

Hooded Merganser was seen feeding under the pier of the Gurkha Restaurant. Personally I have never seen this bird take anything but natural food, and this morning it continued to do this. It would dive in the shade of the Gurkha and with 100% success rate bring to the surface a small Black Crab. Watching it deftly dealing with these hard to handle creature was worth the walk alone. Each claw and leg was skillfully nipped off before the body too was devoured, great to watch!

But, it was now time for the afore mentioned 'mundane' such as food shopping before returning the hire car, sorting mail and buying a new pair of boots. The later were purchased in Dorchester, our county town, where an opportunist shot was taken of this splendid

Bentley, temporarily stuck in traffic.

Late afternoon I made another bid for the Caspian Gull, seen over the past couple of days at the pre-roost wash and brush up for many Gulls, at Radipole. No luck with the bird, but did get to see long time birding friend Hugo Wood-Homer along with Bristol birder Dan Pointon - good to see you both.

The Year (January) List now stands at 161