Sunday, 15 January 2012

A Day In The Life - The Beatles

Plenty more black clouds to start the day, along with a frost, change in wind direction to the east and a definite drop in temperature. In the cemetery the Goldcrest continued to be in full voice, but all else only amounted to the ghostly form of an over-flying

Grey Heron. Not a lot to add to that at Radipole except for the same Bullfinch at the old kissing gate, a male Marsh Harrier at the North Hide, surveying his hunting patch, 17 Black-tailed Godwit today along with a few Common Snipe plus a single Lapwing. Gull numbers had declined to just a handful, so little to delay matters so I headed for

Newton's Cove which overlooks Portland (distant right) and the walls surrounding Portland Harbour. There the full force of the chill wind could be felt so it wasn't surprising the Black Redstart of recent days was absent. There were however 6 Great Crested Grebe but that was not enough to keep me there any longer, especially as there was a plan 'B'. A brief stop at Ferry Bridge added a few Red-breasted Merganser to the day list before catching the bus to the Bill.
The sea-bird feeding frenzy was still underway in the Shambles tidal race, but Auks seemed a lot less than 2 days ago while Gannet numbers had certainly increased.

In fairly quick time a distant Fulmar* was added to the Year List, but further on towards the Observatory once again the Little Owls were out of sight. At he Obs some of the regular 'sea-watchers' were busy spotting Red-throated Divers and a few Common Scoter but for me it was time for coffee. During the stay there was what sounded like a Chiffchaff calling in the garden, but it was now time for a search among the beach huts again for Black Redstart, without success. Being so close, a second visit to the Owl site was thought worth it and paid dividends as this

Little Owl* was sat on the quarry wall. Distant, and not allowing a particularly good photograph

this image has been taken from the archive for illustration.

On the way back, 10 Black-necked Grebe and an Eider where found close to the north edge of Portland Harbour, while the Plan B meant a return to Newton's Cove. It is often the case when the wind is in this quarter that smaller birds seek shelter and food either in the small cove at the root of the Stone Pier below the Napoleonic Nothe Fort or in the Gardens of the same name.

This was certainly true of a calling Chiffchaff* in the garden, a timely back-up for the one in the Obs garden.

Passing the entrance gate of the Fort, now a well visited tourist attraction, the steps drop

to the Weymouth Stone Pier,

where a Black Redstart* was found perched on the stony fortification, moving from perch to feeding station and

back to perch. An area of the town not often visited, I took the opportunity to take these few stills.

Pelican of London is, by and large, stationed in Weymouth, employed training young people.

The Condor Ferry plies a route between the town and Guernsey & Jersey, Channel Islands plus Saint Malo, France.

Weymouth's Historic Water Pump.

The Tudor House

and detail.

The Outer Harbour looking towards The Town Bridge.

The Year (January) List now stands at 169