Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Come Fly With Me - Frank Sinatra

With the dark, thundery clouds of the past few days now cleared through and replaced by bright sunshine, it was considered a good day to re-visit Lyme Regis, for the forth time this year, in search of the elusive Spotted Sandpiper. With a full 90 minutes in hand, there was time to follow my usual daily track through the cemetery, where the ghostly apparition of Sunday's Grey Heron was replaced by those of

2 Mute Swans and

this very high flying Peregrine. Between here and Radipole, all else seen were common fare in the shape of

Tufted Duck,

female Gadwall,

a 1st winter Mute Swan (one of 7 still present on the reserve),

Cormorant and a

Little Grebe.

The squawking of this little chap drew my attention to the parapet beneath the Radipole road bridge, and looking up

found 2 not yet fledged Feral Pigeons or Squabs as they are often known. Despite their recent emergence from the egg, it seemed as if they were already enjoying some 'billing & cooing'?

Time then to think about the bus to Lyme and a walk up to the sea-front, and a swift change of plan. The fresh easterly breeze, screened until now by the conurbation, continued to pipe in as yesterday as the waves pounded Weymouth Beach. Given the wind direction there is a little relief offered by the Purbeck Peninsula, but at Lyme the extended 'fetch' would contribute to waves being half as high again - once bitten twice shy!

Plan B was to return to Portland where the situation remain much as in previous days, with good numbers of Guillemot, Razorbill and Gannet and the ever present Rock Pipit along the coastal fringe. Best birds of the day by far were 3 Redwing that flew across the Common on my way to the Observatory, where things were equally lean. The conversation, in part, was directed at the techniques for uploading video footage to Websites and Blogs which has inspired me to dig a couple of items out of the archive. Published at the foot of the page, each was taken aboard the Floating Oil Production Platform 'Buchan Alpha' stationed some 120 miles north east of Aberdeen, Scotland.

Full of coffee and Christmas cake, I hightailed it across the fields in an unsuccessful search for Short-eared Owl, but did find

this nicely marked Skylark

which took to the wing at my approach.

video
Long-tailed Ducks

video
Pink-footed Geese followed by


video
quiet a novel piece of footage of a Black-headed Gull (of all things) capturing a 'live' Brambling and shaking it to death. You might think that this would be wasted, but as the following 2 stills show

the hapless Finch was swallowed whole!

By the time you read this I hope to be airborne towards the next adventure, a clue as to destination is contained in today's narrative. While it would be foolhardy to make any predictions (promised fish are never caught) it is hoped that the next week or so will bring a few additions to the Year List which at present stands at 169.