A raucous hubbub could be heard even before turning the key in the front door this morning, and needing investigation. Another grey day of overcast sky, some signs of frost but little wind making for a reasonably comfortable temperature.
The noise was getting louder as I approached the cemetery where c31 Carrion Crows were congregated in a single tree. While not considered to be a gregarious species, it used to be a 'rule of thumb' that if there were one or 2 large black birds they would be Crows, otherwise they were Rooks. Now it is not unusual to see this number and more on Weymouth Beach while the Bill is now infested with them.
This is the largest count I have ever made here and feel sure if a wander had been taken to the other side of the graveyardthe count would have increased?
Not at all a pleasant sight to start the day, the passing of a Leviathan, as one of the ornamental Redwoods has been chopped down. The intent was to approach the Council workers to find out WHY, but that was unnecessary taking one look at the rotting heart of the trunk.
We are not short of large trees here, affording great cover and feed to a multitude of bird and insect life,
nonetheless it is sad to loose one.
My particular favourite is this tall Monkey Puzzle Tree despite it having been daubed in blue paint by some mindless vandal. All else amounted to an unknown number of Redwings which haven't been here for too long now - the first record for February.
Radipole too had little on offer except c3 Long-tailed Tits
always a delight to watch, along with a Reed Bunting, several vocal Water Rail & Cetti's Warbler, c8 Black-tailed Godwit plus singles of Mediterranean Gull and Grey Wagtail.
Walking the harbour-side to catch the Portland bus, this Little Grebe photographed from the Town Bridge was seen to be best way to 'summer plumage' but that was all.
It was distinctly cooler at the Bill as the full force of the north easterly breeze was felt, and this extremely long distance shot was more out of desperation than anything else.
The saving grace was once again the pair of Little Owls in the Observatory Quarry
where one obliged
with a half pirouette
showing it's spotted wings and back
while the other kept a much lower profile among the boulders and vegetation.
and finally, the date has been set for my departure which will be a week tomorrow Tuesday 21st February 2012. As previously mentioned the trip will be through a number of countries and hopefully will end in Sydney, Australia on a still undetermined date. I hope you all 'tune in' and THANKS!