Monday, 20 February 2012

Big In Japan - Alphaville II

Weather wise, today was almost a carbon copy of yesterday with bright sunshine and a cloudless sky, but gone was the chill wind making it once again like spring.

Almost as if to endorse this, the first bird encountered in the cemetery was this female Blackcap

not likely to be a new arrival, but who knows given the conditions?

At Radipole, and taking the western loop path, a Sparrowhawk preceded me flying only inches from the ground seemingly in hunting mode (when aren't they). It also appeared to be carrying prey but soon took a sharp left and disappeared into the bushes. Worthy of a stealthy approach it saw me first and flushed low over my head, dropping its prey at the same time. So close was all of this that the hapless bird brushed my arm as it fluttered into another bush, from where I could see it was a

Water Rail. Unfortunately, mortally wounded, there was only one humane course of action then leaving it where it had fallen in hope the Raptor would recover it rather than make another kill.

The Cetti's Warblers were far more coy today, or maybe they had seen the hawk, and only broke cover briefly.

Arriving on Weymouth Seafront, it looked rather much as though I'll be leaving town under spring-like conditions tomorrow as I head off into the hinterland. While there were no bird to be seen there, it was well worth a wander along the prom before boarding the bus to

Portland Bill where my first encounter was with fellow birder John Lucas who had conveniently just located these

2 Purple Sandpipers. There was little else to see there, except he did say there was a Redwing in the area,

so I continued along the coast, via Pulpit Rock to the Bird Observatory. There I was given a warm send off from both John and Warden Martin Cade and while walking the Bill Road came across Janet Read and later John Gifford along with sister Maggie who also wished me luck. Last port of call was to say my farewells to the Secret Lemonade Drinker who, expecting me, had a delicious 'pot mess' (stew) on the table within minutes of arrival.

I have to thank all of these plus those who have sent a string of e-mails wishing me luck, including the one reproduced below from long time birding friend and resident of Japan Chris Cook.

Dear Cap'n Bagsy -- Greetings from sunny Tokyo, ahead of your imminent departure for overseas. Good luck and safe travels -- and happy family reunions! I found this information today on a Beijing birding blog. I think the birds were seen in January -- it might be of interest to you:

"On the way back south, we stopped at Zhuanghe, a port town between Dandong and Dalian, to look for Relict Gulls, a large flock of which Paul found a few days before. We saw only a handful, probably due to the high tide".

Zhuanghe is situated on the south coast of China only a short 200 miles as the Relict Gull flies, so as well as receiving a mail from Chris it has also boosted my confidence of finding my own in Korea.

Thanks Chris you're a Gent!

and finally, looks like the weather isn't too bad in Incheon albeit a little colder.


Sunset 18:16Clear Sky
-4°C 4mph South South Easterly