Friday, 19 October 2012

No Holds 'BARRED' - Fist of Fury

Under a leaden sky and little in the way of wind, a welcome change from recent days, Great Spotted Woodpecker and Jay were both seen in the cemetery for the first time this autumn. Additionally, Goldcrest numbers seemed to have increased while in the northern half it was difficult to tell if the vandalised
CHAPEL of REST was being demolished or refurbished after the fire? Given the still and dry condition, and because desperation was setting in, it was always going to be worth another look for the Purple Heron which I knew was seen yesterday.
Unfortunately, the c8 Herons that flew overhead as I reached the Concrete Bridgewere all of the GREY variety, but with c11 Skylark flying through and dozens of Long-tailed, Blue and Great Tits along with a few Chiffchaffs that something was stirring in the 'small bird' department. Calling Goldfinch caught my attention on the east pathway which were in company with at least c10
LESSER REDPOLL also feeding
with an unknown number of SISKINs in flight.
SISKIN and LESSER REDPOLL.  Disappointingly, there was to be no Purple Heron but who knows it might over-winter????
Heading for Portland Bill it was noted that Portland Port is becoming more like a STENA FERRY TERMINAL, but good for those who now work in the old Royal Navy Dockyard.
Within a few short paces of the bus stop it was obvious that here too migrants were landing in good numbers, and while there was no intent to count there were dozen upon dozen of
a sprinkling of WHEATEAR,
a decent flock of STARLINGs
 along with ever present ROCK PIPITs.
Nearing the redundant Lighthouse which is the extremely active Portland Bird Observatory
one of the Obs Quarry LITTLE OWLs
was obliging with a bit of a pose, while on arrival I was very quickly onto one of the recently arrived
FIRECREST but not quick enough with the camera
as these shots come from the archive. Performing my usual duty of making The Warden a coffee I barley got the cup to my lips when this fine fella was lovingly removed from one of the mist nets.
A BARRED WARBLER, a rare visitor from the east and only the 3rd I have seen in Great Britain, so Lady Luck really was starting to shine.
Not to be left out here is a shot of the Higher Light, the first of Portland's Lighthouses to be built, by which time I had been offered a lift back to Weymouth by birding friend Neville Fowler who I had not seen at all this year so far. This effectively put me a full hour ahead of catching the bus and even further if I had stopped off at Secret's for yet another coffee, but I was on a 'roll' and decided to return to Radipole.
Taking up station at the Shelter, where the Purple Heron had last been seen (soon after I left earlier this morning) where the 
MUTE SWANs seemed unusually flighty, while as ever at this time of year the 
were most confiding. At the shelter there was a group of visiting birders who were staying at the Obs, some of whom had already seen the Heron, and many eyes theoretically made the task easier. During our time together we had Kingfisher, several Bearded Tit, Sparrowhawk, Common Buzzard, Cetti's Warbler, Stonechat and a couple of Little Egret. They departed after an hour and it was another full 60 minutes before I got he briefest glimpse of the target bird flying just below the reed tops. After a wait of over 40 years, finally what has been my Dorset Bogey Bird for far too long
reached the log. The photographs, of course, are from the archive.
Finally, walking back home this GREAT CRESTED GREBE was so close it was impossible to resist - manana!