There are 2 points to be amended/corrected before we kick off today's Blog. Firstly, YES we missed the
GREAT WHITE EGRET
from yesterday's Post, so how's this? and secondly, from one of our avid and most astute readers we received this:-
Please could you put your turkey out of his/her misery ! We hate to think of him (her) swinging back and forth ad-infinitum ! (Sorry).
Move or swing back and forth in a regular rhythm.
Having ocelli, or eyelike spots.
Well we're back and all the better for the enjoyable time away. Given the continuing reasonably mild weather conditions, surprisingly warmer than in the South of France, priority had to be given to the Moth Traps with all 3 being activated overnight. Still with partial cloud covered and at least one light shower of rain the Insects continue to pour into the traps. Well, if you consider c9
along with a wayward
RED-LINE QUAKER 'pouring'?
One of the traps is stationed close to Janet's stable where LEE the BLACKSMITH was already busily 'shoeing' HONEY, while her rider JEN looked on. With the completion of the new 'Covered Yard' the 'Smithy' was able to work in far more favourable conditions.
Not only has a new month broken since our departure but also a fresh season, the Meteorological Winter, throwing up all sorts of prospects of the natural kind. As far as December is concerned, attention turns to the Continuing Dorset Month List with still a few birds being reported in the county that could add to this. Examples being Penduline Tit, Surf Scoter, Sandwich Tern and always a chance of Mandarin Duck at any time of year. If you are going for it, it might as well start big so this (above) was my chosen area for the first day on Dorset soil, to circumnavigate POOLE HARBOUR the second largest 'natural' harbour in the world! The nearest and most likely starting point was
on the northern shore, where the view is across to
and more particularly Brownsea Lagoon, a strip of shallow water the depth of which is artificially controlled to attract Wading Birds, and defended by a sea-wall. The dainty AVOCET was the key bird here which was seen immediately, but at great distance, for my first time this year - a good start but more of that later!
Continuing to pan the telescope across the area, Brownsea Castle
and the Ferry BARFLEUR (Poole to Cherbourge) were seen along with Red-breasted Merganser, Cormorant, Goldeneye, Brent Goose and Oystercatcher were also seen, but then came 'music to my ear'. The raucous 'call' of a
which occasionally linger into the winter months, was heard and soon picked up in the 'scope, a bird not seen in December before so things were getting even better. It's not for everyone but it 'does it for me'!
The now ageing 'Jack-Up' Work Boat which plies this seaway was seen before dropping down the hill to Sandbanks sea-front, where time was taken for another search across the surface. Little more that
and TURNSTONE here so quickly on to the Chain-Link Ferry.
While I think it would be safe to say most drivers are 'champing at the bit' to get across the ferry, the very opposite works for me and as luck would have it things were further being held up by the
which I had caught up with and was now leaving harbour,
delaying the ferry even further on the other side. This allowed time to abandon the car in the queue to board and make a quick search of this area before crossing the narrow Harbour Mouth.
were on the nearby rocks, while
SHAGs seemed to be everywhere, flying past
and a juvenile.
Having boarded safely and given the Captain permission to 'slip' the jetty and 'proceed' I turned to find this stowaway onboard.
was on her way into port as we looked out towards
which could be seen across the heath and through the trees,
and the promontory known as JERRY'S POINT. This wreck has been here for as long as I can remember, but now much diminished in size. Regular readers may recall my visit here last month, when a 'rare' bird was found, an addition to the Year and Month List then, now just for December.
is a bulky 'Sea Duck' from the Americas with once again the image being taken from the archive for illustration. Seen distantly, it was feeding voraciously a good sign that it might just stay into the New Year and until its migratory instincts 'kick in' again?? The seaward coast on the Studland Peninsula is always a good spot for spotting 'over-wintering' Divers and Grebes, with a good number of parking areas and viewpoints, I was heading there next.
On the way there seemed to be an unusual amount of activity on the outskirts of Studland Village, thought worthy of 'poking my nose' into, with the sign on the wall making it clear that the old
Along the whole stretch of coastline a single
was seen along with c2
Black-necked Grebes but there has been tell of quite a number
more than that this year.
photos from the archive of the sharply contrasting plumage change
Slavonian Grebe makes between these 'summer/breeding' shots and 'winter' seen today. Unfortunately we rarely see this stage of plumage here on the south coast.
Another FERRY crossed the harbour before I left to make an investigation down on the Goathorn Peninsula where British Petroleum have their 'nodding donkey' oil wells
Turn right at Bushy and you come onto these very narrow but picturesque lanes, where I wondered just when the leaves are going to fall from the trees - what a picture. My hope was to find a viewpoint from where the Golden Pheasants may be seen on Furzey Island, the traditional spot now being continuously plagued by human disturbance. Some of these lanes are marked PRIVATE but I searched most of them, working on the theory it is easier to get 'forgivness' than 'permission' - I was however unsuccessful in the quest!
Redshank, Grey Plover and Dunlin.
was on view but no sign today of the Hen Harrier or for that matter the Great White Egret of my last look here. Unfortunately, the Redwings and Fieldfares in nearby trees were not so obliging either. And so to the final stop close to the town of Wareham
has historically been my favoured spot for getting prolonged views
of one of Dorset's most captivating birds, with about an 80%
success rate the chances were surely good of seeing