Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Into the Wild - Uriah Heep

Having crossed the boarder late afternoon the previous day there was little chance of even starting the Dorset Year List, let alone adding to the existing UK one but NEVER say NEVER. Carrion Crow was the first to join the County List followed in rapid succession by Moorhen, Black-headed Gull, Robin, Grey Heron, Jackdaw, Great Tit and Magpie before the lights went out. There was however one nice little finale as unloading the car there was a 'singing'
perched on the access step to Slight Return II - Welcome Home Bagsy!
There was a light and short lived frost the following morning and eager
to make an early start I headed for the horse paddocks where already
a number of 
could be heard along with attendant Redwing, Starling and the ringing of the
 Blacksmith's Hammer against ANVIL
as he re-shoed Jen's Thoroughbred HONEY.
Groceries have to come into the equation at some point, so to get the chore out of the way it was decided to do it sooner rather than later. On the way back it was decided to stop at the Cottage in the Forest to wish Janet's Dad and Mum the Best for the New Year but with something of an ulterior motive in mind. Their huge, well maintained garden is usually chock-a-block with common woodland birds and I was not to be disappointed.
was quickly added for the Year along with Great Spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch and Coal Tit (Dorset) to name but a few. Rancid butter and curdled milk are considered far less important than continuing 'birding' so next stop was to be the Gravel Pit at the north end of Parley Court Farm where my hope was fulfilled by the regular
Almost a daily occurrence are 
transiting the property and on occasion alighting to find carrion.
 is also more or less guaranteed here and one of the 2 small flocks
found had in tow a
or two. 
don't usually hold much more than a pair of Coal Tit, but as a
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker had been seen there at the end of 2014
it was going to be worth a try - but no joy!
Instead there was a chance to survey the 2
Early Bronze age 'Round Barrows'
 and also clap eyes on a second
(Snake Pit)
which wasn't known to be in existence.
Quickly cutting along to the swampy / weedy area behind Eco,
where there are now a good number of over-wintering
an estimate would be somewhere up to 30 individuals along with
 (a chance to again air the images of the captured bird in 2014)
 and still probably as many as 100

The best access to this usually very productive area, is via the grassy
areas outside of the solar panel perimeter fences and the boarder of Merritown Heath.
Here there is chance to check a couple of the Barn Owl Boxes at both an acceptable distance
 and under cover of the car. Having done this and driving away a large, grey bird
was seen flying off the heath and across my path instantly recognised as a
Do you grab the camera? Do you stop the engine? Do you get out of the vehicle?
Well all three in fact, but none making it possible to take a photograph of this sleek, scarce and delightful Raptor (unless you are a Vole that is). Plan 'B' was to race at best speed to the main Bridleway in an effort to cut it off as it progressed north, that also was not to be so once again we have relied on Wiki to illustrate this superb bird, a 'FIRST' for the property.

UK List = 76    Dorset List = 41
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