Friday, 8 May 2015

The Geese and the Ghost - Anthony Phillips

The past 24 hours have been a roller-coaster of emotions, one minute elated and the next distraught, and I'm not talking about who will have the right to behave like Flipping Morons for the next 5 years! All started well enough at 21:00 last evening when my first
 of the year started 'churring' close by. The picture has been 'borrowed' from Wiki to illustrate what this nocturnal Moth Stealer looks like.That was followed by what has bee of late the more usual high-pitched 'ping' and gentle growling of a Woodcock, there were c6 seen in total. That was followed by the sight of my first Nightjar this year, closely followed by a second of these sleek night raiders. During this period of both birding and setting the Moth Trap there were a certain c2 and possibly a third 
(photo from the Archive, Yes we'll be getting round to some 'originals' in a minute).
As ever the first (no that better be second, the Douwe Egberts is always first)
function of the day was to monitor the Moth Traps and 'YES'!
 looks like we've done it again!
Dorset's Fifth
(the 3rd and 4th were also caught here at Parley Court Farm)
which is surely proof of a 'breeding population' which will be the
First for the County.
 New for the Year
At the Irrigation Pond there was little more than the now 'nesting' Coots
and just a single Little Ringed Plover, but a 15 minute wait saw another
c2 with on of them 'flight displaying'.
Now, if there were c3 here and the 'pair' that have been prospecting the
Gravel/Rubble area inside the Solar Panel Compound are still within,
that would make a fine 'day total' indeed.
they were making the tally 5 but not only that,
one of these birds was 'sitting'.
This clip shows just how close the Sheep can get, the
Plover's have been witnessed doing the 'feigning an injury'
routine just to get the intruders out of the way.
There was no intent to get closer, these modern cameras can pick out
eye-brows at great distance, so no need. Having had my fill and content
with the fact that LRP are, or soon will be, nesting at
Parley Court Farm it was off to Merritown.
 Little of note in the Trap but there was some signs of life among the
Heather, so out with the hand=net and in hot pursuit.
is on the wing, big-time there
 Underside of Male.
 COMMON HEATH (female).
 Male showing just one variation of the underwing, and that's when I met
a distant relation of the much loved
'Screaming' Lord Sutch.
He is working to clear Bournemouth International Airport of as
many Reptile as he and his team can find, doing 'rounds' of the many
dozens of roofingfelt squares where these creatures like to rest.
He already had a small haul and as he was to release them on Merritown
anyway, what a moment I had chossen to show up, First up was a
and next one Colin tells me, because of the dark underparts,
hasn't quite made its mind up as to which sex it wants to be.
A Lot of it About!
Only a short encounter but a huge learning curve for me.
I did rather like is favoured saying of
"every day is a day at school"!
His inspiration sent me scurrying back to the Pond where, overwinter, my galvanised steal hibernaculars have been laid. Now effectively redundant until nex season, why not stick them on the Heath ans see what we can get. Having recovered just one and stowing it in the car, the sound of a passing vehicle turned my head. Good job it did as it was Alex the Shepherd, with barking dogs, looking every bit as though he was about to round up the flock. As this was also inside the Plover Compound, I sent him a text requesting he stayed off the gravel area if at all possible. It was, and he did but with 5 dogs, 200 Ewes and 300 lambs galloping across the plain the LRP's were gone. It is estimated that a collective 24+ has been spent since they arrived watching their progress and daily activities during which time a couple of likely nesting sites have been logged. This one particularly, looking the most likely, has been put on a transit where close by there is a piece of blue plastic stuck in the ground. This was taken as an ideal opportunity to make a quick search, and quicker than I could have imagined went directly to the
a single shot only, I then returned to the 'hide' but there was no returning
bird after 30 minutes so another look will be taken later.
 My cargo loaded, it was taked to the Heath where c2
 had very strangely landed among the
 unexpected, it just looked a very strange sight.

Colin had continued his work in my absence, and had it not been for
his idea I wouldn't have returned until very much later.
As it was he had been very busy and had caught c2
 and c4 more Slow-worms
this rather LARGE one.
 While laying the covers this
was noticed in the low Heather close to the track.
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