Tuesday, 1 September 2015

LEISURE - William Henry Davies

If anyone had suggested at the beginning of 2013 that my wandering days were over they would have been branded 'Crackers', but here we are 20 months further down the line and it certainly seems that way. So much so that it is difficult even to pull myself away from the beauty and diversity of the Recording Area, so Dave Foot's text on Saturday fell on deaf ears. An unbelievable c23 Cattle Egret were, at that moment, strutting their stuff on Coward's Marsh and while my UK total doesn't reach that number the 'blinkered' was not for moving. Why then yesterday, when it was chucking it down with rain in the eye of a stiff breeze, was it decided to steel myself against that mammoth drive of just over 2 mile to see if they were still there?? Within 10 minutes of leaving the car everything was soaking wet and as yet there was no sign of any Egrets let alone the target. That's when, at great distance, a single
CATTLE EGRET
did fly across the object lens of the telescope only to land as quickly
as it had taken off. A second then followed in quick succession, but
this was not ideal bird watching so turning to leave a third took to the wing
but proved to be far bigger that the preceding others, a most unexpected
GREAT WHITE EGRET
While neither added to any particular list, the scarcity of both in Dorset
was enough to consider it had been a Good Hours Birding.
Perhaps needless to say but the images (for illustration) are from the archive.
Part of the decision to go was that there was a 'pick-up to be made from
the airport and having safely transported the passengers back to their car,
parked at Harbins, but seemed to be having difficulty leaving by the chosen exit.
A lady ran back to say there was a 'bird' blocking their way 
and didn't want to scare it, which turned out to be this
SPARROWHAWK
Today also turned out to be a very quiet affair but a great start was to see the
OLD CURRANT BUN
shining through the trees.
This took me back to the Meteorology Instructor at the Greenhithe Merchant Navy College in Kent, who always insisted that there was only one thing 'guaranteed' as far as the weather was concerned. " Once that first bell sounds to beckon school children back from the summer break, it will be wall to wall sunshine from then on"! It must have been doing a practise run for next week when that event happens.
It wasn't alone in the Heavens either the
MOON was also transiting.
Decent weather then to rummage through the Moth Traps but yet again
not a lot to report, the best of the bunch being
this single
GEM
a couple of contrasting
VESTAL
and the same number of
OLD LADY
There was also a rather large and striking male
HOVERFLY
VOLUCELLA ZONARIA
video
which did a little wander for the 'movie makers'.
There was next to nothing to report from Merritown Heath
save this juvenile
 STONECHAT
 along with the biggest
GRASS SNAKE
(all of 4 feet long)
the largest we have ever encountered there.
From then on it was simple a case of wandering but taking time to
STAND and STARE
WHAT A PLACE!
LEISURE - LINK
video
In the far distance just the tops of the Solar Panels,
then Bristle Bent Grass, the Heather and a couple of the
Belted Galloway Cows.
video
Running along the Fern Line and round to the Main Track with
Bournemouth International Airport 
in the far distance.
video
Seeking the elevation of one of the
Air Quality Monitoring Stations
we were able to pan across the Heath with Merritown Wood 
in the background.
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