Sunday, 5 February 2017

Theme For An Imaginary Western - Mountain Part III

Given the situation, and with Dave more or less programmed to drop me off in Weymouth early evening, an 'executive decision' had been made long before leaving Slight Return II. Having driven this far and with an unmeasurable amount of ammunition just waiting to be found or relocated, it was well worth booking Bed and Breakfast locally and staying in the area for a couple or 3 more days! Now, we don't do advertising, in fact it comes third on the Fantasy List of Things we would like Struck from the Face of the Planet, but do like to pass on any information we think may benefit others and most particularly our Valued Readers. If you are in the Portland / Weymouth area and want B 'n' B look no further than
 151 Weston Street, Portland, Dorset
 or telephone Ken or Christine Hind as above before waiting for
Sunrise over The Purbeck Hills and English Channel
After a full English Breakfast, including dos huevos fritos, freshly percolated coffee and toast
we embarked on Part III of our Odyssey.
It was not necessary to toss a coin to determine which direction to head,
as with low water neap tide if there were any Waders to the south at
Ferry Bridge
then they should be feeding the tide line. In addition you could wager yer
Mother's Wedding Ring on the presence of Geese at the
Mouth of the Fleet 
but there was not a single Brent Goose to be seen while
collectively, the Wader population amounted to just c2 Oystercatcher,
which were feeding at the tide-line and were added to the Dorset List, as was
Rock Pipit and a small squadron of
 GOOSANDER
which very quickly disappeared under the bridge and into Portland Harbour.
Passing under it myself the sea was found to be flat as a pancake
but with very few Birds to be seen and only
 BLACK-NECKED GREBE
along with

RED-BREASTED MERGANSER
 added to the Year List.
Ferry Bridge forms the south eastern end of the body of water known as
 THE FLEET
contained on the western edge by the 18 miles long Chesil Beach and
on the opposite side by the mainland.
 A haven and breeding ground for who knows how many species of Wildlife,
especially Birds, so an obvious choice to investigate next.
 Note:- a minor natural wonder of the World in itself, it is made even more special
by the fact that the pebbles which make up the beach are 'self sorting' by size. At the
Portland end (foreground) are the larger boulders while at the other 'pea size' stones.
The tiny hamlet of Langton Herring was thought as good as any place to start and
while driving the unmade road a movement caught my eye which turned out to be a preening
 RED-LEGGED PARTRIDGE
it was now a case of manoeuvring a little further away, to get the Sun
behind me, before continuing the snapping.
Having found it bolt upright and still throughout, it was thought of little value
to video it, handsome as it was, but as if by telepathy it fluttered from the
dry stone wall
video
and started feeding in the adjacent field.
Passing the
Coastguard Cottages 
and before reaching the small boat slipway at the bottom of the incline the
video
BRENT GEESE
had already hove into view, we were doing alright!
On the way back there was a severe case of 'Lightning Striking Twice'
as at almost the same spot as the Red-legged a 'Grey' flew over the track.
Leaving Strange and scanning from whence it had come a small covey of
 GREY PARTRIDGE
were located close by.
Although the world famous Abbotsbury Swannery is close for the winter period
it was thought to be the obvious next stop on our quest with the plan being to
stop at the 5-barred gate from where a reasonable view can be obtained across the
Water Meadows and the Fleet Swan Feeding Station.
 One of Dorset's many
Iron Age Long Barrow Burial Grounds
 Chesil Beach and the Fleet
 Dorset Downland
and with a squint you may just be able to see
Saint Catherine's Chapel
on the hill. We will get a little nearer later.
Although having not visited this spot for a number of 'years' it was thought little
would have changed, but within half a mile of the destination a large grey
van pulled into the gateway and out jumped a group of bird watchers.
Just what was needed, so cut off the road there to find the advantage
of higher ground and began the scan. First up were an uncounted number of
 GREATER SCAUP
 including both male (top) and female birds.
 At that I turned to find 2 of the birders heading towards me and
immediately started bemoaning my luck!
 However, that was before a positive identification was made to fine it was
JW Williamson and Graham Bright
2 great characters and among my small group of friends for over 4 decades now.
As part of the banter they advised that there were also
LONG-TAILED DUCK
among the swarm at the feeding station which were quickly picked up
and added to the Year List.
Strange to relate that it was also learnt from them that it was another
long-standing friend, Bob Ford, who was driving the van which, was it
known before, I would have been over there like a long-dog to greet him as well.
APOLOGIES BOB, DIDN'T RECOGNISE THE VEHICLE!
At that Graham and JW departed as the vigil was continued alone, but within
a very few minutes they were back to annoy erm whoops inform me that Bob
had just tweeked them (or whatever it is called) to notify them that there was another
'rareish' bird at the 'west end root' of Nottington Lane. This tip coincided nicely with the
fact that there was unlikely be be more to be gained from this vantage point, so quickly
slipped into Lewis Hamilton mode, which is about 35 m.p.h. in my little world!
There was time, as promised, to get a closer look at
 Saint Catherine's Chapel
 and just 15 minutes later was parked in some unsuspecting hosts driveway
looking at c5
 CATTLE EGRET
video
 
 not simply
video
 an addition to the
 Year List
video
video
but the highest number
 personally seen in the County!
video
PS - there was a report of c6 there the following day.
There endeth the 'Third Epistel' according to Saint Bags with still more to come!
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