Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Catching Up

Just realised we haven't updated the blog recently which is very remiss of us, our only excuse is that we've had a bout of seasonal illness each and been very busy.

18th October 
We usually visit the Purbeck coast at this time of year as it usually turns up a few passage migrants which are worth seeing and there is always a chance of a rarity.

The day was overcast and the forecast had promised rain by lunch time we could only hope.  We were birding the Winspit Valley and we gathered in the National Trust car park at Worth Matravers, as we waited for a few more people to arrive there was light visual migration going overhead.  A few Skylarks, Meadows Pipits, Goldfinch and Chaffinch were moving west in small groups.

We walked past the village pond and past the cottages and were half way across the first field going down the valley and we saw a large flock of around 80-100 Linnet rise from the field to our right, then a brief view then another of a bird of prey, it showed a third time and it was an obvious ringtail Hen Harrier and by it's rufous underside an immature female a very nice start.  The rest of our walk down the valley saw us check off all the usual common species plus a few that aren't so common like Yellowhammer and Bullfinch, we also added our second bird of prey with a female Sparrowhawk cruising along the ridge opposite.

I was leading and Jackie was behind as we approached the start of the thorny scrub and ivy clad trees that make up the sides of the valley when I heard a distinct "Tup Tup Tup" call and I realised straight away that it was a Ring Ouzel somewhere out to my left, looking I saw a bird fly then a second and a third and land in a red berry tree forty metres in front of us, quickly I put the scope on it but I new what it was but my view confirmed it as a male Ring Ouzel and two immature types behind it.  Unfortunately thanks to a male Blackbird which chased them off they flew off down the valley. We didn't catch up with them again and we didn't add very much more, a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers flying by west out to sea a couple of Gannets, Raven and Rock Pipit and we finished the day with another look at the Linnet flock, another Sparrowhawk and a Kestrel, not a bad couple of hours.

19th October
Saw Jackie and myself heading off to Portland in the hunt for a Rose-coloured Starling and Yellow-browed Warbler.  Well we tried three times for the Rose-coloured Starling and as it not been seen that day it probably left on the 18th. Whilst there looking for it for our umpteenth time a message came through that there was Yellow-browed Warbler at the "Hump" just a few hundred yards from where we were stood, so off we went.  The "Hump" over the years has produced some good rarities and often turns up a Yellow-browed.  We walked three quarters of the way around without luck seeing Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs, Wrens, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Robins and then "Shwee, Shwee" call came from a sycamore right next to us after a little investigation, well looking for movement in the tree top produced brief but good views of this eastern gem.

After we popped into Radipole Lake always worth a look through the gulls on the car park for ringed birds and with a little searching we found a colour-ringed Mediterranean Gull (white ring on left leg 36A2). After sending off the details a couple days later I received a potted history of the birds travels.  It started life in the Haringvliet, Slijkplaat, Zuid-Holland on 10th June 2003 where it received it's metal ring and was retrapped and a colour-ringed on 22nd May 2010 at Pionierinsel Island, Luhesand, Niedersachsen, Germany. Since, it has been recorded a further sixteen times all in the Weymouth area except once on the River Adur, Shoreham Airport, Sussex.
Adult Mediterranean Gull - Radipole Lake © Nick Hull
28 October 
Jackie led the Tuesday group around Studland, walking through the churchyard a distant Ring-necked Parakeet was heard, it was found at the top of a tree closer to the South beach.  In the church we had a few finches and heard Goldcrest, one even landing briefly on the gatepost for us to admire.  Walking a short way up toward Glebelands the purring of a Turtle Dove could be heard.  Unfortunately thought it continued to purr we could not see it as it was in trees across a field we could not enter.  Then it had obviously moved further away as the sound became more distant.

Looking over Studland Bay we had a fairly close Slavonian Grebe, as it was half term and many boats were in the bay we lost it, however further away towards the harbour mouth we watched a few Black-necked Grebes, also eight Common Scoter including a drake adult male.

A few butterflies were on the wing with a few Clouded Yellow, Red Admirals, Speckled Wood and a single Brimstone.

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