Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Chalk & Wetland Birding

After a great five day Two Owls Birding Break to Pembrokeshire, something for another post, I met up with the Tuesday group at Martin Down yesterday and the Wednesday group at RSPB Radipole today.

At Martin Down we met in the main car park and walked across the busy road to Kitt's Grave.  A Song Thrush was singing on the wires, one of many on this part of our walk and we got no further before the rain started and watched a Meadow Brown fluttering to find shelter.  When the rain stopped for brief moments the birds were singing with Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Robin and Woodpigeon. We had a Buzzard soar across and a few Swifts but otherwise our attention was taken by a couple of Roman Snails slowly crossing our path and a Small Blue sat out in the wet  As we started back to the main road a Tree Pipit started to sing and we found him sat up on the wires and good views were had in the scope.  Then a Garden Warbler started singing and in their usual fashion kept singing without taking breath and sounds like it's in such a hurry to get all the notes out!

Back on the down itself we walked along the dyke and had Linnets and listened to Yellowhammer and Skylarks but it started raining again and the birds took shelter.  From the Rifle Butts towards the car park the rain stopped and the birds reappeared, the Skylarks seemed to be everywhere.  Watching  some Linnets I saw a Red-legged Partridge walking the path away from us and in the scope we could see just one youngster with it.  Looking at a Skylark on a bush a Corn Bunting joined it then another.   Yellowhammers sat up to be noticed now and we finished with a Whitethroat before the rain came down again and we went back to our cars.
Small Blue © Jackie Hull
This morning a very different habitat at Radipole RSPB reserve in Weymouth and sunshine and no showers!   Standing on the bridge by the Centre we had low flying Swifts and House Martins, on the water Mallard, Shelduck, Gadwall and Tufted Ducks and a pair of Mute Swans with cygnets.  A Common Tern perched on a railing and an Oystercatcher was sat on its nest on the island.  

Moving only a short distance a Reed Warbler popped up and though moving about was nice and showy.  Just a few steps further on a Cetti's Warbler exploded into song and so loud, not surprising as it was just a couple of feet from us on eye level on a bare branch.  From the elevated platform we had a Bearded Tit fly across twice and a male Reed Bunting on a distant bush.  

As we moved on round to the North Hide we had Blackcap and Chiffchaff singing, then we heard Sedge Warbler.  Moving nearer it showed very well and was busy searching and finding food for its young in a nest hidden nearby totally oblivious to us but we moved on to make sure we didn't disturb him.  We did see the male Marsh Harrier from the hide, also Grey Heron and Reed Buntings.  Walking back we looked for the Bee Orchids and also had Marsh Orchids along the paths, butterflies included Painted Lady, Small Tortoiseshell and Orange Tip and several Blue-tailed Damselflies.  Finally a delightful sight of a pair of Coots with just one baby and giving it their full attention providing plenty of food.

Coot adults with 1 young © Jackie Hull
Sedge Warbler © Joe Baldwin

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