Since our last post I had a few hour to spare and went to Arne and volunteered a few hours which I try to do as regularly as possible. On the way I stopped at a field at Nutcrack Lane and checked if the Cattle Egrets were with the cattle there. There were nineteen Cattle Egret spread across the field, so out with the bridge camera for a little shooting and trying out the video mode. Here's what I managed to get.
Arne had been getting a male Brambling into the feeding station behind the Welcome Hut so whilst helping out I kept an eye open for it to visit. I was just pointing out the different birds to one of the visitors when I spotted a Brambling but this time it was a female none-the-less a very smart bird and she continued to visit throughout the afternoon though somewhat intermittently to the chagrin of some of the visitors.
|Female Brambling Arne © Nick Hull|
Next we had a Two Owls group meeting at Blashford Lakes this was on a rather cold damp day but luckily for us it stayed dry right up until we were walking to the cars when it started rain again. None-the-less we had a good mornings birding and seeing many of the regular species that frequents the reserve. The highlights were Green Sandpiper on the bank and a dozen Goosander from the Goosander hide was most appropriate on Ibsley Water. Also from the Goosander hide we had really close views of a Snipe which was hunkered down right below the hide amongst trashed willow on the shoreline.
|Common Snipe - Goosander Hide, Isbley Water, Blashford © Nick Hull|
At the weekend we met at Weymouth to explore the area for returning wintering species and hopefully to see the Lesser Yellowlegs and the Ring-necked Duck and I have to say we were successful on both counts.
Before we even started our walk at Lodmoor RSPB reserve we had near to 250 Canada Geese flying in over us to land in the reserve, Cetti's Warbler and Water Rails calling and a Great White Egret flew across the reserve towards Preston cleared Beachdown Way and pitched in out of sight. We walked the reserve anticlockwise in the hope the Lesser Yellowlegs was on the Western Scrape but when we arrived there it wasn't to be seen. Though there were many Teal, Mallard, Snipe, Black-tailed Godwit, Dunlin and the long staying white headed Ruff and a Marsh Harrier. We continued on and we had a Peregrine streak across the reserve putting everything up in the sky which was followed shortly after by a Sparrowhawk. Further on we came across two more Great White Egret and its smaller cousins the Little Egret and a few Little Grebe sheltering from the wind tucked in by one of the tern nesting islands. I met a couple of friends that watch Lodmoor regularly and they said they had just seen the 'Lesser-legs' in the marsh bit by Beachdown Way. So with a quick thank you we hurried along the path and scanned the pools and there it was at the back trotting up and down the waters edge feeding and giving nice scope views.
|Lesser Yellowlegs - Lodmoor © Nick Hull|
From Lodmoor we moved to Sandsfoot Castle, here we added Red-breasted Merganser, Black-necked Grebe and a single Slavonian Grebe plus a handful of passing Brent Geese. Then it was onto Ferrybridge for lunch, there was no sign of very much, too many people walking dogs and digging bait for fishing along the shoreline, but we did see Skylark, Dunlin, Oystercatcher more mergansers and a Kestrel, our fourth raptor of the day. By the time we finished lunch the day was passing and we headed off towards Radipole, parking at the Tennis courts we scanned though the duck and I managed to pick out the Ring-necked Duck without too much problem with a few Tufted and Pochard. So after watching this small American duck in appalling light and with the temperature dropping as the sun had started to set we headed back to Lodmoor where we said our goodbye's to the group after an excellent day's birding in Weymouth.