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Saturday, September 08, 2012

8th September

Today I had a boys day out with Dave and Glen. Our destination was Lodmoor RSPB Reserve in Weymouth, with our target bird being a recently arrived Short-billed Dowitcher. This is a transatlantic vagrant and only the second confirmed UK record.

The drive down was quick and relatively painless with the area between Bournemouth and Weymouth shrouded in thick fog. Well that was what we thought but just as we approached Weymouth the skies cleared and the moon, stars and planets shone down on us. It was 5.48 after all, the journey time quicker than we thought.

After a short time we walked down to Lodmoor and along the western path. The light was gradually improving and we could now clearly identify the few waders that were on the pools, rather than guessing silhouettes. We finally reached the last pool and a began to scan, we were joined by a young local birder who picked it up first. The bird frustrated us by popping in and out from behind the banks of sedge grass. Someone who had been unable to see the bird moved a little further down the track but soon returned to say the bird could be seen better from this new position. We set up at the new position and were pleased to see the bird out in the open but a fair way off. The now rising sun was causing a glare on the optics and any photography was really difficult, meaning that record shots were the order of the day.

After having are fill we moved on to a three other locations Portland Bill, The Fleet and finally Pennington. The reason we moved around was the low numbers of birds on show. Pennington was nice as it brought memories of my old job back as it was a place a waterfowl breeder the we visited took us to.

Below are a few bad shots of the day:



Little Ringed Plover, Pennington




Ringed Plover



This shows the differences between the two waders


There were several Mediterranean Gulls at Pennington and Lodmoor, these were taken at Pennington.




This gull doesn’t quite add up



This stunning Yellow Wagtail was at Pennington along with 2 females.


birdman_euston said...

8 Sep addendum:

Huw Prior (a local birder from Camden who, like me, is pleasantly surprised by the variety of birdlife found in the Park), posted the following observations for 8 September on the London Bird Club wiki:

"Primrose Hill (18:00 - 19:30) - 1 Woodcock roding over hill before heading south to Regent's Park, also 1 Swift and 2 Swallows south."

piers said...

Very nice memories of Lodmoor, saw my first spoonbill there, that was my first semi-twitch.

All the best,


birdman_euston said...

10 Sep:

Mild (16C) and mainly cloudy at dawn with brisk SSW wind that kept the Spotted Flycatchers down near eye level.

Nuthatch 1 (popped up to the top of the holly tree at NW edge of Rose Wheel, Queen Mary's Gardens, area 17 at 10:30 but immediately flew NE toward Park HQ; Park's second record this year - Dave had one at the top of a pine in the Cricket Pen on 12 March - and a lifer for me).

Stock Dove 1 (a tame, lame juvenile on the path leading to St John's Lodge garden, area 29 at 11:00 - the first I've seen since the spring).

Spotted Flycatcher 2 (Old Golf School wildlife pen, area 39 at 07:20 and Leaf Yard Wood, area 41 at 07:35).

Willow Warbler 1 (bathing at shore of stone beach NE of area-35 viewing platform at 09:45).
Willow Warblers appear to favour areas with fresh water nearby more than do Chiffchaffs; I've seen six of the former but none of the latter bathing this migration season.

Chiffchaff 13.

Blackcap 3.

House Martin 5.

Shoveler 1.

Sparrowhawk 1.

morg and rose said...

Hi Tony,
What is it about the 1st Winter Med Gull that doesn't quite add up to you? Is it the apparent absence of the dark mask behind the eye?

The only additions to B-E's sightings today, were a.m. 2 Grey Wagtails over and unlike Saturday's high flying Sparrowhawk my sighting today was of a low flying probable local bird. Rose

birdman_euston said...

11 Sep:

Cloudy, mild and breezy at dawn like yesterday but clearing after 08:00, with freshening NW winds that put an autumn chill in the air.

Common Redstart 1 (female calling & flycatching on the sunny, lee side of the rough thicket that bisects, from the inside, the hawthorn hedgerow along the N fence of Barrow Hill Reservoir, area 48 at 10:15).
Funny how your mind plays tricks on you: around 09:00 I heard calling incessantly and then spotted in flight what I suspected was a female redstart. Moments later it appeared for an instant flycatching over the hawthorn hedgerow before promptly vanishing. By the time I finally relocated and identified it at the third attempt one hour later, I had convinced myself that it was probably just a supersized, leather-lunged chiffchaff. Glad my first instinct proved correct!

Spotted Flycatcher 1 (in lime tree near Leaf Yard Wood, area 41 at 08:05).

Grey Wagtail 1 (calling over Holme Green, area 9 at 11:30).

Willow Warbler 3 (two in area 41 and one in area 19).

Chiffchaff 13.

Blackcap 2.

House Martin 5.

Shoveler 1.

(Today the Park staff trimmed back the vegetation in the Rail Ditch in area 2 - drinks all round when I spot my first water rail there!)

(Saw a parakeet clinging acrobatically to a hanging horse-chestnut fruit while whittling off the husk - this pest is rarely short of food, it seems.)

(A cockney sparrow name of Barbara Windsor was spotted power-walking in the Park this lunchtime.)

Tony Duckett said...

Hi Morg & Rose

I thought I would through that remark in to see if anyone would reply, well done you. As this bird is moulting, it tends to give the bird a slightly attenuated appearance to its head.
My throat has been gradually getting worse, it does need lubricating.


Tony Duckett said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
birdman_euston said...

12 Sep:

Sunny, temperature of 10C with little wind at dawn; clouding over with an increasing W breeze by 10am.

Common Redstart 1 (subadult male calling and seen briefly at NE corner of fenced-off Leaf Yard Wood near Holm Oak, area 41 at 09:45; shortly thereafter he resumed calling farther S along woodland edge but was not seen again; no sign of yesterday's female near Reservoir, area 48).

Spotted Flycatcher 1+ (one near water hole in Leaf Yard Wood; possibly the same bird seen again a couple of hours later in Old Golf Course wildlife pen, area 39).

Willow Warbler 5.

Chiffchaff 27 (more around than yesterday, scattered widely in most suitable locations).

Common Whitethroat 1 (Leaf Yard Wood).

Blackcap 5.

House Martin 4 (the two local breeding populations that regularly catch insects over the Lake and above the Hill have diminished markedly over the past few days).

Shoveler 1.

(Large flock of 20+ Goldfinch chased by Sparrowhawk in Leaf Yard Wood.)

(The herbaceous growth in the NE quarter-section of Holford Field between areas 39 and 40, defoliated last month, has now been removed completely.)

(When I checked the Reservoir thicket on Primrose Hill in area 48, where I had the female redstart yesterday, I found a tree surgeon dumping newly-cut branches there. I thought they were cutting down a tree elsewhere in the Reservoir but when I investigated, I found it was site preparation for a new housing development north of St Edmund's Terrace. The developer, Regent's Park Estates (GP) Ltd, is appealing the current planning restrictions - more details here, if anyone would like them: Planning Appeal case summary. There's yet another new housing development W of the Reservoir along the S border of the Hill, where I saw an old apartment block being knocked down yesterday - I wonder if it's part of the same project.)

birdman_euston said...

13 Sep:

Clear, 10C with very light NNW breeze at dawn, 20 km/hr W wind in afternoon.

This is turning into Redstart Week!

Common Redstart 1m (in silver birches at S side of Cricket Pen, area 31 at 10:30; prob 1st-summer, conceivably same bird seen yesterday 1km W across playing fields, again calling but flighty).

Spotted Flycatcher 2 (together in Old Golf School wildlife pen, area 39 around 07:45).

Garden Warbler 1 imm (seen with Redstart).

Willow Warbler 1 (ditto).

Chiffchaff 27.

Blackcap 2 (areas 22 and 39).

House Martin 16 (mostly over Boating Lake in late morning).