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Monday, 26 May 2008

Weymouth Area on 15th & 16th May 2008

My wife and I took a short break in Weymouth. We were very unlucky with the weather - it was very dull and windy, and we had quite a lot of rain, and a 'Severe Weather Warning' on 16th May. Although my wife is only marginally interested in birds, she very kindly accompanied me to some interesting locations, between 'doing the tourism bit'. The birds were good - the photography was lousy !!!

Our first port of call was the RSPB reserve at Radipole Lake - beware the local council's exhorbitant charges for car parking (at any time of the day or night, and the warden is active at all hours).

There was a very good assortment of birds here, with Cetti's Warblers showing well, a brief glimpse of a drake Garganey, Bearded Tits fleetingly visible, a Spotted Flycatcher rather active (not successfully photographed), and plenty of other warblerssinging loudly.

Cetti's Warbler

Reed Warbler

Garganey - drake

Our next stop was at the Portland end of Ferrybridge, at the Chesil Beach Visitor Centre (again an expensive car park). The Little Terns were not around, but I did find Turnstone, Knot, Ringed Plover, Curlew, Kestrel (looking for Little Terns?), Wheatear & Grey Plover (Summer and Winter plumages). Later in the day there was a solitary Bar-Tailed Godwit. There was also a rook hanging about by the Visitor Centre, presumably hoping to pick up some scraps.

Ringed Plover
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Turnstone
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Curlew (female)
.
Grey Plovers
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Wheatear
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Knot
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Bar-Tailed Godwit
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Rook
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Our next location for the day was Portland Bill. I stupidly had omitted to set up my Birdguides 'Bird News Anywhere' for the area before leaving home - I am, a new user of this facility and thought that I could set it up from my phone whilst travelling - so we missed some of the gems that were reported on Birdguides, and there were not many birders around for guidance. A beautiful place, but the most excitement we got was from some Linnets.

Meadow Pipit

Linnet - female
.
Linnet - male
.

Rock Pipit

The following day we started with a visit to RSPB Lodmoor. As the weather was really bad, and the severe weather warning was in place, we just did a quick tour of the shorter circuit. We did manage to find Bearded Tit again, with just some record shots (better than nothing ?) of a juvenile obtained.

.

Grey Heron

Bearded Tit - juvenile
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Coot - I never cease to be amused by their feet !

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From Lodmoor we went to Lulworth Cove for a bit of tourism - just found a Rock Pipit here.

Rock Pipit
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From Lulworth Cove we went to RSPB Arne - what a beautiful place but almost totally devoid of birds. I do not think that I have ever spent a less productive four hours. Famous for Dartford Warblers, I was told that they were usually seen in the gorse by the track on the southern walk. However, people were complaining that the RSPB's land-management programme had resulted in the gorse being cleared away and a broad swathe ploughed on either side of the track, driving the birds away from public view. Nobody, it seemed, had seen a DW for a while. Plenty of Mistle Thushes here, a Song Thrush, Green Woodpecker, Stonechat, and a Little Egret - it seems that we just missed four Spoonbills that had gone with the receeding tide. However, the non-bird wildlife was quite pleasant.

Grey Squirrel
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Sika Deer

Song Thrush

Rabbit

Mistle Thrush

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