Gripped by the excellent photos from various Scilly pelagics, and cursing my spindly sea-legs which have discouraged me from going on one, I was starting to wonder if I would get any of the more exotic seabirds on my Dorset list without a greater commitment to seawatching than I have the time and patience to make. The slim chance to see the Cory's Shearwater off Portland Harbour was missed due to holidays, but news of a Sabine's Gull in the Avon Valley this week looked more promising. With no car it proved a complicated journey but after a missed train, a short railway journey from Wareham and a vigorous 4 mile cycle from Christchurch station I was on site to give it a go. While not present immediately, the bird eventually flew over the Avon Causeway, landing briefly (on the Dorset side of the river) before heading off north again. Rain set in and most birders headed off but on the bike I would have just got wetter so stuck around for a few hours. The sun came out, the Red Arrows performed at nearby Bournemouth Airport - tragically as it turned out - and the Sabine's returned, allowing these distant flight shots to be taken.
3 weeks ago