Thursday, 26 February 2015

A rousing finale

We arrived back in Dorset last Saturday after a family holiday in Suffolk which left me free on Sunday morning to trawl Dorset for some minor rarities and photo ticks for the year list. The forecast was to turn nasty by mid-morning so I started reasonably early at West Bexington, hoping to see the 3 Cirl Buntings which had been reported on and off. I was fortunate to bump into Mike Morse on arrival who showed me to the right spot. The first bird we saw was a Sparrowhawk so that didn't bode well, but after not too long a wait the Cirls flew in to the far hedge as Mike had predicted. Birders are being asked not to use the permissive footpath which goes close to their favoured hedge so we watched from the coast path and I managed a few record shots from distance. Possibly the worst photo tick on this blog this year. But this is a top bird in Dorset, a county tick for me and, more to the point, it's identifiable so passes all the necessary tests for inclusion here.
Sparrowhawk, West Bexington (#116)
A very heavy crop of the male Cirl Bunting (#117) at West Bexington
Raven, Abbotsbury (#118)
Next stop was Abbotsbury where a Greenland White-Fronted Goose has spent much of the winter - not a photo tick this year on account of it being a race of White-fronted Goose, several of the nominate race of which I saw earlier in the week in Suffolk. But still a very good bird down here, and the first I had photographed of this species in Dorset. A Raven over provided an easy photo opportunity. The Black Guillemot in Portland Harbour was my next target, and I soon located it, still distant but closer than on previous visits, and certainly close enough to get a passable picture by the low standards I have set so far in this post.
Greenland White-fronted Goose, Abbotsbury
Now here's a test for the ethics of the photo year list: the white blob with black on top far right is a drake Scaup at Abbotsbury Swannery. The dark blob with white blaze on the face far left is a snoozing female Scaup. I know they're Scaup, you know they're Scaup, but should I 'count' them for the photo year list? No, even I have standards.
Black Guillemot, Portland Harbour (#119)
A close Pale-bellied Brent at Ferrybridge was nice, although the rain and wind had picked up by the time I got there. Again not a photo tick on account of it 'only' being a sub-species of Brent Goose. Finally, there was just time to catch up with the Golden Plover flock at Maiden Castle for one last photo year tick (also the first I have photographed in Dorset) before heading back to Wareham for Rangers' U-12s final game of the season. Although arch rivals Swanage and Ringwood have games in hand and on form should finish above Wareham, we look likely to conclude the season as top scorers and can finish no lower than third, so well done lads - and thank you for letting me have my weekends back.
Pale-bellied Brent Goose, Ferrybridge. Compare to...
...Dark-bellied Brent Geese
Golden Plover, Maiden Castle
Golden Plover, Maiden Castle (#120)

No comments:

Post a Comment