Sunday 16 September 2012

A man out standing in his field

Hamish Murray, head honcho of the Dorset Countryside Service, can often be found in Durlston Country Park's Long Meadow at this time of year, indulging a passion for visible migration. I met him early on Friday morning for a walk around but, apart from a few pulses of hirundines there wasn't much of that going on.

Wheatear - one of few migrants at Durlson this morning

A yomp around the park also produced precious little. I say yomp as there are two theories on how to best to cover a regular patch: mooch around slowly carefully checking everything; or blast around quickly to cover more ground. This morning Hamish definitely subscribed to the former, with me puffing along behind. Preference depends, I think, partly on how good a birder you are and how well you know your patch - Hamish doesn't miss much, and knows every bush, so will generally spot anything even at such a canter.

Peregrine is a reliable at Durlston even if there is not much else around

Back on home turf at Swineham this evening, however, I was free to mooch around at duffer's pace. In doing so I felt vindicated when my leisurely circuit coincided with that of two Marsh Harriers, one really close to the path at the end of the pits.

Marsh Harrier at Swineham

A few Avocet at the mouth of the River Frome hinted at the change of season, but apart from a large flock of Long-tailed Tits it was a pretty quiet evening. A promising looking muddy pool left over from the heavy rainfall in July is drying out fast - a shame as I reckon I have seen 9 species of wader there in the last few weeks (Wood, Green and Common Sand, LRP, Redshank, Greenshank, Blackwit, Lapwing and Snipe) and missed a couple more whilst on holiday (Spotshank and Ruff). Fortunately, some autumn rainfall should soon be along to top it up.

Long-tailed Tit at Swineham

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