Saturday 6 October 2012

Purple, but not on the patch

Most of the trans-Atlantic vagrants are hitting the west coast of Ireland at the moment like bugs on a windscreen, and not getting any further. So a visitor from the continent, in the form of a Purple Heron at Weymouth's Radipole Lake, offered the prospect of a Dorset tick today. The bird was seen shortly before noon so we had a spot of lunch and set off, arriving at the Swannery car park just before 1400. The family went shopping, and I hit the reserve only to find that there was some aimless milling about going on, and different versions of where and when the Heron was last seen: the tell-tale signs of a dip waiting to happen.

Med Gulls often loaf in the car park at Radipole Lake
I joined the aimless milling about, and, having a short attention span, stopped looking for the Heron briefly to photograph a Cetti's Warbler cussing at me from a hedgerow.

Radipole Lake: best place in Britain to see Cetti's Warbler?
A couple of my friends have asked recently, 'does your wife read your blog?', concerned, I think, that I had revealed just a bit too much about some manipulative behaviour or other deployed to get out birding. So just to reassure them, the manipulation cuts both ways: knowing that I was pretty keen to see the Purple Heron, I got a phone call from my ever-tolerant wife after about an hour asking if I would mind if she bought an expensive dress. What could I say?

The Purple Heron as it banked over the Buddleia Loop
As it happens, I had already seen the bird by this point - a lumbering dark shape out of the corner of my eye at first, easily identifiable despite flying in the opposite direction. Fortunately the Heron then banked in the air and flew parallel to me long enough for a few record shots to be taken.

The bird looked larger and darker than the local Grey Herons
 After another distant but extended flight view, it dropped out of view and was not seen again until dusk. By which point THAT dress was being flaunted in Poole on a girl's night out. I, on the other hand, was at home washing up, babysitting (or 'parenting' to give it its proper name) and re-stocking the brownie point jar ready for when those Belted Kingfishers and Myrtle Warblers decide they have had enough of Galway...
About to be lost from view...

1 comment:

  1. Purple heron photo's are just great
    I too recently got few snap of this lovely bird
    You can check this photo on my blog