Tuesday 7 January 2014

The wet patch

Well I'm trying, but patch birding is just not happening this year so far: it started well enough as I managed a quick canter around on 2nd Jan, and while I don't really yearlist I netted a half-century of species. (If birding were cricket, that would be enough to get me in the England team at the moment. I still can't do overarm since breaking a collarbone but I reckon I would probably make it into the bowling attack too). But by the 4th the main footpath to Swineham was impassable, even with wellies.
A good excuse, then, to neglect it for slightly higher and drier ground. The harbours of Dorset and Devon are enjoying a purple patch with six species of auk, five species of grebe, four species of diver and three species of scoter viewable in recent weeks between Brixham, Portland and Poole. With only a brief weather window forecast on Sunday morning I headed for Portland:
This Great Northern Diver was plucking up crabs just yards from the shore at Hamm Beach
Great Northern Diver preening and showing the webbed feet
And here trying to swallow that crab.

A Black-throated Diver was further out but still a good view of this species
Female Eider, also off Hamm Beach

Razorbills were also fishing close to the shore...
...as was this Shag...
...while a small flock of Turnstone fed on the shingle
Back in Weymouth, a lingering Glossy Ibis was still present.
Buy any wildlife photography book and it will tell you not just to shoot close-ups but to depict a bird in its natural habitat. So here goes: prime Glossy Ibis habitat, Radipole Park Drive. Back of the net!
And no visit to Weymouth would be complete without a twirl around the Radipole Lake car park to check the gull roost. This smart Med Gull was the highlight on Sunday.

Not just the weather that was rough in Weymouth this weekend: this Shag was hanging around industrial buildings drinking lager and hurling insults at passers-by

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