The Portland Naturalist

The Portland Naturalist

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

On the (Cross)bill

For the rest of the week, I shall be working in Weymouth.  A bit of a pain in terms of travelling (I'm attempting to cycle it - exhausting doing Fortuneswell hill!), but it means that I may be able to visit Ferrybridge and the Weymouth RSPB reserves on the way there and back, depending on the time. 

Today, I stopped off at Ferrybridge first, where I bumped into Pete Saunders, the Portland photographer general!  He hadn't seen much, and neither did I, apart from a few Mediterranean Gull and 6 Dunlin.  Then, as I was continuing my journey just over the bridge itself, a single Sanderling flew over the road, towards the mudflats.

On arrival in Weymouth I noticed I still had plenty of time, so I decided to do the quick Radipole trail, up to the Buddleiha Loop and back.  No sign of the Hooded Merganser (isn't it time it was given a name?), but no doubt it was still around somewhere.  This juvenile Reed Warbler showed well (phone-bined shot!).

I continued round the Buddleiha Loop, stopping to get brilliant views of a couple of juvenile Bearded Tits which were feeding in the reeds right next to the path.  I attempted to get a shot of them, but failed miserably!  Not quite in the same league I realise, but this rather scruffy Coot was more confiding (only the best for this blog ;-).
At the viewpoint, I failed to find the Red-crested Pochard of recently (though I didn't have the time nor the optics to do a proper search, so it could well still be about), but did see a Common Sandpiper and a few normal Pochard.  I hadn't been here for a few years, and I was really impressed with the quality of the place.  Love the new viewing platforms!

Whilst on my round at Wyke Regis, I had the fortune to hear a small flock of Crossbill flying over south.  I couldn't locate them, but I was hoping they may have got picked up at Ferrybridge or Portland, as I assume that's where they were heading, but apparently not.
On the way home past Ferrybridge, I noticed a Whimbrel on the far side, attempting to avoid the holidaymakers.  There has been one reported there for several days.  The same bird? 

I couldn't help noticing the great success Joe Stockwell had with Lulworth Skippers the other day, so decided the area behind the Pulpit Inn would be my afternoon excursion. 

On the way, I made the customary flying visit to the obs moth traps.  Not a great deal notable in there (though a lot had no doubt got away since this morning), but there was a Herald, as well as the impossible to pronounce Ptocheuusa paupella.

Plus, I took the oppurtunity to (poorly) photograph Kent Black Arches, which appear to be pretty common here.
 The grassland of the base of Bill Hill was alive with butterflies, as you would expect on a day like this.  I initially had a little trouble locating my quarry.  But eventually I got my eye in, and I think I got used to picking out the Lulworth Skippers, mostly by their smaller size (even compared to Small/Essex).  Photographing them was a real pain, particularly due to their habit of landing amongst tall grass.  Not only is it a struggle to get into position, but you've then got the problem of grass stems causing shadows!  In the end, even my best shot had this.  Never mind, I'll settle for it.  Beautiful insects!

On the way back over the Top Fields, I found the new plant of Scented Mayweed.  They really do smell lovely!

Back to Weymouth tomorrow, and maybe a Garganey at Radipole?  Would be nice.

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