This blog is about my birding exploits, which mainly take place in the Weymouth/Portland area, in Dorset. Will also include stuff from elsewhere, plus some other critters too. Hope you enjoy. All photographs are © Brett Spencer, unless indicated otherwise. The above image is of a Siberian Rubythroat, taken in Holland in 2016.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

DEFRA and Buzzards

Well, you think you've heard it all, then something else comes along to make you mad. DEFRA want to cull Buzzards because of their impact on Pheasant shoots. Well, boo hoo for you rich spoilt aristocracy. There is still more than enough pheasants out there for you idiots to shoot. Pheasants, I might add, that are a non native species that you release just for your sport and that's all it is, is sport. If it were for food, well, you can bloody well farm them, can't you! As for Buzzards, they are a native species that have recovered from the dark days of DDT pesticide use and now have the threat from idiots like you at DEFRA, who now want to cull them because of some rich toffs say so. I know, let's cull the rich toffs and people who work for DEFRA and bathe in their blood. After all, Buzzards have more of a right to live than you flipping idiots. Also, DEFRA's stance doesn't send a very good message, with raptors being increasingly persecuted because of ill founded beliefs.

REVOLUTION,  REVOLUTION,  REVOLUTION!!!

Humans are a virus, the only cure is extinction!


On a lighter note.

Here is a better appalling record shot of the Black-winged Stilt at Abbotsbury, taken on Saturday.

The Fleet Vs Portland Update

The Fleet = 46 points, with Montagu's Harrier adding to the score.

Portland = 27 points, with Montagu's Harrier and Golden Oriole adding to the score.

Now, this is becoming a habit, Portland sharing The Fleet's birds. It's not on! Not on I tell ya!

Friday, 25 May 2012

A Bit Of A Rare Bird Fest

After work, on Tuesday 22nd May, I cracked and decided to twitch the Cream-coloured Courser in Herefordshire. I picked up Luke on the way and we were off. Three and a half hours later we arrived. As the amount of light was against us, it was a particularly stressful jog to get to where the bird was. Luckily it was being watched and we got our first views.


Can you see it?

 Well, we weren't happy with views like that, so we went to work to get much better views.


And this was as good as it got. Stunning!
Not only was it a stunningly beautiful bird, but the setting it was in was breathtaking, with wonderful 360 degree views over the gorgeous surrounding countryside. Didn't get back home till 01.30 hours the next morning, then it was up at 05.00 hours to get ready for work and another 10 hour shift. Was it worth it?  Too bloody right it was!


After work the next day, it was off down to Radipole Lake where.....


This Great Reed Warbler was advertising his presence.
Coincidentally, this bird was in the same area of reedbed as the last Great Reed Warbler 10 years ago.




Thursday was a busy day for rare birds locally, so another casual dash after work had me making my way to Abbotsbury, thanks to a text from Steve.


This is probably the worst photo you'll ever see of a Black-winged Stilt. But it's a record shot at least. I don't know, you wait for one of these on The Fleet for years, then two arrive in two months. Amazing!


Not content with seeing one, the draw of another Black-winged Stilt, on Lodmoor, was too much to resist.


Still a crap record shot, but better than the last, you'll have to admit.


Also on Lodmoor was this......


Stunningly rosy Roseate Tern.



Just Gorgeous!


The Fleet Vs Portland Update


Let's check up on the scores, after an amazing few days locally.


The Fleet = 45 points, with Golden Oriole, Black-winged Stilt and Blue-headed Wagtail adding to the score.


Portland = 26 points, with 3 Golden Orioles and singles of Woodchat Shrike, Icterine Warbler, Common Rosefinch and Blue-headed Wagtail adding to the score. The 4 White Storks are not added to the score, as they are presumed to be 4 of the 5 that had already occurred. No double scoring in this game.


And finally. Photos of a Swift, that I took the other day at Radipole Lake.




Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Of Courser, I Just Had To Go



More on this stunning Cream-coloured Courser when I get time. Off to see Great Reed Warbler now.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Ferrybridge

What the hell is going on at Ferrybridge?  Who the hell is responsible for this?



These posts are part of a boardwalk that is being constructed. What I want to know is, how the hell they got the planning for this on a Site of Special Scientific Interest, a Special Protection Area and a RAMSAR site. As you can see, it goes across the mudflats, that are regularly used by waders and Brent Geese. Yet not too far away, this could have been constructed.......

Here. Where the line of boulders is.

I'm told an environmental impact assessment was done. Obviously, this was done by somebody with no local knowledge, no knowledge  of birds, who has a degree in building Lego I expect and was probably getting paid £150 a day. And here is where the problem lies. The people responsible for this are a bunch of educated idiots, with no common sense. It was passed by Natural England, a corrupt government organisation and the area is going to be overseen by Dorset Wildlife Trust. These organisations should know better, but are run by a load of people in suits who don't know anything. And that's the problem with a lot of people employed in environmental rolls. They're mostly university graduates who think they know everything and are so patronising to people like myself who've only been observing wildlife for 30 odd years and have gained an understanding of some of their requirements. You can't talk to, or reason with these people. In their eyes, you're a nobody, with no professional qualifications and not employed in the field of the environment, so what would you know. Well, there's only one word I can think of when it comes to the people responsible for this travesty at Ferrybridge and I'm not gonna print what I'm thinking.

I blame the bloody Olympics personally.

Oh yeah, that lovely area which is a disused army camp, where Barn Owls breed and is alive with House Sparrows, is probably going to be built on. A retirement village apparently. For god's sake, leave the place alone. 

On a more positive note.

The RSPB are going to be looking after the Little Terns at Ferrybridge again and I think they've done a good job here up to now. Long may it continue and best of luck with this season.

The Fleet Vs Portland Update

The Fleet = 38 points, with Red-rumped Swallow adding to the score.

Portland = 19 points

Saturday, 19 May 2012

A Bit Of A Catch Up

Haven't really seen much of late, so thought I'd bore you with some pics.

A few pics from The Fleet.

A handsome male House Sparrow. The area around the disused army camp at Littlesea is alive with this species. Their calls always lifts my spirits. They always sound quite cheerful I think.

A Spotted Flycatcher. Has been a good spring for this species at Littlesea.
A pair of Green Woodpeckers feeding on ants together at Moonfleet.

Now some stuff from Lodmoor.

Swift.
A Cuckoo flying over.

Now a few waders.

Greenshank.

Female Little Ringed Plover.

Female Ruff.

 Now some cute stuff, for the girls out there.

A female Canada Goose with her offspring.

Baby Mute Swan taking a ride on it's mother. CUTE!

How cute is this baby Mute Swan?

Now for some terns.

A 1st-summer Common Tern.

Here it is again, showing the spread wing pattern.
                                     
                                    Common Terns




                                                           
                                          Arctic Tern





This bird has been summering and even attempting to interbreed with Common Tern since 2008 at least, though, may have been overlooked prior to this and may have been returning since 2002.


Here he is again, above the Common Tern colony.

The Fleet Vs Portland Update.

The Fleet = 37 points.

Portland = 19 points, with Western Subalpine Warbler, Golden Oriole and Serin adding to their score.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Always Carry Your Binoculars, Especially Where Fleet Ticks Are Concerned

Didn't intend to do any birding today, as I had my mother visiting. So, whilst my wife Karen sorted out the house a little, I was given dog walking duty. Now, sometimes I take some bins with me and sometimes I don't. On this occasion I didn't. So, as I'm walking down the road, on the very boundary of The Fleet recording area, what should I happen to look up and see? Not 1, but a group of 5, yes 5White Storks. I could, in hindsight, have taken a record shot with my mobile phone, but my first instinct was to get the news out. The next person to see them was my wife, who watched them from the bedroom window. She's now seen 6 White Storks from the house. How annoying is that, one of the best birds seen from my house and I have yet to see one of these beasts from there, grrrr. I then got a call from Paul to say he had connected with them and despite me searching for them after he called, I soon learned that the beastly things then decided to pay Portland a visit. Still, a Fleet tick for me and an especially satisfying one too, as the last and only White Storks I had found previously on The Fleet, 2 together in 1990, had escaped from Whipsnade Zoo, so were uncountable. These, of course had arrived elsewhere in the country and have been extremely mobile subsequently and have been seen to be unringed. Also, they seem to have coincided with a bit of an influx of this species into the country, so no doubt about these birds credentials in my mind.


Check out a pic of 3 of the White Storks here. There you go, I'm even giving the Portland Bird Observatory some free advertising. How good is that?




The Fleet Vs Portland Update


The Fleet = 37 points, with Kentish Plover and 5 White Storks adding to the score.


Portland = 16 points, with the 5 White Storks that they stole from, I mean shared with us, adding to the score.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Sprinkling Of Migrants

Nothing untoward the last couple of days on The Fleet at Littlesea. Migrants today included a Hobby, several Yellow Wagtails, a few of each of Spotted Flycatchers and Whinchats, a couple each of Redstarts and Sedge Warblers, a Garden Warbler and a Redpoll. The latter was a flyover and it's call seemed deeper to me, so possibly a Mealy?  Whatever, still just a flipping Redpoll to me. Seemed to be lots of Whitethroats today as well. Saw 1 of the resident Barn Owls yesterday morning as well.

My first Spotted Flycatcher of the year, yesterday.

A Spotted Flycatcher in more typical habitat.

Terrible record shot of today's Hobby.

Male Wheatear.

Female Wheatear.

Female Whinchat.

A rather dull Willow Warbler.

A 1st-summer male Yellow Wagtail. Note the moult contrast in the greater coverts.

This Bar-tailed Godwit looked a bit out of place in this field.

 And finally.

A Little Egret.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

An Evening Update, Spoken In True Kentish Fashion

The Fleet came up trumps again today, with a Kentish Plover found at Ferrybridge.

The female Kentish Plover.

Hoopoe Hooray

Ready to go out birding at first light today with me mate Richard, who'd come down from Somerset. A text received from Luke at 05.45, sent me and Richard scurrying over to a private area on The Fleet. It didn't take too long before we located the Hoopoe. Pinning it down though, took almost 2 hours, because of the undulating terrain and also, it was very flighty.

Oh crap, there it goes.

Bugger, there it goes again.

At last!

Ah, now that's better. I do love Hoopoes. It's just one of those birds you never get bored of seeing. Cheers Luke.

This Stoat was seen whilst looking for the Hoopoe.

As was this Brown Hare.

After that bit of dirty rotten twitching, albeit on patch, we headed off to Littlesea. There we noted 2 Grasshopper Warblers, 3 Tree Pipits, 2 Yellow Wagtails, 40 Wheatears, 3 Whinchats and a Short-eared Owl. The latter had initially flown off the Tidmoor Rifle Range just after they started firing extremely loud machine guns, it then headed off east.

I make no apologies for the quality of this photo, because this Short-eared Owl was a long way off.

This female Yellow Wagtail was feeding around the horses. See it? It's on the left hand side of the photo.

Next, we popped in to see Ian on Tidmoor, to see how he was getting on bird ringing. We'd timed our arrival to perfection as he had just caught this.....

A beautiful male Redstart. What a stunning creature. It was duly processed and adorned with a shiny new ring and released.

We finished off at Lodmoor, where it was immediately apparent that it was quieter than yesterday. The only thing of note was this....

Little Ringed Plover that dropped in briefly. Cheers Ken for calling us back.

The Fleet Vs Portland update.

The Fleet = 31 points. The following birds added to the score were Iceland Gull, 2 Hoopoes, Serin and Honey Buzzard. The Serin was seen over Cloud's Hill and Abbotsbury Beach today and the Honey Buzzard flew over Tidmoor heading up The Fleet, also today.

Portland = 11 points. Serin added to the score.

Now, it seems like The Fleet is way out in front at the moment. Don't be fooled, me thinks that Portland is gonna be turning up something really good soon. That would definitely see the gap shrink. I do hope nobody is taking this too seriously. If you are, GET  A  LIFE!!!