Archive for October 2011

Wednesday 19th October – Stanpit, Christchurch.   Leave a comment

Much of the day was taken up with dealing with my faulty PC, eventually diagnosed as a defunct hard drive.

I did manage a mid morning trip to Stanpit to see a Red-breasted Goose. Although this species probably occurs annually in the UK, this is a very rare vagrant to Dorset and some previous records may have involved escapes from captivity. Being a first year bird and arriving with Dark-bellied Brent Geese from their shared breeding grounds on the Taimyr Peninsula, this bird fulfills all the criteria for a wild bird.

This is a rare goose in world terms with a global population of under 40,000. The majority fly south from the Taimyr to a staging post on the Caspian Sea before heading to the Black Sea coasts of Romania and Bulgaria.

Wintering Red-breasted Geese - Bulgaria. Photo from the internet.


Red-breasted Goose, Stanpit


Red-breasted Goose - Stanpit


Also on show was a Dartford Warbler on Crouch Hill, whilst a Peregrine put all the waders to flight.

Dartford Warbler - Stanpit. Severely depleted after last winter, Dartford Warbler numbers may be increasing after this years warm, dry spring.


Peregrine - Stanpit


Posted October 21, 2011 by gryllosblog in Uncategorized

Wednesday 19th October   1 comment

I am having problems with my PC.  I have a new laptop which I am sending this message from but don’t think I have any photo editing softwear available on it as yet.

Apologies if blog postings are erratic or absent until I get the problem with my PC fixed.


Posted October 19, 2011 by gryllosblog in Uncategorized

Tuesday 18th October – Accommodate.   Leave a comment

As I have no birding or ringing news from today I thought I would publish a poem written by our grand-daughter Amber. She was 13 when she wrote this entirely of her own accord!


Accommodate the poor.

Comfort the lonely.

Confront the evil.

On the way to a greener world.

Memorise the blood of wars.

Memorise the victories by sharing.

Only if we could be good.

Damn us all for being greedy.

All of us have sins, so let us turn over a new leaf.

Everywhere we look it is black, but soon to be green.

Amber Jonsson, Spain June 2010 - about the time of her 13th birthday

Posted October 18, 2011 by gryllosblog in Uncategorized

Monday 17th October – Durlston   Leave a comment

Back to ringing at Durlston, but unlike Saturday, today was cold with an increasing wind so we had to pack in by 1000 with only some 20 birds ringed. They did, however include our first Reed Bunting at the park and another Sparrowhawk.

Rain held off but the skies remained threatening.


Mindful of its talons, Kevin gingerly applies the ring to this male Sparrowhawk


A first year male Sparrowhawk..... the size with this female Sparrowhawk trapped on Saturday


The ginger fringing to the coverts confirm it is a first year...


... Saturday's female shows unmoulted worn inner secondaries, this together with the few reamaining ginger coverts show it was hatched in 2010. Again note the much larger size.



Some Goldfinches stopped briefly.....


.... but this flock of 32 Crossbills just kept going.

If you have already seen this via Out & About I apologise for cross posting.
And finally I received this photos from former Dorset birder James Lidster, who now lives in Holland. It shows four rare birds (in a Dutch as well as a British context) in the hand, all caught at the same time at a ringing site in Holland. I find it far more gripping than any recent UK bird news !

L-R: Red-flanked Bluetail, Penduline Tit, Little Bunting and Yellow-browed Warbler. Holland 2011


Posted October 17, 2011 by gryllosblog in Uncategorized

Sunday 16th October – Poole and Weymouth.   Leave a comment

The plan was simple, Margaret and I would install the wireless router at home, do a little shopping, then go for a walk in the Purbecks and end up at 4pm at in Wareham where Kara was in a swimming competition.

The trouble was that the first two tasks took all day! We were just about to leave for Wareham when the news came through of a Short-toed Eagle leaving Lyme Regis and heading east.  It would probably be impossible to get to Weymouth before the bird arrived anyway, but I had to give it a try! First I had to drop Margaret at Purbeck School, then I had to wait, for not one train, but two at Wool level crossing, so I was bit stressed when I arrived at Preston beach at 4.15. Well no-one had seen the bird for certain so the panic was over.

Preston beach gives a good view of the Dorset coast as well as north Portland.

I ended up at Radipole in the hope that the Caspian Gull that Brett had seen earlier in the day would re-appear. No luck there either, so did I suffer from a bout of double-dip depression?

It was early evening by the time I got to Radipole.


Radipole gull roost


Two Med Gulls

Posted October 17, 2011 by gryllosblog in Uncategorized

Saturday 15th October – Durlston   Leave a comment

This morning was a tale of two, very unequal, halves. With five ringers arriving at Durlston it was decided that Bob and Paul would ring at the goat plots, whilst Shaun, Terry and I would do the garden.


Saturday was a wonderfully clear day, almost cloudless day.


We soon heard that little was being caught at the goat plots, whilst we were busy with Swallows and Goldfinches further up the hill. Trainee Paul was sent to the garden whilst Bob soldiered on alone. The end result, goat plots 3, garden 86!

Our biggest catch was Swallows with the odd House Martin. There was plenty of vis mig with many hundred Goldfinches, plus good numbers of Pied Wagtails, Skylarks, Redpoll and Linnet overhead.


Swallows and martins love to perch on the top of a mist net.


First year Swallow. I have reliably been informed that the first ones have just arrived in South Africa for the winter.


First year House Martin. Compared to Swallow, very little is known about their migration or wintering grounds.



Posted October 17, 2011 by gryllosblog in Uncategorized

Friday 14th October – The Lighthouse, Poole   Leave a comment

During the evening Margaret and I joined our friends Gio and Jessica Pietrangelo at the Lighthouse (formerly Poole Arts Centre). At Gio’s recommendation we went to see Eliza Carthy, a folk singer and musician.  See

I first heard her father, Martin Carthy sing in 1969 when the newly formed Steeleye Span played in Leeds. I remember that evening well, folk purists walking out because they played electric guitars, whilst the rest of us enjoyed a wonderful concert, well worth the two shillings (10p) admission!

I later came across the Eliza singing on the wonderful Imagined Village CDs but hadn’t realised she was part of the Waterson musical family dynasty.


The evening started with a set from her cousins, Marie Waterson and Oliver Knight


In the main set Eliza played electric guitar, what looked like an electric mandolin, fiddle and accordion and was accompanied by piano and organ, cello, double bass and drums. A highly entertaining evening.

Eliza Carthy and band

Posted October 16, 2011 by gryllosblog in Uncategorized