Tuesday 20th December – Woolgarston, East Holme and Lyme Regis   Leave a comment

I was invited to fellow ringer Mike Gould to help with ringing some Redwing and Fieldfare that were visiting his parent’s garden in Woolsgarston near Corfe Castle. I had expected a standard suburban garden not a small estate. There certainly were plenty of thrushes of five species visiting the garden, but only a single Blackbird and Song Thrush came low enough to be trapped. We ringed about 20 of the standard fare of Goldfinches, Robins, Dunnocks and tits.

Plenty of birds visit this most extensive garden.

Standard fare - a Dunnock

Mike's parents keep captive waterfowl like these Mandarins....

.... and these Emperor Geese, a bird from arctic Alaska and eastern Siberia

On the way back I had a look around the Froome valley watermeadows in the hope of finding a Bewick’s Swan. No luck there but I was delighted to find a Cattle Egret with a couple of Little Egrets in the East Holme watermeadows seen from ‘High Tor’ on the Wareham to Wool road.

East Holme area seen from the Wareham to Wool road.

A record digiscoping shot of the Cattle Egret.

Whilst I was in Ethiopia there was a Spotted Sandpiper seen at Lyme Regis, the most westerly point of Dorset. Spotted Sandpiper is the North American equivalent of our Common Sandpiper and a rare vagrant to the UK. Although I had seen this species seven times before in the UK, I have never seen it in Dorset. Having accepted that it hed been and gone whilst I was away, I was delighted when Kevin phoned at lunchtime to say it had reappeared. The journey was hindered by many slow lorries and as I had to be back by four for an appointment, the whole thing was a bit rushed, however in spite of poor light the Spot Sand showed well along with about 15 Purple Sandpipers.


The Cobb, Lyme Regis' famous breakwater immortalised in the film 'the French Lieutenant's woman'.

Spotted Sandpiper can told from the similar Common Sandpiper by its yellower legs, shorter tail and differences in the barring on the wing coverts. Unfortunately the spots only appear in summer plumage.

This is the 8th time I have seen this species in the UK but the first time in Dorset.

The Cobb is probably the best site in Dorset for Purple Sandpipers

In winter Purple Sandpipers specialise in wave washed rocky shores, groynes and breakwaters.

Posted December 20, 2011 by gryllosblog in Uncategorized

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