Longham, Portland and Mordon Park Lake   Leave a comment

On the evening on the 8thwhilst Margaret went to choir practice, I decided to go birding at Longham Lakes. An unusual race of Yellow Wagtail had been seen that morning but I didn’t expect it still to be there. On arrival I found that a group of canoeists were using the large lake and nearly all the waterbirds had moved onto the small lake. Light was fading but I managed a few photos of birds you don’t usually see in flight like Coot and Great Crested Grebe.

I’m sure they have as much right to use the lake as fisherman or birders, but these canoeists certainly disturbed the waterfowl.

You seldom see Coots flying more than a few feet above the water. Large numbers arrive in winter but I have never seen any on migration.

A poor photo in poor light but it goes does show how ungainly Great Crested Grebes can appear in flight.

Walking back along the causeway a number of Pied Wagtails flew off, presumably to roost and with them was an unusually looking Yellow Wag, presumably the bird in question.

Late on the 9th a vagrant Subalpine Warbler was found at Portland Bill (see http://www.portlandbirdobs.org.uk/) but I was meeting Margaret after work and decided to leave twitching it until tomorrow. On the 10th the weather at Portland was foggy, you couldn’t even see the sea from the Observatory and of course the fog horn blew all day. There was no sign of the Subalpine, although one person may have heard it near the Obs and another may have glimpsed it, however I had compensation in the form of a Wood Warbler that had been trapped moments before I arrived.

The largest of our Phylloscopus warblers, the Wood Warbler is regular in small numbers in ancient woodland, but is seldon seen on migration.

It was hard to see the hut fields, let alone the sea from the Observatory patio

As Martin and Pete were the only ringers, I asked if I could participate and Martin suggested I open the six double panel nets that were furled up in the fields opposite the Obs. I didn’t catch many birds, about a dozen – several of which were retraps, but the selection, Blackcap, Whitethroat, Sedge and Willow Warbler was nice. The ringing session was stopped by a sudden downpour in the early afternoon.

The Crown Estate Fields opposite the Obs are managed for birds. This crop of kale provides cover and invertabrate food for migrants.

Perhaps the plainest of UKs warblers, but Garden Warblers have a certain charm.

Sedge Warblers are usually encountered in wetland habitats but can be seen on migration in scub and low vegetation.

I spent the morning of the 11th at Sherford Bridge / Mordon Bog. Good birds included a couple of Cuckoos (the first I have seen this year), two Hobbies and a pair of Peregrines. There were plenty of Blackcaps and on Mordon Park Lake Great Crested Grebes were incubating on their floating nests. The outflow was very strong and although I tried to cross the nascent River Sherford on a stick bridge, I thought better of it half-way across and had to go the long way round.

The River Sherford is flooding the surrounding area.

Mordon Park Lake, a secluded refuge for water birds.

The outfall from the lake, was flowing at full force.

Without anything to hang onto crossing this bridge was difficult and I gave up half way across.

I heard that a Golden Oriole had been ringed at the Bill and I was sorely tempted to head there but Orioles usually move on quickly. However it was seen a couple of times afterwards and if I had gone immediately I might have seen it.

Posted May 11, 2012 by gryllosblog in Uncategorized

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