May 12th – Durlston and Keyhaven / Pennington marshes   Leave a comment

We had another ringing attempt at Durlston, with six of present we decided to ring at both sites. I was lucky and went to the best area, the goat plots which was sheltered from the cold northerly breeze. We trapped 19 birds whereas Shaun and Bob in the garden, only caught five (although that did include a Carrion Crow and Garden Warbler). Our best birds were a Redstart, Spotted Fly and a Green Woodpecker.

One of the last migrants to arrive in spring. We only trapped one Spotted Flycatcher last year.

This Green Woodpecker was caught with its bill was stuffed with ant larvae. The red in the moustachial stripe identifies it as a male.

This model Pliosaur contains a little cinema and is touring the area to promote the Jurrasic Coast. I never knew they were bright blue with yellow eyes.

By the time we left at around 1030 it had turned into a warm and sunny spring day, quite unlike  the conditions early on. Back home I heard of a Woodchat Shrike at Keyhaven but I was so tired after my 0430 start that I couldn’t face the hour-long drive in traffic. After forty winks and some supper I finally left for Keyhaven at about 1800 and saw the bird distantly from the car park. Woodchats are annual overshoots from the Mediterranean to Dorset and Hampshire but most records are in the spring. I’m glad I made the effort for this one.

This is a a digiscoped image of the Woodchat (the pale dot on the left of the bush) which just shows how distant it was.

A much closer and sharper picture of a male Woodchat Shrike. Photo from the internet.

I met an old acquaintance there, Ron King, who I have known since the late seventies. Recovering from heart surgery, he is still a keen twitcher, indeed he had just returned that day from East Anglia after twitching an apparent Pacific Swift that wasn’t. He told me of a Wood Sandpiper that he had seen the day before at nearby Pennington marshes so I quickly drove around and although the light was fading, had good scope views of my second year tick of the evening.

Ron King aka. ‘Chunky’

A digiscoped shot of the Wood Sandpiper. Wood Sands are only encountered on migration and are much commoner in autumn than spring.

There were many birds around, singing Whitethroats, screaming Swifts, a few Bar-tailed Godwits and Whimbrel overhead and best of all a Short-eared Owl over one of the wet fields.

Late evening at Pennington

This Short-eared Owl flew off whilst I struggling to get my camera on the tripod!

Amber was staying with us, as Janis and Andy were away for the weekend (Kara was staying with friends), I was back at 2100 to find Margaret and Amber engrossed in a program about a competition to turn celebrities into operatic conductors.

Posted May 14, 2012 by gryllosblog in Uncategorized

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