19th May – north Dorset   Leave a comment

 

Early on Saturday evening Margaret and I went for a walk around the old disused airfield at Tarrant Rushton. Used in the D-Day invasion in 1944, the base has been decommissioned and the area has reverted to agriculture, the old hangers being used as farm buildings. There is public access are the old perimeter road and the area can be good for the rarer farmland birds like Corn Bunting and Quail.

We had no luck with Quail but did see a couple of Cuckoos, a few Corn Buntings and best of all saw a Barn Owl fly out of one of the disused Nissan huts.

 

 

This memorial is to all those who served at the Tarrant Rushton airfield

 

Old hangers and Nissan huts contain agricultural stores …..

 

 

… or have been converted into a wood chipping factory.

 

A couple of primaries are missing on the left wing of this Barn Owl, however they don’t undergo a full moult until late summer so the feather has probably been lost accidentally.

 

 

On the other hand, body and wing covert moult goes on all year, so these pale patches on the coverts are probably due to the pale bases of underlying feathers showing during the moult process.

 

 

We continued on to Lydlinch Common near Sturminster Newton and arrived just before dark. Our timing was perfect as a Nightingale started singing soon after we arrived and was still going strong when we left 30 minutes later at 2100. The bird was singing so close that its song was almost deafening but they can be so skulky that all I saw was a brief glimpse. The song of the Nightingale is one of the most complex and richest, not only in the UK, but in the entire world. A link to recordings on Xeno-Canto is included below.

http://www.xeno-canto.org/europe/browse.php?query=Common+Nightingale+%28Luscinia+megarhynchos%29+130&species_nr=jkzown

 

 

Posted May 22, 2012 by gryllosblog in Uncategorized

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