20th – 23rd August – Three visits to Durlston and one to Weymouth and the pub.   1 comment

Ringing at Durlston on the 20th was very successful, not only was it the best day of the year so far for numbers with 120 ringed, but we had an interesting mix of species. Single Redstart, Spotted Flycatcher and nine Garden Warblers were good enough, but these were eclipsed by the eight Pied Flycatchers we caught. We had no Pied Flys in 2011 but with the three Shaun ringed on the 19th, we have had eleven in two days. We would have probably had more had the wind not increased during the morning.

A first year Pied Flycatcher. The ruffled feathers are due to the stiff breeze that arose during the morning.

L-R: Redstart, Spotted Flycatcher and Pied Flycatcher.

The ‘Catching The Bug’ saga continues as Mark and Mo Constantine brought Around van den Berg, Cecilia Bosman, Killian Mullarney and Magnus Robb back from the Bird Fair to Poole. A pub visit was hastily convened and 15 of us met for a drink on the evening of the 20th. Inevitably the book was the main subject of conversation and we had a good few laughs as a result.

Five of the fifteen birders at the pub, L-R: Arnoud van den Berg, Cecilia Bosman, Richard Webb, Killian Mullarney, Mark Constantine.

Going out to the pub and enjoying a few beers is not the best idea when you have to get up at 0430 to go ringing, but somehow I managed it. Michael Gould and I had a good morning but we only caught 50 birds, less than half of yesterday’s total, however a Grasshopper Warbler, two Tree Pipits and a good number of Whitethroats. Of particular interest was a family group of four Long-tailed Tits, as juveniles of this species undergo a complete moult, both the adults and young were in full wing moult, but at different stages and the year old unmoulted primaries of the adults were highly abraded. However I was on my own by that stage and photography wasn’t practical.

Although often seen flying overhead during migration periods, Tree Pipits are only ringed in small numbers.

After a busy weekend and two early morning visits to Durlston I had a bit of a lie-in on the 22nd, but about 0930 I headed off to the Verne on the north side of Portland where a Wryneck had been seen recently. Wryneck, a migratory woodpecker, is a scarce but annual visitor to Dorset but was once a regular breeder, it was described by Yarrell in the mid-nineteenth century as ‘a common species that was kept widely as a pet by country children’. In spite of much searching it wasn’t seen again that morning however my trip to Weymouth/Portland wasn’t wasted as I obtained good views of a Woodchat Shrike at Camp Road, although I have seen this rare migrant twice already this year and hence it didn’t add to my year list, it remains a notable sighting. Five Yellow Wagtails, similar numbers of Wheatears and lots of feeding Swallows and Sand Martins provided further entertainment.

Woodchat Shrike (photo from the internet).

On the 23rd I returned to Durlston where we had a reasonable morning, similar to the 21st with 47 birds ringed. Interesting birds ringed included four Tree Pipits, several Garden Warblers and Whitethroats and a Redstart. A Lesser Whitethroat, up to four Spotted Flycatchers (which kept perching on the top string of the nets) and a Wheatear. There was a light passage of Swallows and Sand Martins. However as so often happens, I left my memory card in the computer, so no photos from today.

Back home I was pleased to see the giant eucalyptus next door is getting a serious prune. With the trimming of our big tree a few weeks ago, it means that last our garden is getting some light.

After years of having our lawn covered with fallen eucalyptus leaves and twigs, next door’s giant blue gum is getting pruned.

Posted August 23, 2012 by gryllosblog in Uncategorized

One response to “20th – 23rd August – Three visits to Durlston and one to Weymouth and the pub.

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  1. I love Durlston, it’s a truley peaceful, relaxing and beautiful place. I even created a little review on my swanage camping website to tell visitors about it so they too can experience it.(http://www.swanagecampsites.co.uk/places-to-visit/durlston-castle-walking-wildlife-and-weddings/ if your interested) The new alterations to the castle have also been a great improvement.

    Nice blog, i’ll be back to stay tuned.

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