27th – 31st January – Wyke Down and a most enjoyable evening.   Leave a comment

The Hoopoe story I reported in the last post has caused some hilarity among some Dorset birders, especially those around Weymouth who have a far better chance than us of seeing a Hoopoe.

This spoof article was written by Daragh who birds on Lodmoor. The reference to a Swanage woman is about Phyl England who proudly had a Waxwing eating her apples.

Dorset Echo Thursday:
As 4 twitchers flocked from as far away as 2 miles to see a rare Hoopoebird in Hamworthy, the feathered vagrant became embroiled in a major row.
Photographs of the Hoopoebird appeared on the day the Prime Minister announced plans for a referendum on British membership of the Single Market.
But UKIP leader Nigel Farage said the Hoopoebird’s presence demonstrated how the British people were being conned.
“Immigration tell us our borders are secure. And yet I have evidence that this bird has probably been here for months without anyone knowing. It is not British and has sneaked over from Continental Europe to take advantage of our lawns.
“The real scandal is that it has been here undetected for so long, lurking in an area where children play and pensioners walk the streets alone.
“And Dorset birders had no idea it was here. In fact, when the alarm was raised by a patriotic resident some birders dismissed her claim by pretending it was actually a good old British Jay. 
“What’s more I have evidence that more foreign invaders, in the form of Waxwings, have come over here without any immigration checks. These are particularly sinister because they often prey on neighbourhoods in gangs.
“Dorset birders say they know all about these birds but the fact is they don’t really have any idea how many of these illegal immigrants are in the county and where they are going to turn up next.
“These birds pay no taxes and eat our berries. I’ve even heard a heart breaking story of a Swanage woman having her apples stolen by these vicious foreigners.”
And this reply was posted by Langton Matravers birder Steve Smith:
When asked for his comment Prime Minister Cameron said that the British people would be asked in a referendum whether they want to allow these birds to come to Britain. He will be proposing to introduce strict quotas for the European Redwings and Fieldfares as well, some of which have stayed beyond their 6 month visas and have raised families in the UK
After the excitement of finally connecting with the Hoopoe, Margaret and I reverted to our original plan of birding in the Sixpenny Handley area in north Dorset. First we stopped at the River Stour bridge at Wimborne where the resident Red-crested Pochard showed well. The road from Wimborne St Giles to Wyke Down had been closed due to flooding and although the road was now very muddy and wet in places we got through without difficulty.
Although the temperature was much higher than a week earlier, there was a strong wind and it felt pretty cold hanging around. The Great Grey Shrike that had been seen earlier wasn’t showing, but we did see a Short-eared Owl and a Barn Owl. As it grew dark we headed back towards Wimborne St Giles where two Barn Owls put on an excellent show over a meadow and even allowed some photos.
This Red-crested Pochard has been in the Wimborne area for several years now and is almost certainly of feral origin.
IMG_3943-Barn-Owl IMG_3950-Barn-Owl
Three views of the Barn Owls near Wimborne St Giles
With high winds all week there has been no chance to go ringing. Much of the rest of the week has been spent preparing for my trip to Colombia at the weekend, however we went to an excellent talk on Wednesday night. Martin Garner who runs the Birding Fronteirs website spoke about some of the birding events that have inspired him during 2012 and showed that even with well-known species there is still much to learn, be it behaviour or identification features. He decried the widespread criticism of birders abilities by other birders and said his mission was to inspire everyone to be the best birder they could possibly be. Norwegian birder Tormod Armundson gave a presentation on his new home in the Varangerfjord area of extreme northern Norway. As well as showing some excellent bird photos he also explained how he is trying to make the area ‘birder friendly’ and bring more birders and hence more business to the area, something that was treated with incredulity by the locals, but is now welcomed with open arms.
Mark and Mo made the Lush offices in Poole available for the talk, we had an audience of over 50, possibly a record for a Bird Club meeting.
Tormod shows a photo of Vadso in far northern Norway at night. When I visited this area in June 1988 there was of course 24 hour daylight.
Many of us retired to the Blue Boar for a drink. L-R Nick Hopper, Simon Emerson, Martin Garner, Mo and Mark Constantine, Magnus Robb and Tormod Armundson, an eclectic mix of birders, musicians and entrepreneurs.
Unfortunately for reasons that are beyond me, WordPress is prevently me from adding captions to the photos in the normal manner. Hopefully it will be rctified by the time I get back from South America.

Posted January 31, 2013 by gryllosblog in Uncategorized

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