18th – 19th November – another transatlantic visitor to Dorset.   Leave a comment

No, this time it wasn’t a wader or a duck. The visitor from the New World was friend and fellow ringer Patty, who lives in Connecticut.

Patty and I met on the Remote Papua New Guinea tour in July 2012 and have remained in touch ever since. After a number of changes of plan due to events back home, Patty finally arrived last week, first visiting friends in London, then coming to Dorset before heading up to see others in Grantham.


Patty (L) on a small boat to the island of Tong in the Admiralty Islands north of New Guinea July 2012, with Eric from Sweden (R) and a french lady who wished to remain anonymous.


On the 18th I took Patty around Poole Harbour, showing her our ringing sites at Fleets Lane, before birding at Holes Bay, Sandbanks and Studland.



Of course Sanderling, seen here at Sandbanks, are a familiar migrant on both sides of the Atlantic ….



… but the same can’t be said for the almost exclusively Old World Bar-tailed Godwits



After a good look at Brands Bay and Studland Bay (Patty even got to see an American Surf Scoter here in Dorset) we moved on to Durlston, but there were few birds on show.



A tall sailing ship off Durlston. From here we went to Middlbere. It was almost dark when we arrived and we found that the big flocks of waders seen earlier in the day had departed on the tide. That evening, along with Margaret, Janis, Amber and Kara we went over to John and Anita’s in Bournemouth for a meal.



On the morning of the 19th, trainee ringer Carol and I paid our weekly visit to Holton Lee and Patty was able to handle some of the birds, after we had processed them. I have never seen someone get so excited about holding a Blue Tit or a Dunnock before. Here Patty holds a retrap Nuthatch that was first ringed in 2012.


Later, joined now by Margaret, we went to the revamped visitor centre at Ferrybridge for lunch. The large windows that once gave a view of the Fleet from the warmth of the centre are now gone, the centre seems to have been redesigned with eating rather than wildlife viewing as the priority. Margaret and Patty are at the top of Portland with Fortuneswell, Ferrybridge and the Fleet and Weymouth in the background.



Although the skies were clear there was a bitter NW wind blowing, so our visit to Portland Bill was rather brief and pretty birdless.



We ended the day at the visitor centre at Radipole where we could watch the flocks of Mediterranean Gulls flying from the Fleet to Weymouth Bay to roost. Once a scarce visitor to Dorset, this winter has seen numbers on the Fleet rise to over a 1000 for the first time and we must have seen over 400  during the day.



I had planned for us to meet up with the other local birders in the Blue Boar that evening but an England vs Germany football match took precedence for most, so the three of us went to the King Charles on Poole Quay, where this folk band were playing of all things ‘Willy and the Poor Boys’ by Creedence Clearwater Revival, not your traditional English folk tune.


We hope Patty has a great time during the rest of her UK visit and we hope that we will meet up again next year, either in the UK or in the USA.

I am off on my travels again later today, so this will be the last blog post for a while.

Posted November 22, 2013 by gryllosblog in Uncategorized

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