Monday, 20 July 2015

Dorset Holiday Day 9

Sadly it rained today which left my options limited. The morning I did the moths as per and was rewarded with a new species for the holiday in the form of a very smart Ruby Tiger. I grabbed a couple of record shots, for the lack of any other moths.
-Ruby Tiger
 In the end I decided to revisit the Weymouth RSPB reserves to watch some birds! Since Radipole was right next to the train station I decided to head there first. Birds on the reserve were a little thin on the ground, but a flyby Bearded Tit was nice, and there were a few Pochard and Gadwall on the lakes.
Having said that, most of my time was spent in the reserve car park looking at the gulls… I was pretty desperate to find a YLG, especially since 3 had been reported there about half an hour prior to my searching. I was unable to locate one, or so I concluded having looked through my photos. I could never conclusively rule out YLG but had decided for one or more reasons that all the birds I had looked at considering YLG were in fact something else.
--That being until the 29th when an article appeared on Birding Frontiers with YLG in it. One of the example birds had been photographed in Dorset and was the spitting image of one of the birds I had seen. I decided to message Tim, who confirmed that it was a YLG and that he thought they were the same bird. As such I will now include the photos I took of the juvenile YLG
-Yellow Legged Gull
The fact that the bird raised my attention is a sign that I'm getting somewhere with gulls, even if it was not the right conclusion I hesitantly reached. I hasten to add that the above sequence is not necessarily of the same bird, the first two were photographed in the car park, before all the gulls flushed and I picked it up, or a similar bird, again on the nearby lake...
With that in mind, I have reason to believe that another bird I photographed at Lodmoor later in the day is also a YLG, though I did not get a clear view of the tail on this individual. There are clear faint windows in the wings that I did see, and the notching is incorrect for Herring Gull...
-Yellow Legged Gull
I think a lot more practice will be needed before I will confidently be able to do this in the field, but being able to pick out different looking birds is a good start, and I'm pretty pleased with that. (Its also a yeartick!)--

After spending so long at Radipole I decided to move on to Lodmoor. Once more there were better numbers of birds here, including a nice group of 5 summer plumaged sanderling, a couple of Greenshank, a flock of 11 Dunlin, a Black-Tailed Godwit Flock and a large group of possibly up to 50 Mediterranean Gulls. Not bad going at all.
-Black-Tailed Godwit
 That was only in the main area for birds, and I headed round to the other side of the reserve where I had not been before. Here there were no waders but a few more wildfowl, including a Gadwall, a couple of Shoveler and a few Pochards.
 As I was scanning one bird really caught my attention, namely by its very small size for a duck. I instantly realised it was a teal of some description, but when it turned I was stunned to see how defined the face was and that there were clear white marks. My immediate reaction was Garganey, but I had to spend ages watching it going through every feature before I let myself believe it. Fortunately it was a very obliging bird, feeding in the open, even doing a couple of wing stretches to put beyond all doubt. That being said, I did release the news as a female, when I was rightly corrected via twitter that it is in fact an eclipse drake. My bad!
Not gonna lie, I was buzzing after that and was a real bonus for the bird list of the holiday. It means I did actually make a contribution to the Dorset birding world during my stay…

Species List:
Radipole Lake RSPB: Herring Gull, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Mallard, Moorhen, Coot, Tufted Duck, Reed Warbler, Mute Swan, Canada Goose, Swallow, Lesser Black-Backed Gull, Black-Headed Gull, Greenfinch, Woodpigeon, Goldfinch, Feral Pigeon, House Martin, Sand Martin, Dunnock, Bearded Tit, Great Crested Grebe, Pochard, Cormorant, Gadwall, Great Black-Backed Gull, Swift,
Lodmoor RSPB: Sanderling, Dunlin, Greenshank, Common Sandpiper, Lapwing, Oystercatcher, Black-Tailed Godwit, Herring Gull, Black-Headed Gull, Mediterranean Gull, Lesser Black-Backed Gull, Mallard, Cormorant, Common Tern, Linnet, Coot, Moorhen, House Sparrow, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Canada Goose, Magpie, Swift, Starling, Great Black-Backed Gull, Avocet, Shelduck, Tufted Duck, Goldfinch, Carrion Crow, Pochard, Gadwall, Swallow, Greenfinch, Reed Warbler, Feral Pigeon, Teal, Shoveler, Little Grebe, Gargany, 

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