Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Lead us not into...

temptation, so says the Lords' prayer or the 80's track by Heaven 17 dependent upon your leaning however some birds are just too tempting to resist! The news of a Ross's Gull around Weymouth happily coincided with Mrs Leveller needing to pay a visit to relatives in Bournemouth so needless to say an early start was called for on Sunday (25th) to enable me to get a little piece of larid heaven.
Dropping in at Lodmoor first thing proved a wise move as the bird was there from 7.20 to 7.50 before flying out to sea, given the runaround it has been giving some observers this was a touch of luck. It gave cracking views on the west scrape but was quite flighty, always graceful with long wings and wedge shaped tail, before moving off. My own images are shamefully poor so big thanks to Paul Chapman for allowing me to use a few of his images from yesterday when the bird was at Radipole.
A Marsh Harrier and a few Meds were the best of the rest at Lodmoor so I pootled off to Radipole where the bird was not present, and, rather than stand around in the bitterly cold weather I decided to head off to Ferrybridge where the bird had been found earlier in the week. No birders at Ferrybridge but the Ross's was sitting out on the mud preening so I pinged the birds presence to RBA and then settled down for about ten minutes of the bird to myself. Eventually other birders arrived and the gull decided it didn't fancy being looked at and flew off over Chesil beach at about 8.50.
Heading back to Bournemouth to do the family thing you may be surprised to learn that I now discovered the long staying Stilt Sandpiper I had first seen last October was only ten minutes from the brother in laws! A quick visit seemed very reasonable to me and the bird was performing in exemplary fashion, enabling me to get a few digiscoped images, along with a single Spotted Redshank.
Needless to say that was not the end of the birdfest since after visiting had been concluded we had to speed off to High Wycombe to collect youngest leveller and enjoy some cracking Red Kite action.
Meanwhile out on the levels things have been pretty subdued of late, the Hen Harrier has been very hit and miss with my last sighting over Manxey Level on the 14th, and Shorties remain at times good and at times non-existent. On the 15th I watched a Shorty at Lookers hunting for around 45 minutes during which time it managed to catch and eat a single Vole, however I have not seen any in the past few days...
WEBS and SWBS surveys were done on the 18th with the best birds being a single Water Pipit on Down, and the Lesser and Greater Black-backs pictured above. One of the highlights for me on the 18th was hearing Skylarks and Reed Buntings singing again, and watching a pair of the local Buzzards displaying, the male closing his wings and plunging groundwards, a sure sign that spring is on the way. A brief walk this evening (27th) near Lookers produced the local Buzzards and a couple of Snipe but little else of note.
Finally to another away day on the 11th when Al persuaded me to finally go and see the Horned Lark at Staines. Oh Happy Days! Staines causeway in winter BRRRRR! Fortunately the girl was present and showed well whilst we were on site, along with a drake Scaup and a sp Black-necked Grebe. All in all not a bad February on the birding front, Stay safe.

No comments:

Post a Comment