Friday 26 December 2008

Twitching Again

With a lovely sunny, albeit pretty nippy day ahead I really fancied seeing a nice new bird. Yes, Snowy Owl would have been really welcome but not today sadly. I haven't been able to completely shake off the virus that I've been suffering from and have been feeling a bit groggy again of late. Therefore a six hour round trip didn't appeal in the slightest, even with such a great bird in the middle of it. Perhaps I don't want to see it that badly after all! I needed something nearer, so popped over to Radipole Lake in Weymouth to look at the infamous 'vagrant' Hooded Merganser. Whatever its 'status' it certainly looks good in the thousands of photos of it adorning Birdguides. The journey to Radipole via the coast road takes a little under an hour and is one of the most scenic I know, here's a couple of views from the road:

Looking back wesst towards Devon.
The headland in the mid-distance is Golden Cap at Seatown.

The breathtaking view from the top of Abbotsbury Hill, showing St. Catherine's Chapel in the centre foreground, with The Fleet, Chesil Beach and Portland in the distance.

When I arrived at Radipole the Hooded Merganser was nowhere to be seen, I couldn't see it among the feeding frenzy of ducks being thrown a couple of loaves near to the visitor centre, so I looked by the Gurkha Restaurant. It wasn't here either but I did spot a familiar face, one of the Radipole Lake ringing team, who joins us for the cannon netting on Seaton Marshes. He kindly told me where the Merganser hangs out when not eating bread, and sure enough there it was!

The Hooded Merganser's usual 'hang out'. Bridge over the River Bread!

Ah-ah! There it is speeding past me!

Even though there are enough photos of this bird on the internet to 'stretch to the moon and back' I still wanted to take one. This meant legging it about a quarter of a mile down the main road trying to get in front of it to gain a good vantage point. I eventually succeeded but didn't have very long as it motored past at full throttle. Here are the results:

Whoops! That's a Tufted Duck. Still, exciting stuff for a 'Backwater Birder' :-)

A nice little 'bread-powered' ducky-wucky.

A little bit of news from on patch is that the Black Redstart is still on Trevelyan Road, I saw it on our roof this morning and next door's this afternoon. Also another garden tick this morning with my first ever Blackcap, I didn't think I'd ever get one of these in the garden, I'll have to put some apples out.

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