Monday 2 April 2012

Back in The Saddle

Well, it seems an absolute age since I last posted anything on here and even longer since I've actually been out birding. I think the last time was the Paddyfield Warbler twitch on the 6th March. I started to feel a little unwell on the drive home and have been under the weather ever since. I got back n the saddle, so to speak yesterday when Bun and me went over to Weymouth for the Hume's Warbler. This, like the American Wigeon at Exminster, was a bird which has been present all winter and I've just never gotten around to going to see it. It was every bit as elusive as I'd been led to believe and after a couple of hours I finally got a few brief glimpses as it made its way through the bottom of some tamarisk bushes. We both saw enough to be certain it was the Hume's Warbler but the views were far from satisfying. Still after another hour or so ( not being masochists) we called it a day and headed home. The Richard's Pipit had been seen in the bridging camp but ( I'm rather ashamed to say) I couldn't be bothered to look for this too. It was 'interesting' to overhear a couple of birders present when asked if the warbler had been seen say " They ( referring to Bun and me) think they saw something" Well, fair do's. As Bun said at the time " Yep, that's definitely the bird....unless it's a rabbit or a crisp packet"

The day then went seriously downhill, I'd forgotten to take my sunglasses which I really need when driving in sunny weather. This resulted in the onset of a migraine when I got home :-(  As I was lying incapacitated on the sofa I got a text. I shouldn't have looked at it! Bun had only seen a Crane flying over town, a second text which I again (foolishly) read said it was now on Colyford Marsh. I was gutted. There was no way I was up to going out, even briefly.

I'd only seen Common Crane once before in Norfolk and it would have been a new patch bird too. I did feel a bit better when I learned that it had gone to roost, so I drugged myself up, set my alarm for 5am and went to bed. At 5.20 I was at the Farm Gate in the dark. There was no way I was going to miss it coming out of its roost. I amused myself for a while looking at Saturn through my scope. It started to get light at 6ish and hypothermia was setting in by 6.30. Clive arrived from Sidmouth and we both looked and waited...and waited... 7 o'clock came and went..surely it can't have gone...we can't have missed it, can we? Eventually at 7.15 precisely, there it was flying up the river. It had been roosting on the riverbank and flew out when the Swans started to move from the river to the fields.

I enjoyed some lovely views of it for over two and a half hours, in the company of various different people. I eventually left when I remembered (shock, horror) I hadn't put the recycling bins out!! Once the bins were in place I was just going to have a nice cup of tea when I noticed I'd a couple of unread text messages. One was from Steve saying his car had broken down and he was going to the garage, last time I'd seen him he was just going to pick up Bun ( who is temporarily transport-less) so that he could see the Crane again but in daylight. I abandoned the tea idea and went to pick him up ( yes, I know I'm all heart). When we reached the viewing area everyone had gone but the Crane was still there. Not for long though, we watched it for about ten minutes or so before it made a spectacular running take-off, banked round into the wind and flew off to the north, quickly gaining both height and speed. Earlier Steve had said " It will go at ten o'clock"  It was exactly 11 o'clock. So spot on then.... when you consider that British Summer Time doesn't really apply to Cranes ;-)

Obviously I had a stab at digiscoping it, it was pretty distant though.

I didn't think my photos would come out at the time so I took a bit of video. A bit wobbly cos it's hand held. You can see it was finding plenty to eat.

This evening I  had just got out on patch when I got a text from Phil, there were three Little Ringed Plovers on Black Hole Marsh, so that's where I went ( for the first time since November!) and they were showing really well right in front of the little viewing platform. A bit too near for digiscoping  really as they move out of view too quickly but I managed to get some nice shots with a bit of effort and a lot of luck. Unfortunately a Sparrowhawk made a swoop for them and they vanished into thin air! Either we missed them flying off as we were distracted by the Sparrowhawk or they hid in the long grass. If it was the latter they hadn't plucked up the courage to come out by the time we left.

And finally, a photo from my garden of a couple of amorous Ladybirds.

1 comment:

Wilma said...

How wonderful you got to see the crane. I've never seen one - yet!