Have you ever had one of those days....

.... when despite not necessarily seeing what you hoped, you still have an absolute belter of a day?

Well it happened to me on Wednesday. Another glorious autumn day forecast, coinciding with my day off... what to do, where to go...... Mrs PB treated us (me!) to joint WWT membership for my birthday a couple of weeks back and so I was debating Stearte Marshes, Slimbridge, or Arundel as we're sort of mid-point of the triangle. In the end I decided on slightly more local as the petrol availability fracas was still going on.... plan... sunrise ish head to local Barn Owl site, then head down to Weymouth for Lodmore (Marsh Harriers) and Radipole (Marsh Harriers and Bearded Tits), and then move on over to the Fleet for low tide Wadwes, lunchtime ish.

All went to plan and I was at the Barn Owls at about 7:15. Walking down the lane there were fields of sheep either side, all but one moved away as I approached...

Moving on toward the barn the far end of the preceding field was a Roe Deer, keeping a watch on me

He kept an eye on me, before meandering off into the thicket behind. Above, there were a few gulls flying about (I'm guessing local ploughed fields their target) and some corvids, and then this graceful egret

Most of the corvids were Magpies, and they all congregated briefly....8 for a Wish!

Having given the Owls about an hour, and still wanting some nice light for in Weymouth I headed back to the car, as one of the conservation chaps pulled up. He said the owls had been hunting further along the trailway recently, so maybe next time I'll get luckier.

I had an uneventful drive down to Lodmore, getting out of the car to and overflight of a group of Mallard, glistening in the sunshine

Some more "Woodland-y" birds were saying their morning greetings, Robin

Probable Chiffchaff, remaining obstinately quiet

And a Dunnock confusing me by still being UP a tree rather than under it!

The first of many Common Darters was warming up nicely

Away in the distance a Great White Sharkgret was coming in to land

In one of the nearer bits of water some Canada Geese were having a good old feed, but at least one was keeping and eye on proceedings

Overhead some more were coming in to land in groups of 3 or 4, including this very pale faced one.... in retrospect...could it be a Barnacle Goose?

Looking over the side of a little bridge a swan family came to investigate, obviously used to being fed...

Looking more into the lagoon-y area, a Gadwall looked resplendant

And then, a first for me, a Ruff (apparently this pale individual has been visiting for several years)

Some more geese were coming in to feed

And a few more following

And some more.......

And what a magnificent racket they made, honking and wings beating, there were a further 3 or 4 groups of this sort of size, that all came in within about 15 minutes, certainly a sight to behold. And all this time the Ruff paid them no nevermind, but came slightly closer

Not as many as I expected, but some Godwits were pottering about

One was beak down, nose deep in the food bowl, the other was a Godwit... Bar-Tailed this time I think

And more Ruff... well it is my first 

Everywhere was the sound of Gulls crying and wheeling about, Black Headed being most prevalent

The first (and probably last) of the year...Painted Lady

And a majestic Heron, master of all he surveys

But not as pretty as the irridescing Lapwing

Nor, indeed, as the "getting down and dirty" Teal

Or, at least, the less filthy pair a little way away

Another first (that  I know of) for me, Common Sandpiper

It feels like I've been putting this post together for ages, so I'll call it a day at the end of Lodmore, which isn't long now, I promise, and post Radipole and Ferrybridge separately... A well balanced Black Headed Gull

A mini quiz now....what's this, apart from poorly lit and poorly focussed ....good luck!!

There were a number of Little Egret about, but most were too distant...most but not all

Just along and higher up from the unknown grey blob previously, was this little sweetie.... Linnet?

And further along again, Sparra

Keeping their distance like the Egrets, were a number of Cormorants

Which is my best side?

There were a few more dragons about, Migrant Hawker this time

As I walked on, I thought that's unusual, gulls still with black heads.... actually...it's even more unusual...they've got Max Wall wigs on!!

A pair of Sandwich Terns!

Another lovely Little Egret 

And another surprise, a stunning Comma, looking very fresh

I told you it wasn't far until the end of Lodmore, thanks for sticking with it!

Any help/corrections with ID's as always gratefully received.

Stay Safe All

Edit: Part 2 here

  • Terrific set of species and photos PB, can't help much with remaining ID's and the mystery bird but looks like your more local jaunt was the best decision judging by what you saw; love the Max Wall terns !! and nice to see what great condition the butterflies were in so late in the season.


    Regards, Hazel 

    "Each kindness shown to birds or men is sure to flutter back again" 

  • Shame you missed out on the Owls PB but what a brilliant variety you saw at Lodmore, Cormorants looking good and the Migrant Hawker too, could the mini quiz bird be a Dunnock?, probably wrong but you never know, they get to appear in the oddest places. No butterflies around here at the moment, so pleased to see you still have some. Maybe next week if the forecast is correct and the sun shines:-)

    Lot to learn

  • Thank you ladies

    Hazel, I was really surprised the terns were still here, and as for local jaunt... wait 'til you see part 2 

     Part 2 here

    Gaynor, I'm off out in a minute to see if the owls are about, so fingers crossed 

  • Seven for a secret,
    Never to be told.

    I had to count the magpies.....

    Joking aside, I used to enjoy watching the TV program 'Magpie', but it was only when I was around a friends house coming home from school.

    Well done PB on your first sighting of a common sandpiper, and of course, the fabulous collection of photos.

    A belated happy birthday, and what a nice pressie from Mrs PB, WWT membership 


    Flickr Peak Rambler

  • In reply to Mike B:

    Thanks Mike....I was a Blue Peter watcher lol (and there's definitely 8 maggies)
  • Hi PB,
    Part one records a great day out for sure. Not seeing Owls when you want to seems the default position for me although we do hear Tawny Owls in the trees around our house and garden every evening at the moment. My best pictures of a Barn Owl happened in the middle of a sunny afternoon and was the last thing I expected to see.
    Love the Ruff and Common Sandpiper photos, the Sandpiper ones are particularly clear and detailed.
    When I visit Minsmere Bearded Tits are always at the top of my wish list but rarely feature and Marsh Harriers, Dartford Warblers and Bitterns are always hoped for but not featured much lately but generally I have a good day out but every now and then, as you say, you have a belter.
    Best Wishes,
  • And tae think a nearly missed all this! Am back just in time...perfect birthday pressie me thinks...and you picked a perfect day for it. What a cracking set for part one but can can part 2 be equally as good....am off to find out....well after a make a cuppa...thanks PB ;-)

    (Pardon the Scottish Accent)

  • In reply to PimperneBloke:

    PimperneBloke said:
    Thanks Mike....I was a Blue Peter watcher lol (and there's definitely 8 maggies)

    I'll concur 8 magpies. keep your wish quiet, for it may not happen otherwise.... LOL

    The three to the left almost look like two on a small screen, should have gone to......

    I also watched Blue Peter, back in the John Noakes days.


    Flickr Peak Rambler