On Tuesday Mrs PB said she was meeting up for a pre-Christmas brekkie on Saturday with a friend she used to work with, and that I was to go out with Nikki Nikon as I deserved a treat! Never one to look a gift horse in the mouth I checked tide times, sunrise times and weather forecasts for all my usual haunts, and also for the WWT sites at Slimbridge and Steart Marshes (to make use of the membership I was gifted for my birthday. I plumped for Steart Marshes, thinking Slimbridge may be busy as it's a weekend, and it's a big tide up the river, and that is the best time to go, apparently. Saturday morning, I checked the weather one last time and noted the winds had picked up significantly, and made the executive decision to not drive for a couple of hours only to find it's not a pleasant day out. I hastily revised my options, and headed to Studland, more specifically Shell Bay and South Haven, that look out to sea, and Bramble Bush Bay, and Jerry's Point that look inwards on the southern edge of Poole Harbour, towards Brownsea Island. I'd walked along the Shell Bay side before, but the harbour side was going to be a first.
I arrived just as the sun was rising and was greeted by the sight of a number of gulls using the air currants to float in place, with no effort. One came in to land, and it turns out they were Herring Gulls
You pass along a little boardwalk from the NT car park to Shell Bay (note it wasn't open at 8 when I arrived for those that are local!)
In the pool the boardwalk crosses a Gadwall paddled away from me
The previous couple of days there had been some migratory divers spotted in the general area, and after seeing a few distant Cormorants, I spotted a Great Northern Diver (I think... please correct me if I'm wrong)
I only got the one shot at it, as it dived, and then I got distracted by more Cormorants, and I didn't see it surface.
A couple of Crows were malarkeying about in a pool left by the dropping tide, I'm not sure what he's got... perhaps he was proposing?
There were a fair few gulls about, mainly Black Headed, and Lesser lack Backed, but also this Common Gull, with the sunrise just beginning to show
The sun was quite annoying, as it developed a habit of slipping behind clouds just as I was about to start clicking!
There were a series of small sandbanks exposed by the retreating tide.... bank might be a bit strong, more a ridge that wasn't submerged... and a lovely selection of small waders foraged
Grey Plover (I think! Only seen them once before, and that was in flight on Brownsea Island)
Another Grey Plover
The obligatory Carrotbill (I can't make out what's on the ring unfortunately)
Yet another Grey Plover (wellll, like I said, 1st ones on the ground!!) But this one is in the sunshine!!
"Oii... don't think I'm not keeping my eye on you!"
I headed back to cross to the other side of the road, to view the harbour side, and as I went along the boardwalk, a pair of Shoveller had usurped the Gadwall
And a trio of Magpies were chiding one another from the tree tops
This car park is adjacent to the chain ferry, that links Sandbanks to the Studland peninsula (I think it saves about a 25 mile drive), and by the ticket/barrier booths are a couple of bird feeding stations, and there were a selection of tits and chaffinches using the facilities
A brave soul decided the middle of the road was the best place to sit and search the area... Pied Waggie
As I was walking along to find a footpath to the beach the other side, a fluttering caught my eye, and I thought....Pipit..... this close to the sea must be water or rock.... I took numerous images, comparing them to my books....until I found then giveaway..... Meadow.... check out those insane hindclaws!
I found a little path towards a little beachy area, and luckily, before I blundered too far and scared it, I spotted some bright orangey red.... Redshank
The wind had started to pick up a little, and as there was little else to see in close proximity, I decided to move on. As I got back to the road a chap was just parking up, and said he was going to "brave" Jerry's Point. I enquired as to where it was, and he pointed me down the next track, and so I headed on.. preceded by a pair of Stonechats playing leap frog along the bushes
I mentioned the wind had picked up a bit.... see!!
I had the feeling I was being told off, as tut-tut-tsk kept infiltrating me ears... a disgruntled Chaffie atop a pine
I made it to the tip of Jerry's Point, and understood what the chap meant by "brave"... it is exposed, and in the increasing wind it wasn't a very pleasant place to stand. I loitered for only a few minutes but overhead several Mallard families swooshed by
And then I spotted something bobbing in the water... what could it be.... well.........!!!!!!
The chap had got to the Point before me, and said there were some Scoter further out, but I didn't see them, and he'd used his experience to stand in the lee of some gorse bushes. Asx it was properly chilly, I headed back, seeing some more Stonechat
Looking back toward the harbour entrance, unfortunately a little distant.... something on the left, and (if you zoom in) a Great Crested Grebe on the right
I decided to try and get closer to the waters edge, not massively successfully lol.... but the floater on the left....Red Breasted Merganser
And a slightly cleared GC Grebe
Hmmm... if I head back to where the Redshank was, I'll be a fair bit closer to them... so off I started to march.... stopped in my tracks by a distant memory of a distinctive bird song... what could it be?
Oh, come on, play the game, turn around.....
Surpiiii-iiiise!!!!!!!! And a couple of moments later madam was followed by sir, but he was less co-operative, and stubbornly remained mid bush, not gorse top! I think it's two years since I've got a half decent Dartford Warbler pic
I think next up is another Stonechat, but much more orangey, unless that's the light playing tricks
I got back to the road, to head back to "Redshank Cove" (as I've just now named it) and I was promptly berated by Jenny, about the Green Cross Code, I expect
Well, I was glad I was right, and at Redshank Cove I was closer to the winter birds... Merganser raft
A Turnstone decided to show me his wing pattern, without actually flying
And these were too intent on feeding to bother about me!
Who said Crows were black?
I knew Redshank Cove was a good name
And finally one of the Turnstones did a little fly by
A lovely unexpected little trip, with one or two real surprises.
Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed the pictures and ramblings, as always please correct me if any ID's are wrong....Robbo...I didn't see any thrushes so I didn't get any of them wrong for a change lol
Stay Safe All
In reply to Robbo:
"Each kindness shown to birds or men is sure to flutter back again"
In reply to PimperneBloke:
That looked a brilliant day out PB, a good selection of birds, and perhaps, something didn't ring true about the crows proposal at this time of year, but a brilliant clear capture nonetheless.....
I liked the turnstone showing the wings, nice and clear.
I'll concur on the stonechat, probably female with the lack of dark plumage, but then, you know my ID skills....
Flickr Peak Rambler
Robbo said:Gulls can be very tough, certainly for me. I reckon common can be ruled out from that photo. I don't really pay much attention to them unless they look different.
I'll second that about gulls being tough to ID, though I think I've started to slowly spot the differences, until winter plumage comes in to through everything out of synch.
In reply to HAZY:
In reply to Mike B:
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