Thursday, 25 March 2010

Dorset - Double drenching!

Exeter was my destination for an alpine plant show on Saturday. Thought I'd allow plenty of time to get there and set off first thing Thursday morning??

I was heading for the Weymouth area and with heavy rain forecast, there were two main Dorset target birds: Bufflehead and Hoopoe, then if time permitted - round off with a Garganey in Devon on my way to friends and a couple of nights hospitality...

It was still dry (only just) when I arrived at Abbotsbury and having done my homework 'satnavved' New Barn Road. This overlooks the Fleet and the Swannery (with hindsight the admission fee would have been well worth it for the 200m closer views?) The arrow denotes the location of the distant Bufflehead - see below!

Eventually, with another birder scanning the water, we located the Bufflehead - well over towards the other bank, beyond the distant headland!

Not exactly the best image I've taken and whilst you can't quite make out the feather detail - it is a Bufflehead - honest, the scope views were much clearer! After a few minutes, it disappeared behind the headland!

Spots of rain were beginning to fall and the short drive to Langton Herring....

After parking at the local pub with good directions coutesy of local birder Aiden (cheers mate) I descended to the 'Hoopoe field' - wellies I was warned, are absolutely obligatory here!!

On arrival, I'm not sure whether it was me or a dog walker coming the other way - the Hoopoe was flushed within 30 metres! It flew over the adjacent wall and .... to cut a long story short..... after nearly two more hours.... was never seen again!!

Boy, was I wet!! Typical Hoopoe habitat seen here...

And then the long 'uphill mile' walk back! I couldn't really grumble though - I had actually had as close a view as I've ever managed of a Hoopoe!

The car heater did it's stuff and 40 miles later I was totally dry and parked up at the 'White bridge' upstream of the Otter estuary. Guess what, the rain came down in stair-rod fashion again and after scoping the 'second field' for quite a while (where the pair had been seen), an inspired check of a small wet flush in the 'third field' turned up the pair of Garganey! Here's the drake.....

It was virtually dusk and to be honest, I'd had enough by now - the thought of a nice hot meal, glass of wine......

Then up with Cirls for breakfast tomorrow!

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