Friday, 7 May 2010

Radipole - Garganey

I had a talk booked to the Dorset alpine group with overnight hospitality near Poole and with a couple of hours to spare, I decided to check out the Weymouth area en-route.
With only one brief and fairly unproductive seawatch this year, there was an odds on chance of some easy seabirds for the yearlist, I headed down to Portland Bill…..

No shortage of Guillemots, either on the water or busily flying to and fro. Several small groups of Gannets, plus a few Kittiwake and a single Manx Shearwater were the obliging year birds! Fulmar, Shag flew close in and four Whimbrel were a nice surprise…..

I checked Birdguides on my phone and a drake Garganey was apparently showing well at Radipole’s North hide. I’d already seen the Otter estuary pair earlier in the year but this sounded like a good bird to see, so off I went…..

I had approx 45 mins to spare and I then discovered that the North hide was nearly a mile from the car park! Oh well, I’m here now I though so went into route march mode. I was 200m from the hide when I met a couple of birders coming my way …. A brief and rather negative conversation ensued…… “Still showing”?? “Nah, it’s just flown – we’re off to look for it”.

I hadn’t got time to chase Garganey around the reserve..... so, opted to carry on to the hide and within seconds of arrival breathed a sigh of relief - it had flown back in!!

The reason for it’s flightiness then became obvious! A rather territorial Mute Swan was in no mood to have this attractive little interloper present. Bad news for the Garganey but good news for me with camera poised as (somewhat distantly) it was harried into brief short flights…..

Even the Coots got in on the act……

It did come closer (briefly) to escape all the harrassment?

Flight shot of the day?

Oh and hows this male Marsh Harrier for a garden tick!!

Eventually, I had to call it a day and jogged my back to the car (honest). Soooooo glad I was driving out of Weymouth, smiling as I watched mile after mile of gridlocked cars trying to get in – the queue was right back to Dorchester!! MORAL – don’t ever even try to get into Weymouth on a Friday evening…..