1 Jun 2014

1 June 14 - The Day After The Day Before

After a short night's sleep, there was no problem deciding where to head out to the following morning. The choices were: back to Morden Bog to have another look for the Short-toed Eagle; return to Old Harry to see if the Grey-headed Wagtail was still there; try somewhere else around Studland. Clearly, it had to be Old Harry. Although the chances the Wagtail was still around was slim, then if it was then I could get the news out so some of the other locals could see it. I spent over 3 hours on the far end of Old Harry, but there was no sign of the Grey-headed Wagtail. Not too surprising given the previous day would have had a lot of visitors from late am onwards, given the nice weather & the end of a week of school holidays. Unfortunately, all the fields nearby have crops in them this year, so there are no cattle around to hold it either (there were cattle in one of these fields last year). So it looks like it had moved on. I did check the fields at Greenlands Farm on the following day, as their cows & horses are popular with Yellow Wagtails during migration, but no joy there either. But it was a great sunny day, with still conditions & few people there to spoil it (until the hordes descended late morning). So the chance to get some more photos & to reflect on how stunning the scenery is for this part of my local birding patch. It's a real pity that rare birds are so poor at choosing great scenery when deciding where to turn up.
The panoramic view from Seat Point
Looking to Swanage from Old Harry
Looking to Old Harry from the next Southerly chalk promontory
Studland Sea Kayaks: This part of Studland Bay is home to both species of UK Seahorses. These kayak guys probably have the least impact on them of all water users. Can't say the same for the water skier haring around the same area the previous day or the jet skiers who think it's fun to race into the bay
Swanage Gig: It's great to see one of the Swanage gigs aptly named Old Harry, rowing past Old Harry
Walking South from Old Harry: There is a coastal footpath that leads to Swanage. The meadow is looking superb this year
In addition to yesterday's Great Black-backed Gulls & Herring Gulls that breed on the Old Harry rockstacks, there are other breeding Seabirds on the cliffs: Fulmars, Cormorants & Shags.
Fulmar: A Family Photo Tick (Shearwaters & Petrels)
Fulmar: They like to nest high up on the cliffs. The bird is sitting in a hole within the chalk & it's only possible to see it's wings & tail
Cormorant: The local breeders are all the nominate carbo subspecies
Cormorant: The characteristic wing drying posture
Cormorant: A few pairs nest on the cliffs
Cormorant: They are really good looking birds when seen close up
Herring Gull: Adult. Great to see them flying past me at or below my level
Herring Gull: Another of the breeding birds
Skylark: A reasonable number of pairs of the nominate arvensis subspecies breeds on Old Harry & Ballard Down. The are replaced in Northern England, Scotland & Ireland by the scotica subspecies
Rock Pipit: They nest on the cliffs & regularly song flight around the cliffs
Song Thrush: Looks like it Snail for breakfast again
Speckled Wood
Dingy Skipper: Surprisingly, the first one I've seen at Old Harry