21 Feb 2015

21 Feb 15 - South Haven Hat Trick

The very Northern tip of the Studland Peninsula is South Haven. Soon after I started Birding the Studland/Ballard patch seriously, I subdivided the patch into a number of sub-patches. This has proved interesting as it has helped to highlight some of the local boundaries for a number of species. It has also spurred me on to Bird the different sub-patches. The boundary of South Haven is the land North of the nudist beach track to the East of the road & North of Jerry's Point to the West of the road. The total land area is about a square km, albeit there is easily another 10 square kms of sea & bay views. Up until this morning, the South Haven patch was only 1 Bird ahead of the Brands Bay, Greenlands Farm & Godlingston sub-patch, by after a stunning 5 minutes this afternoon, it is now 3 Birds ahead on 172 species (ignoring Crap Pigeon). This compares to my Studland/Ballard list of 215 species seen & Nightingale heard.
The view looking South from the Pilots Point high dune: Taken on a misty morning on 22 Jan 15. The Great Grey Shrike was about 400 metres away
I had planned to spent the afternoon out at Brands Bay for the falling tide, but a pager message indicating the Great Grey Shrike had moved to the heath near Shell Bay, gave me a different plan. I couldn't get out till mid afternoon, 2 hours after it had been seen & I wasn't that optimistic. There was no real directions & its a large area of heath to scour. Also there were a number of people walking around on this part of the heath, which is unusual at this time of the year. But I walked out to the high dune by Pilots Point & tried another scan. Bingo: it was sitting on a small bush about 400 metres further South of Pilots Point. After putting the news out, I was about to start walking towards it, when I saw a distant Egret flying towards the Eastern Lake. I figured it was most likely to be the Great White Egret & putting the scope on it, it was. My second South Haven Tick in 5 minutes.
Great Grey Shrike: It also good to get these photos as my photos of this individual on Godlingston Heath in Mid Jan were only record shots
A bit of careful walking up the dunes & some shots on the way in case it flew. But it stayed put & allowed me to approach to 20 metres. Don't think I've been that close to a UK Great Grey Shrike before. Not having the Canon 7D with me probably helped as I doubt it would stayed put with the good camera. Still I was able to get some reasonable photos with the SX60.
Great Grey Shrike: Great to add this to my South Haven list
As to the third species in the South Haven hat trick, that will be revealed tomorrow.
Great Grey Shrike: It relocated with a bit of the sea behind. An unusual background for a Dorset Great Grey Shrike