15 May 2019

15 May 19 - B Is For Bee-eaters

I was working at home on Wednesday, when I saw a message at lunchtime of seven Bee-eaters at Durlston: the excellent Dorset County Council reserve at the Southern side of Swanage. I couldn't head up quickly due to work. I could afford to be laid back on this occasion, having been lucky enough to have seen a flock of six Bee-eaters at Durlston on 31 May 97 & a single exactly fifteen years later to the day. Maybe I should pop up on 31 May 27? They were still present when I finished for the day, so it was time to grab the camera & pop up to Durlston. I could see a few parked cars just outside the park entance & a small huddle in the field on the Eastern side of the entrance road. As I walked up to the small gathering, I saw Peter Moore lift his camera: clearly, they were still here. For the next hour they regularly flew over the fields on both sides of the entrance road. I've now seen eighteen good Birds at Durlston: a Red-footed Falcon, a Red-flanked Bluetail, a Hume's Yellow-browed Warbler, a self-found Bluethroat & fourteen Bee-eaters. A bit more variety would be nice!
Bee-eater: They really are too bright for the British countryside
Bee-eater: They are even better on the upperside
Bee-eater: Doing what their name suggests
Bee-eater: An unidentifiable Bumblebee: one of a number of species with a yellow band on the body
Bee-eater: This individual with a lop-sided tail moult and a notch in the inner primaries on the right wing was the most photogenic
I left about 20:00 as the light levels were starting to drop & I didn't think I was going to get any better shots. They must have headed off within the next thirty minutes, as one of my mates arrived about 20:30 & failed to see them. Presumably they roosted locally, but they didn't return to Durlston the following morning. Hopefully, the Dorset Spring isn't over yet.