26 Aug 2019

26 Aug 19 - The Dorset Hippo Season Is Coming

I'm currently trying to clear a backlog of old UK photos that have accumulating over the last few years and which is clogging up my laptop. Today's Blog Post is appropriate as I'm writing this as the current Hippo season in Dorset is approaching. I had spent the previous day back in Aug 19 emptying and refilling my large pond: the first time for over a decade. I was still aching & when I saw the weather was foggy the following morning, it was a good reason not to go out Birding to St Aldhelms.

However, fellow patch watcher, Phil Saunders, had driven over from Bournemouth & decided to give it a go, as he was there. Phil rang me late morning to say he had found a Melodious Warbler when the fog cleared. It was patrolling around a few bushes at the top of Pier Bottom valley. I rang the news around. Steve Morrison, who was currently in the UK that year from his French home, & I headed down to have a look for it. We spread out when we reached Pier Bottom. It only took a few minutes to relocate and it was in the same two bushes that Phil had seen it an hour earlier. If only other Melodious Warblers were as well behaved. They generally have a habit of skulking & not showing well.
Melodious Warbler
Very quickly, we could confirm it was a Melodious Warbler, not that Phil was going to get it confused with an Icterine Warbler. My other St Aldhelms Melodious Warbler, was identified as an Icterine Warbler on 15 Aug 1996. I saw it poorly on the following day and reidentified it as a Melodious Warbler. This didn't go down well with the finder & the other local Birder who had seen it on the first day. However, they conceded I was correct when we saw it for its final day on the 17th.
Melodious Warbler
Melodious Warbler: Showing the wing formula
Melodious Warbler: Another view of the wing formula
It would be nice to see a local Icterine Warbler.
Melodious Warbler: Another view of the wing formula

21 Aug 2019

21 Aug 19 - Wood Mouse

Wood Mice seem to be the regular Mouse species in the Purbeck area of Dorset. I've seen them around the Garden for most of the years I've lived in Dorset. In the Winter, they have a habit of coming into the house, although with all their entry points now blocked up, this is largely a thing of the past. Given they are a cute-looking species, I've never been worried that they are around. They usually can't resist some food (if they get into the house) & get caught & released again in the garden. This individual has taken to feeding under the Bird feeders in the early morning, but it is easy disturbed. It disappears when the back door is open, as the feeders are only a few feet from the door. However, on this occasion, it reappeared when the door was still open & gave me a choice. Grab the camera & be late for work or hope for another occasion. It wasn't a difficult choice.
Wood Mouse: A new Mammal for the Blog. I have photographed them before, but poorly through the back door glass. Great eyes & big ears