15 Sept 2019

15 Sep 19 - Migrant Hawker

Light Northerly winds, high pressure & clear skies meant the conditions were sunny & pleasant to be out Birding at St Aldhelms Head. There were large numbers of Hirundines moving slowly over the Head, but on a broad front & generally feeding. The movement was only visible by the periods of low Hirundine numbers. There were fifteen Wheatears & a small scattering of Warblers & other typical migrants. Perhaps the most interesting was this Migrant Hawker which was patrolling the trees by Trev's quarry (AKA the Two-barred Greenish Warbler site). It got me thinking. Most of my sightings of this species have been like this, with Migrant Hawkers patrolling or perching on downland, with no nearby water sources. The nearest water is a small pool of water trapped by a slippage on the undercliff: it is over a half mile away. The Winspit sewerage pond and garden ponds in Worth Matravers are over a mile away. Apparently, this is typical behaviour for the species. Migrant Hawkers are happy to feed well away from water before they are sexually mature & may only appear at water when they are ready to breed.
Migrant Hawker: Male. Perching high up in a tree
Migrant Hawker: Male. It briefly perched low down as I walked back to the car
The larger Dragonflies generally seem to be very territorial on breeding territories. However, Migrant Hawkers seem to be happy in groups before they move to their breeding territories as the next photo shows.
Migrant Hawker: Again a non-breeding location (11 Aug 14)

14 Sept 2019

14 Sep 19 - Lap-pal

This is a first for the Blog: a Birding palindrome. On Tuesday 10 Sep 19, a photo emerged of a Lapland Bunting at Portland, which seems to have been photographed by visitors, but not seen by anybody at the Portland Bird Obs that day. That was soon rectified by plenty of photos when it was relocated the following day, accompanied by comments of how approachable it was.

When it was still present on the Friday, I decided that I would use it as an excuse for my just about annual visit to Portland Bill. Despite only being just over an hour to the Bill, I get a lot more enjoyment out of kicking around locally within ten miles of my house. I rarely travel out of my local area, except for a Tick. I headed off at lunchtime, when it was still present on the Saturday morning. I had expected there to be plenty of photographers, but the early afternoon arrival meant that there were only one or two others enjoying it while I was there. As it was feeding next to the coastal path, there was a steady stream of people walking past, but it remained unfazed.
Lapland Bunting: The majority of Dorset's Lapland Buntings are fly over calling individuals. So, it was a real treat to get one on the ground that was showing well
Lapland Bunting
Lapland Bunting: My favourite angle for ground Birds is at their height
Lapland Bunting: Do I look better on this side
Lapland Bunting: Or maybe head on?
Lapland Bunting
Lapland Bunting
Lapland Bunting: Normally, I struggle to find a few half reasonable photos. This time I deleted about fifty photographs that were better than my normal quality of photo
Lapland Bunting: With the Obs in the background