Saturday 4 March 2023

Bridport North Provides

Just one off-patch venture this week, in search of local Goshawks with Chris Fox. Wednesday morning did not feel promising, weather-wise, with almost one hundred percent cloud cover, but a single bird nevertheless obliged at around 11:00. Almost certainly a female, but too distant to be completely sure (or to photograph), it lifted into view and headed south, occasionally circling, until it was out of sight. The deep, elastic wingbeats are so distinctive. What a bird! We were really expecting it to return, into the wind, but sadly not. Chris picked up a bonus Red Kite for us, another species that I suspect is quietly breeding not too far way.

Little news from the West Bay & Eype patch in recent days. Oh, except for missing a White-tailed Eagle in-off this morning! Mind you, not sure that I could officially count one of the reintroduction birds on my Patchwork Challenge tally anyway. Still, compensation in the shape of a blistering performance from the Bridport North patch today. Following an over-the-garden pair of Canada Geese just after first light on Thursday, this morning's pre-breakfast point-earner was caught on camera...

Yesss! Lesser Black-backed Gull.

And the reason I had the Nikon to hand? Apparently the White-tailed Eagle flew towards Bridport. Obviously I had to make an effort for such a magnificent beast, whatever the official PWC position re points-worthiness.

This afternoon I was free about 15:00, and stepped out into a chilly, grey gloom. I wasn't really feeling it, but Bridport North did me proud. I have never seen Marsh Tit within my patch boundary, but today was surprised and delighted to find birds at two locations, at least four in total...

Not much more than a mile from home, my first Bridport North patch Marsh Tit.

Not far away, and very close to a 2021 nest location, a Dipper on the stream. Like other recent sightings, the bird was in a shady spot, and visible only through a tangle of twiggage...

Makes a nice change to clearly make out the colour of its belly.

There are very few water bodies locally, but two are on the Bridport North patch. One is a small fishing lake and, with a couple of anglers present today, predictably empty. The other is an overgrown, undisturbed private pond, partially visible from a public footpath. Today it held all sorts of bounty!


Little Grebe!

Best of all were two Teal, which sadly saw me before I saw them and quickly hurried out of sight behind an island.

That's five new species for the PWC list today. Not a bad return, I thought.

Apparently we are in for a somewhat colder spell. Despite the date, Wheatears seem a long way off yet. And I don't suppose the moth trap will be out again for a bit...

A rather attractive version of Epiphyas postvittana (Light Brown Apple Moth). One of just two moths caught last time the trap was out.

So far this year, sticking close to home has been absolutely no hardship. With the promise of spring at hand, with its greenery and birdsong, I cannot wait to see how things unfold...

Male and female flowers on one of our garden Hazels. Planted as bare-rooted 18-inch whips in the 2020 lockdown, this is the first year we've seen flowers. Very satisfying to see them thriving.

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