Saturday, 21 January 2012

About time!!

An attempt at Woodcock catching last night was a successful one! After several failed attempts before Christmas I was starting to wonder I we were going to catch any this winter. The weather has been so warm that Woodcock have not ventured to our part of Dorset in any decent numbers so fingers crossed for a cold spell before springs upon us! It simply didn’t feel right being out at night in the middle of January wearing just two layers!
I bet this fella doesn’t mind the warm weather although he's probably feeling a little lonely as it was the only one I saw last night.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

More gull catching

A bit more gull catching has occurred this week resulting in 8 Black-headed Gulls and 3 Herring Gulls going away with bling. I am pleased that the Herring Gulls have been playing ball as I’ve got quite a few colour rings in my ringing box which would look much better on a gull. You might remember last summers visit to the Portland harbour breakwater where we were ringing gull pulli. All the Herring Gulls were colour ringed, so we’ve got plenty of colour rings for Herring Gulls. We decided that any Herring Gulls caught through the winter could also have a colour ring. We hope to back on the breakwater next summer where we’ll hopefully ring largish numbers of Gull pulli but in the meantime keep your eye’s peeled for black rings with three white numbers just like this one! (ignore the coot poo all over my hand!)

This Black-headed Gull was posing nicely

Legs of a Black-headed Gull aged as a 7 meaning it was hatched in 2010. They are very orange compared to an adult.

Also couldn’t resist catching a coot which was practically standing on my boot. Well... it would be rude not to!

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

From one blog to another

Marsh Harriers have quite active at Radipole the last few weeks and one bird (a 1st winter female)  in particular has been rather entertaining. The full story can be found at the RSPB Weymouth Wetlands blog at .
For a taster of what’s it all about have a peak at this shot taken by Danny Dench who’s a regular visitor to Radipole.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Keeping my hand in

After spending the morning surveying not a lot at Radipole I thought I’d stare at gulls for few more hours down at the visitor centre. A few birders were already looking and not finding a lot so I thought I’d catch some gulls instead. Two loaves of bread later 5 Black-headed Gulls and a Herring Gull went away wearing bling. Not bad for an hours effort and all caught by hand (hence the title!)
As you would expect, here are some photo’s of gulls.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Pipit Pics

Today’s plan went completely out of the window when I got up a few hours later than I was planning this morning. I was going to have a few hours ringing at first light then perhaps head over the border to Hampshire to see this Spanish Sparrow that’s living in a little village on the edge of the New Forest.
I still went ringing but decided not to bother twitching the sparrow. Instead I travelled all the way to Wyke Regis to see a Pipit who’s call can be described as slightly sparrow like. It was of course the long staying Richard’s Pipit that’s hanging around near the bridging camp alongside the fleet nature reserve.

I had nothing better to do so I spent a few hours trying to get some decent photographs and came back with a few OK pictures.

Called into Radipole for an hour or so before last light where just a single adult  Ring-billed Gull was present with only a handful of other birds. Nothing like the numbers on Monday evening!

Monday, 9 January 2012

Ups and downs of gull watching

Radipole was stuffed with gulls today, which for someone keen on gulls such as myself it was paradise. Started the day with the adult Ring-billed Gull which was a nice start to the day then whilst scanning through the rest of the flock I noticed a second Ring-billed Gull. This time a second winter bird which got me pretty excited as a second winter bird hadn’t been seen for a while so thoughts of it being a different bird came into my head. That would have been a nice find for myself had this been the case. Sadly, a few birders said later that day that a second winter was present yesterday! I didn’t know this so the excitement decreased rapidly.
The adult bird was about off and on during the day presenting a few decent photo opportunities.

This is the second winter bird.

As darkness approached another gull caught my eye whilst I was having one last look at the ‘Ringer’. This time it really was something to get excited about. A 1st winter Caspian Gull!

Radipole is having such a good winter for gulls I am starting to wonder what will be next? Here’s a final shot of the Caspian Gull.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Weymouth's 'White Winger'

Just a quick post as I have just got in from work and need to go shopping as I am bloody starving.
Last night I was talking to a fellow blogger ( via a popular social networking website about Iceland Gulls. I was whinging a bit due to fact he’s got several on the Scilly Isles and I hadn’t got any in Weymouth. I asked him to send some my way in return for our Ring-billed Gull which seemed fair enough to me. He very kindly came good with his side of the bargain but sadly the Ring billed Gull never showed up today which meant I couldn’t ask it to move off to the Scillies. Perhaps it’s on its way there already?
Anyway, here are a few shots of today’s stunning 2nd winter Iceland Gull. How can anyone not like gulls when they look like this?

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Alway take your camera to work!!

I always know that something good will happen when I leave my camera at home. The morning was incredibly windy (as you probably know) and rain was pouring down so in the mad dash to the car I left my camera rucksack in the hall. About midday the weather cleared which allowed birders to get out and look for yesterday’s Long billed Dowitchers at Lodmoor. During Lunchtime my colleague Danny and myself popped over and got great views which could have lead to some decent photographs… if I had my camera!
The afternoons gull gathering at Radipole was starting to get impressive so I no choice but to go through them all to try to locate one of two Ring-billed Gulls that have been at the reserve recently. Under normal circumstances I wouldn’t have found one but given that my camera wasn’t to hand one showed up! After floating around on the lake for a while it moved onto the car park where localish birder Ian Lewis was sat in his car getting crippling pictures of the beauty.  Thankfully he’s been kind enough to allow to pinch a photo of his website,

Would be interested to know what others think but compare the streaking on the birds head to the bird in the photo from a post before Christmas. I know it’s the opposite side but I would imagine the head streaking on gulls is usually fairly symmetrical and even though my photo is over exposed it’s still quite different. Will check out other picture I’ve got before claiming anything as there’s also a massive difference in the distances at which the photos were taken.
Thanks again to Ian for the use of the picture, his websites also got a shot of the Dowitchers albeit a distant one.