Monday, 1 April 2013

April's Fools...

We must be fools. It feels like -5 in the easterly wind that's ripping across the country at the moment and yet the desire to get out birding after over indulging on chocolate this weekend is too strong to overcome. After looking at Twitter early today, Dave Helliar and myself headed for Ferry Bridge between Weymouth and Portland for a Kentish plover but when we got out of the car, we knew it was going to be a painful and potentially hazardous twitch. Before long our hands, feet and faces were numb. You could've pulled all my finger nails out and I would've barely noticed! It also became painfully apparent that the bird had been seen flying off with ringed plovers some 20 minutes before we'd arrived. "BUGGER" and other choice expletives were uttered but we'd come to see it and we weren't going home without it.  A short trek onto the Fleet and we found shelter behind part of the old shooting range wall with views of the roosting wader flock. We met a couple of birders on route who had told us it could be seen hunkered down on the pebbles, so we started to scan the flock. Nothing, zilch, nada! Plenty of ringed plovers and dunlin but no female Kentish. We sat there in the freezing cold for an hour, by which time the only new things we'd gained were frostbite and piles. Then, while scoping the same piece of beach, we simultaneously picked her out flying in and landing on her own - what a beauty! We guided a few other birders onto her and then a peregrine flew over and put the lot up. At that point I didn't care though. Mission accomplished we hobbled back to the car.
At this point a message came in to say a white-spotted bluethroat (Portland's fourth this week) had been found in Chesil Cove, about a mile up the road. We couldn't believe our luck. Even more surprising, we were first on the seen and soon relocated it just south of the beach huts and it was a stunner...
White-spotted bluethroat: Dave Helliar
White-spotted bluethroat: R. Harris
White-spotted bluethroat: R. Harris

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