Rain or Shine

Monday, 1st October 2012

Jon, my fellow Weares watcher and I ventured out  just after dawn and spent almost four hours, mostly in the rain this morning. I wore wellington boots and my boat-fishing (immersion) suit - and stayed completely dry. Jon, who never moans about anything, clad only in a partially waterproof coat, jeans and trainers, got damp to say the least, whilst characteristically maintaining he wasn't wet at all.

Sixty or so swallows swirled around overhead, then another 'sixty', then another; whether they were the same birds or not it was impossible to tell, most likely so. It was not the weather for migration.

Most notable among the grounded migrants today were what has recently shown to be an increasing number of Blackcaps. I say 'migrants' as some of the species do winter. We counted twenty this morning, but there would have been very many more. Three bathed together in a puddle on the ground in the middle of the track.

The best bird today was an adult Med. Gull in almost complete winter plumage that obligingly circled around over sea below us at Little Beach accompanied by two Black-headed's. Mediterranean Gull is regular off Portland nowadays, and one of my favourite species.   

First for this year here today, was a single Stonechat. I've never seen any here in the summer. I have spoken to people who claim to have done so, but the birds definitely don't breed.  It's entirely possible habitat-wise, but there just don't seem to be the numbers around now, after several hard winters.  

Unwelcome alien

We returned to the Weares late this afternoon, descending to the track via the steep path from the Grove. We saw, as is often the case in the afternoons, rather little. Some bright spark has decided to turn some 'wild' goats loose on the scree here, to 'help clear the vegetation'. Exactly why it needs clearing half way up the cliff slopes remains unclear. Here's a picture of one of those brutes going about its' business.