7 Mar 19

Broadcroft Quarry Lane, Bumpers Lane, Rufus Castle, Church Ope Cove and Penns Wood

Having dropped the dogs off at the groom room, I took a slightly extended walk through the muddy lanes of Broadcroft Quarry Lane and Bumpers Lane, and then down to the cove via Rufus Castle.

En route there were 2 Greenfinches on the Gorse Bushes just east of the Upper Horse Paddocks. Always good to see these fast declining finches. Carrying on down Broadcroft Quarry Lane a Song Thrush took off from one of the bushes and disappeared into the Lower Paddock. Also down the lane here were a few Cherry Trees in blossom and several Common Drone Flies feeding on the nectar.

Nothing much along Bumpers Lane, but from the viewing point at Rufus Castle there were several Syrphus ribesii hoverflies on the Alexanders.

As I made my way down the steps a Chiffchaff starting calling from the small copse on the left just above Penns Weare and then another one burst into song just behind the huts.

The sound of Spring

On the beach there was impressive count of 32 Rock Pipits; where do they keep coming from! Also here were the male Pied Wagtail, the Grey Wagtail and a complete surprise a female Black Redstart. There was no way of telling if this was one of the overwintering females from a week ago, but it was the most bedraggled bird I have come across. I can only think it had been bathing, as its chest and belly looked absolutely sodden. Mind you with the howling gale blowing, I don't think it will take long before it dries out.

As I made my way off the beach the 'Hut' Robin popped up onto the bushes, and started singing. This bird is a most confiding Robin. On an Alexander alongside the steps I came across a Nursery Web Spider. And overhead a Peacock Butterfly flew past me,

Next stop was the grounds of St Andrew's Church where there were 2 more Chiffchaffs, with one of the birds covered in pollen around its head. A sure sign that this is a migratory bird and has been feeding on the Continent prior to arriving on our shores.

Also in the grounds were 5 Wall Lizards basking in the sun.

My last port of call was Penns Wood where 2 Goldcrests were calling. Also here the Common Green Shield Bug in almost the same spot as found it on the 2 Mar.

A sad sight as I made my way up to main road was a sick female Chaffinch which made feeble attempts to fly from bramble to bramble. At times it would close its eyes and then open them quickly to make sure it wasn't in danger. From what I could make out there were no signs of any injuries and as far as the feet were concerned they were fungal free (Fringilla papillomavirus). Always a shame to see sick birds, hopefully it will get better.

A few feet further on a Dunnock was telling all the others that this spot was taken. Now I've just read that it is the females that sing in the hope of attracting male birds to mate with. And there I was thinking that the male Dunnocks had more than one female. Well actually and this is courtesy of the RSPB Website Here and I quote:

'What works for one pair of Dunnocks might not work for another. There are several different strategies they might use:

  • A male paired with a female (monogamy)
  • More than one male paired with the same female (polyandry)
  • A male paired with more than one female (polygyny)
  • 'Pairs' with two males and two females (polygynandry)'
So now you know!!

Here are a few images from today:

The scrubland just east of the Upper Horse paddocks at the back of Wakeham.

I was photographing this male Greenfinch and then realised there.........

.........was a second bird to the right. Always nice to see this fast declining finch.

Cherry Blossom.................

...........I'm not 100% sure which species it is, but I suspect it is Wild Cherry, Prunus avium.

Whichever one it is, it was certainly attracting the Drone Flies.

Here another Common Drone Fly feeds on the nectar.

There were several Syrphus ribesii hoverflies out today again. This one was at Rufus Castle feeding on the Alexanders

Church Ope Cove............

........and the northeast corner, where today........

........this female Black Redstart was feeding in amongst the boulders.

Certainly a bedraggled bird.

Looks as if she's been for a swim.

With the gale force wind blowing across the beach, I don't think it will be long before she dries out.

The overwintering Grey Wagtail and...............

...............his cousin the male Pied Wagtail. No sign of the female today. They seem to be taking it in turns in visiting the beach.

As you leave the beach, the 'Hut' Robin always seems to pop up onto the bushes to see you off.

One of the local Kestrels just about to pounce on a lizard (I suspect) on the steps leading up to Rufus Castle.

A Nursery Web Spider waits patiently for a meal.

This is the grounds of St Andrew's Church and the long wall at the back is home for dozens of Wall Lizards. Today there were just 5 seen, but come the Summer they will be everywhere.

A few photos of the Wall Lizards.

And another.

Last one.

The Common Green Shieldbug in Penns Wood. I suspect it's the same one I saw 5 days ago in almost the same spot.

And the sad sight of a poorly female Chaffinch.

Never a good sign when they close their eyes. Fingers crossed she will pull through.

Now there I was thinking that this is a male Dunnock singing away, but apparently it could well be and is most likely a female.

I have no idea what made it jump, certainly caught my attention...........

..................and then it was back to singing again.

Such a strong voice for a not particularly big bird.

Birds Recorded: 1 Kestrel, Herring Gull, Wood Pigeon, 5 Meadow Pipit, 32 Rock Pipit, 1 Pied Wagtail, 1 Grey Wagtail, Dunnock, Robin, 1 Black Redstart, Blackbird, 1 Song Thrush, 4 Chiffchaff, 2 Goldcrest, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Chaffinch, 16 Goldfinch and 2 Greenfinch.

Also recorded:
5 Wall Lizards, 4 Syrphus ribesii hoverflies, 4 Honey Bees, a Peacock Butterfly and a Common Green Shieldbug.
Ships Today

The British Combat Vessel 'HMS Albion' on the left is on maneuvers just off Portland. More on this vessel Here. To the right is the General Cargo vessel 'Elbetor' flying the flag of Antigua Barbuda. It's on its way from Ijmuiden, Holland to Teignmouth. More on this vessel Here.

This is the British Frigate 'HMS Northumberland' also on maneuvers just off Portland. More on this vessel Here.


On this day..........
Today's Sightings Here.