Sunday, 15 May 2011

I am a Dorset convert - Day 1, Thursday 12th May

Well where do I start?

As you may have read elsewhere, I've just spent 4ish days over in Dorset with P4rus and our respective wimminz. If I tell you those 4 days resulted in 5 gigs of photos, you will probably get scared. Don't worry, I have already deleted half of them. I will break the trip into a post for each day, because otherwise it will get ridiculous.

The weekend started on Wednesday evening at the Shepherds Bush Empire watching amazing folk music courtesy of Spiers and Boden + guests. This is not bird related, but is awesome and worth plugging.

Thursday morning/early afternoon was the long drive down to Swanage, and the first thing we did was take a quick walk along the coast at Durlston. First thing to note is that Swanage is GREEN, STUNNING and FULL OF LARGE HILLS.

This simple hour spent walking along some cliffs allowed me to fill some very embarrassing seabird related holes in my life-list.

Guillemots and Razorbill doing 'obviously different'.

Shag in flight. Think I may have misidentified one of these as a Cormorant once, but it's nice to be 100% and able to tick it at last.

It also gave the chance to take grainy pictures of other awesome cliff-dwelling birds:

What is is that makes Fulmars so much better than Gulls? It's a mystery. Awesome though.

In Essex the Peregrine's default state of being is apparently either 'Lazy' or 'Stuffed', so it was great to see one actually get off its feathery arse and fly around a bit. Now, having said that, here's a picture of that bird sitting on its arse.

After getting food we headed out for an evening jaunt around the heathland to see hear some Nightjars, which was fun, if less productive than hoped. Got another life tick though as the rear end of a Dartford Warbler disappeared into a Gorse bush. This is the standard view of Dartford Warbler and entirely tickable. Some speculate that they do not in fact have faces, and that those featured in bird guides are mere extrapolations based on experience and guesswork. I can't prove them wrong.

As always, once we'd given up and started driving back the bird of the evening appeared in the headlights and sat still for just long enough for a few attempts at extreme low-light photography. First Whinchat I've seen this year too.

Your choice of horribly underexposed or horribly overexposed and blurry. Never let it be said that this blog doesn't cater to all tastes.

The next day consisted of about half a million identical macro shots of butterflies. Most of this evening has been spent winnowing them to one or two shots per butterfly. All that and more to look forward to in day 2.

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