With Aly dropping Harriet back for University in Southampton Dad, Aly and I spent a day out birding.
We headed to the Weymouth & Portland area in Dorset with one of the main attractions being a Ring-necked Duck at Radipole. We arrived there shortly after sunrise and joined another couple of birders who were scanning the small flock of Tufted Duck and Pochard on Radipole Drive next to the tennis courts. Unfortunately there was no sign of the Ring-necked Duck.
We headed back to the car park at Radipole and into the main reserve. Over the next hour or so we searched for Bearded Tits and for a very elusive Penduline Tit which had been seen on and off near the concrete bridge on the northern side. We had no luck with either but we did see an amazing flock of 200 Mediterranean Gulls (and no other species) bathing in the channel. We also had great views of a close by and obliging Cetti’s Warbler and both male and female Marsh Harriers showed well. We also found a wintering Chiffchaff.
Aly managed a brief glimpse of the Ring-necked Duck through a gap in the reeds as it fed in the southern channel and so I headed off back on my own around towards the tennis courts to get better unobscured views. When I finally caught up with the Ring-necked Duck it was feeding actively along the edge of the narrow channel on the southern side of the reserve.
Sketching was very difficult as the duck was diving constantly and it also quickly moved out of the scope view as it was so close. The striking white spur towards the front of the flanks and the lovely banded bill make this a really attractive species.
After I’d sketched it Aly rang to say that the Bearded Tits were showing well where the Buddleia Loop started and so I headed back there.