Bufflehead, Hoopoe and Alpine Swift in Dorset

Saturday 27th March 2010

A fantastic day in Dorset with Andy and Mark produced a trio of excellent rarities. First, Bufflehead. We started of at Abbotsbury looking from New Barn Road but with no success so we headed for the car park at Chesil Beach. It was a long slog from there as we decided to walk most of the way on the top of the shingle to keep an eye on the sea rather than the firmer route at the bottom of the landward side. A raft of 18+ Common Scoter rewarded our efforts. We reached the tank traps and scanned and scanned, and just on the point of turning back, a fellow birder picked up the Bufflehead very distantly on the fleet beyond Shipmoor Point. We then headed for Langton Herring to try for the Hoopoe which had been about in recent days. Our efforts were initially unsuccessful, though the 20+ Red-breasted Mergansers on the fleet were very nice. Again, after all but giving up, the Hoopoe flew along the coastal hedge-line, perching further along, where it sat for some time preening in the sun (photos above and below). Very nice. If you are looking for it, the grid reference is SY604819, it apparently favours this brassica field and hedge-line next to the coastal path between Rodden Hive and Clay Hard Point.


We left Langton Herring and headed towards Weymouth, with the intention of checking out RSPB Lodmoor reserve when news came through of an Alpine Swift at RSPB Radipole Lake. Were just minutes away, and got to the car park in no time.

The Alpine Swift was showing very well (photo above) flying over the car park and the buildings just to the east, at one point being closely checked by a male Peregrine. Bufflehead and Alpine Swift were both lifers and I can never get enough of seeing Hoopoes, so all in all a very enjoyable day in this beautiful county.

Below: The Fleet from near Langton Herring

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