Weymouth for few days

September 04, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

My wife and I had a few days away in my motorhome near the end of July staying just outside of Weymouth, the campsite was part of a working farm on the edge of Fleet lagoon at East Fleet. The lagoon is billed as 'England's largest lagoon and the richest in wildlife in the UK'.

The lagoon runs for about 8 miles from Abbotsbury to Portland - please see map below.

The setting was really nice with lovely views within a few minutes walk from our campsite pitch. I brought my camera with me and had no real plans to use it apart from taking the odd walk around the site and to explore the edge of the lagoon near our campsite to see what was about. The campsite had a few birds around nothing in massive numbers though.

First chance to take a photograph of a bird was actually while in my van when a juvenile Pied Wagtail came right next to us to feed on the grass with what I presume was an adult parent bird that was a little further away.

The juvenile bird came pretty close at one point to enable me to get a decent headshot.

House Sparrows and Herring Gulls were busy in the hedgerows separating the pitches and soaring above us respectively on a regular basis.

We had a wander to see what could be seen on the tracks we were told about on the edge of the lagoon heading in both directions of this large body of water.

A sunny day made the walk more pleasant and gave great views. We took the first path that took us in the general direction of Abbotsbury and was soon greeted with the sound and sights of many Skylarks performing in the air as they do, good numbers were in the air and also on the ground in the large cattle field we were passing. 

Turning the corner we came across a large number of Black Headed Gulls with a lone Great Black Backed Gull standing guard at the edge of the throng.

I look away from the water towards a ploughed section of the rising field and saw an Oystercatcher fly from left to right towards a field holding more cattle. But in the ploughed field was another large group of resting gulls, I scanned with my lens and saw 1 then 2 then more Mediterranean Gulls, approx 40 out of 80 odd birds - cool!

I worked my way closer to try to get a few more detailed images and managed a few also seeing a rung bird too (this bird - a Black Headed Gull I think? - has been reported to the BTO and to date am awaiting news on it) 

Carrying the walk on for another hour or so did not bring us any new sightings of note so back to the campsite for a beer seemed like a top plan!

The following day we had a full day at the site I went off in the opposite direction for a walk while my wife relaxed in the sun. This walk turned out to be a lot quieter with hardly any birds seen, Whitethroat, Dunnock, Blackbird and Wren were in the hedgerows bordering the track heading in the general direction of Portland some miles away.

Views around the lagoon though were lovely especially as the weather was being so kind.

One one of the dingy's left on this part of the lagoon was a pair of Cormorants and not much else apart form the odd Gull drifting high overhead plus one calling Buzzard riding the thermals.

The tracks here were mainly above the lagoon with few options to view the waters edge to see what waders if any were about, the few chances I had to get down to water level proved to be totally birdless.

Another walk on another lazy campsite day took us past the working part of the farm where a dozen or so of the hirundinidae family were frequenting. It turned out there were Swallows, House Martin and a couple of Sand Martin too, which was nice. I took a couple of sessions with my camera here to see what photos I could achieve and below are the best.

Occasionally small groups of Goldfinch, pairs of Greenfinch and Linnets could be seen around the pitches but always seems very nervy of the human visitors to their patch!

As this was a break away with the good lady with a little 'birding' if you can call it that thrown in; it turned out to be not too bad, shame no waders were seen but maybe other areas in the large lagoon are more suited to waders and favoured by them.


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