Wednesday, 9 April 2008

The Dorset Warbler, sorry Dartford

Bit of a Red Letter Day today, not only did her indoors buy me lunch at Poundbury Garden Centre as a thank you for taking her to her hospital appointment, but...............

............... after 44 years of searching (well maybe not quite that long) I have finally caught up with the Dartford Warbler (127), not one but two. Or is that a pair? I'm as happy as a happy warbler in the Dorset sun today. Just Brilliant, Brilliant, Brilliant!!! Can you tell I'm excited?

Bit like the Holy Grail for me, these rare warblers have eluded me every time I've been in Dorset heathland. Today there it was, just below a viewpoint carpark (I'll not say exactly where but if you wish to know, e-mail me), the same viewpoint that 4 years ago produced a plethora of Crossbills out of nowhere. Good spot for Nightjars too, so out with the white hankie and ready to attract them one summers evening.

Back to the Dartford Warbler. We'd stopped at this viewpoint, really just to have a look at the err....view! Quite a few Linnet were whooping back n forth so wiled away a few moments watching then. Then out of the corner of my eye, a bird flew from some gorse. A weak waffly flight, long tail small body. Something told me to follow. And there it was. 20 feet away. I didn't have the camera so walked back to the car hoping it would be with me on my return. And it was, both male and female... I think, certainly these 2 were slightly different. One cracking view in the bins I could see insects in it's beak... surely not feeding young already. Anyway fired off 20 or so photos in the hope some would at least show the bird, proof, if proof were needed. I've cropped and added the best 2 below. Not marvelous, but for hand held in the heat of the moment, they serve their purpose. Even managed a 10 second video on the compact. I'll treasure that, and I hope you like these.

The one above is the male, speckled upper breast. Not sure if the others are male or female, didn't take much time to make notes... I know, I know!!
Next two below are a bit rubbish, but again for proof really. Click to enlarge

And that was about it really. My initial intention was to have a blog showing the fabulous Dorset scenery in Spring, but that Dartford Warbler stole the show. So a photo diary of other places today. (Sadly after spying hundreds of Cowslips around Dorchester, but being unable to stop and photo them, never saw any more).

Above, Abbotsbury and Fleet from road to Bridport, and below Hardy's Monument (Kismet Nelson chap not author bloke)

Below, Gorse in full bloom..... everywhere.

Bluebells now in the hedgerows

Sydling St Nicholas chalk stream, clear as clear water.

Into Cerne Abbas from Sydling St Nicholas, Giant on hill mid ground

And the Giant itself... just to it's left as you look at it you may make out the outline of Homer Simpson. This was painted on the hill, for a bit of fun, last year, and although the paint has long gone, the grass is still showing Homer and his "Donut" (click to enlarge)


  1. Great pictures. You have lovely scenery over your way.

  2. Thank you for introducing yourself to our little corner of paradise :)

    Thank you for those amazing photos of the Dartford Warbler and the beautiful landscape with the beautiful wild gorse bushes:)

    I love birds..all wildlife really. The most exciting bird I ever saw is the kingfisher. We'd all gone out as a family, mum, dad and two boys, with our binos to a 'secret' stretch of river...told to us by the local RSPB warden. When we sat down on the banking and sat quiet for what seemed ages...my eyes nearly popped out of my head when one came into view and started fishing. I thought I'd die with excitement...and wondered if there would be any tea that night, for we waited and watched the little fellow till it was very dark :)

  3. I still haven't seen a Dartford Warbler ... even though I live right next to a Dorset heath... I can hear them but can't see them. I must make a concerted effort to find them this year. Lovely to see your pictures. Thanks for inspiring me! Jane

  4. I try to please OC, nothing like Newfoundland though.

    Wildlife Gardener - nice to hear from you, glorious little birds those Kingfishers

    Jane : Good luck in the quest, if you know Dorset you'll know where these were. Just below the carpark