Dartford Warbler, Bournemouth

Well, not exactly Bournemouth but it’s more of an eye-opener that way. Fisherman’s Walk Zig Zag, Boscombe to be precise. That is in Bournemouth Unitary Authority, which is technically not Dorset, so in my book Hampshire can reclaim it. Not that this helps the county list because it’s one of only two where I’ve seen Dartford warbler. That was at Acres Down and the other was Slapton Ley, Devon – both twelve years ago.

Twelve years! Imagine my disbelief then as I just nipped out between heavy showers to admire the clouds and light at the Overcliff Nature Reserve and this Sylvia warbler popped up in front of my nose. In the same family as blackcap, this bird gave no cause for binoculars: its profile was so distinctive. Even so I grabbed great close-ups as it foraged through the cliff-edge gorse. It was like winning the lottery without entering.

More predictable later was dipping on the red-breasted goose at Stanpit Marsh, Christchurch. The reserve was hard to find and then its entrance path was under water. Boy, it has rained. I know: I’d driven through hail, lightning and road-rivers at Yeovil the day before.

The rest of yesterday took me to Brownhill Inclosure and Minstead (Arthur Conan Doyle‘s last resting place) in the New Forest for not much more than a flyover crossbill at the latter. I’m finally calling that a year bird after rejecting a similar call at Black Down earlier in the month. Now let’s see what’s around Steyning.

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