After Teresa's recent surgery we decided that caravanning over the Easter weekend would be a little too strenuous and instead opted for 3 days at a nice B+B down in Weymouth with a show at the local Pavillion Theatre on the Saturday night.
Saturday was spent travelling and having a look around the shops in town and after a fairly late night, a little lay-in and the traditional "full English" Sunday morning saw us head across to Portland with a brief stop to scan the lagoon at Ferrybridge where only a party of about a dozen R B Mergansers created any interest.
We stopped at the "Obs" for about 45 mins where Teresa soaked up the glorious sunshine looking quite "chilled" on one of the benches on the terrace while I joined a few other visiting birders for a brief sea-watch also from the terrace.
It was fairly quiet but a passing Sandwich Tern and a small group of 5 Manxies were added to my meagre year list.We decided to pop over to the "Bill" where a Puffin had been reported on the sea and also where a group of 3 Bottle Nosed Dolphins which had been around all week had been earlier reported,we called into the quarry en-route to try to catch up with the local Little Owl which had as usual disappeared into one of the crevices between the boulders.
It was now late morning and with so much traffic on the sea almost all bird life with the exception of some Gannets,Shags and Guillemots had vanished.
We decided to head back to Weymouth to spend the afternoon at a local botanical gardens(yawnnnnnn!!....) and a quick visit back to the quarry soon got me on to the Little Owl and it even posed for a couple of photos.
A husband and wife pair of passing birders wondered what I was looking at seeing only a pile of rocks and were thrilled at seeing the Little Owl both having apparently not seen one for a few years !!
Monday saw me make an effort to get an early start and arriving at Lodmore at 6.45am was greeted by excellent views of the juv Spoonbill which has been around for a little while,playing it cool I thought to myself "I'll take some photos when the light improves and the sun is on the bird" only to see the birds rear end disappear to some distant far flung inaccessible side of the reserve-there's a moral there somewhere.
There wasn't much else about so I moved on to Radipole where some excellent views of singing Cetti's Warbler were obtained,a Marsh Harrier had been seen the previous day but didn't show whilst I was there and must have moved on.
After another hearty breakfast we decided to visit Dorchester which we found was "closed" for the day and moved on to Poole for another browse around more shops and a couple of "brownie points".
We called in at Lodmore again on the way back to try to catch up with the Spoonbill again but to no avail,a pair of Gargeney had been seen at the reserve viewed from the rugby club which I eventually found and after about 5 mins the pair flew in giving myself and 4 other visitors superb but brief views before disappearing around a corner into the reeds not to be seen again !!
Some Ruddy Ducks gave nice views and between dives posed quite well for a cople of photos,not the duck I wanted to photograph but quite handsome all the same!
We headed for home Tuesday morning and another fruitless brief visit to Lodmore for Spoonbill and Gargeney was compensated somewhat by the sight of an Osprey sat on top of a pylon at the side of the M5 not far from the Bridgewater turn-off,another year tick to round off an enjoyable weekend for us both.