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WEATHER: glorious sunshine all day, with a cold wind for most of the day. Temp. range 6-14C

It was great to be back on one of my local patches today and the weather was just dandy too. I drove 8 miles towards Dorchester and turned off at the Cattistock turning. The main entrance to Lankham Bottom is one the right about ¼ mile along the lane, I arrived at 8am. The only problem with visiting this wonderful site in the morning is that you are facing eastward into the sunlight as you walk onto the reserve.

the view down into Lankham Bottom

The first birds seen were a flock of Redwings, twenty two of them to be precise, they flew up over the top of me and headed northward.  You know that winter is imminent when you start seeing flocks of winter thrushes. In fact, flocks of birds was the order of the morning, they were not migrating but just flying to and fro across the valley. I saw flocks of Meadow Pipits, Linnets, Yellowhammers, Goldfinches and Skylarks at various times during my two hour walk.

hawthorn scrub on the slopes of Lankham Bottom

My main target bird was the Ring Ouzel, the habitat looks perfect for this species to drop in and feed up on the plentiful berries growing on the hawthorn bushes. I did see Blackbirds, Song Thrush and more Redwings in the hawthorns but not the Rouzel.


Robins, Wrens, Dunnocks, Jackdaws, Magpies, Carrion Crows, Wood Pigeons, Blue & Great Tits all flitted around in the scrub and as I reached the southern boundary I saw a single Mistle Thrush with six Fieldfares. A Kestrel flew low over the hillside as I walked back up to the exit gate and I flushed a Peregrine Falcon just after. A count of Stock Doves, 34, was the biggest number I had seen this month and Wood Pigeons were uncountable. Both Common Phrasant and Red-legged Partridge could be seen in neighbouring fields.

Pied Wagtail

my first Fieldfare of the autumn

When I returned to the flat at Stoford I heard a Pheasant calling from the meadow adjacent to our home, I looked over the wooden fence and saw 32 Common Pheasants and 15 Red-legged Partridges, god knows why they trying to climb the fence and get into our garden. Dawn said that she had seen 11 Pheasants along our fence just before I arrived. They must sense that a ‘shoot’ was taking place in the near future and were trying to escape the area.

looking over the fence into the Pheasant strewn meadow

For the rest of the morning Dawn and I drove to Uplyme and walked the two miles down to the beach at Lyme Regis. The route takes you along the course of the River Lim. We saw Chiffchaff, Grey Wagtail and all the common garden birds along the way, but not a Dipper.

the beach at Lyme Regis

the Eider in the harbour

At the beach we walked along to the Cobb where we found the almost resident Common Eider Duck in the harbour, Rock Pipits and Turnstones along the shoreline and both Cormorants and Shags on the stone break-water with Great Black-backed and Herring Gulls.

Turnstones above and the breakwater at the end of the Cobb. I was hoping that the first of the wintering Purple Sandpipers had arrived, but apparently not

After a nice lunch and a relaxing coffee we walked back to Uplyme and drove home, it had been a lovely, sun-shiny day!!