|fishing boats with gulls in attendance|
|Portland Bird Observatory|
Day 1:Leaving home at 4a.m. meant I arrived on Portland just after 7 and drove into thick fog. This, somewhat disappointingly, meant no sea watching, so I had a wander around The Bill and West cliffs. Shag and raven were new for the year as well as some whinchats, linnets (400+) finches, redstarts and stonechats. A few wheatear and rock pipits were grubbing around near the Bill Quarry before I popped into the bird observatory, base for the next few days. Once unpacked and coffee'd I set off for Ferrybridge.
|linnets, whinchats, goldfinch and stonechats along the fence.|
|Shag: The Bill|
|horses in the fog|
|Little Owl: obs quarry|
|Rock Pipit; The Bill|
|Grey Heron: Lodmoor|
|Med gull, Lodmoor|
Day 2:Up early and after a cup of tea, down to The Bill for more seawatching. The weather was calm, warm and cloudless, so useless for sea movement so I went along the West Cliffs where a peregrine got on to the year list. More ravens, chats and finches. I then headed to Suckthumb quarry where a solitary sedge warbler and clouded yellow butterflies was seen before I received a text saying 4 ortolans had been found in Top Fields. I returned but they were not to be relocated. A visit to Lodmoor ensued where wood sandpiper, med gull and a most aerial hobby were added to the growing trip list. I then headed back to the obs, where assistant warden Joe had trapped a kestrel. Photo shoot time on the patio. Another quick check of the obs quarry gave views of little owl, lesser whitethroat, whitethroat, redstart and another year lister: nightingale. I then took the moth trap out to Culverwell, had a meal and a glass of wine before a return visit to The Pulpit Inn. Then, off to keep an eye on the trap, which, by 1.30a.m. was getting good moths. 9 dark swordgrass and 8 vestals were noted in and around the light, along with good numbers of common moths. By now it was raining, so back to bed, ready for a daybreak start later that day. Bed by 2.15 meant 4 hours sleep. I was hoping the rain would have knocked some migrants out of the sky, so keen for the early beginning.
|trapped and ringed kestrel|
|busy moth trap!|
|garden tiger moth|
Day 3:I awoke early and was out soon after first light. Plenty of willow warblers and a few chiffchaffs gave me hope that something good would be about, but the sea was very quiet. Another peregrine was noted over the cliffs so back to the bird obs for breakfast and to see what was about. Very little, but tree pipits overhead were new for the year and 3 spotted flyctachers in the obs garden, along with willows and a redstart were all good. I decided to beat the rush on the M25 so left to head for home around 11 and made good progress until I reached the motorway at Heathrow; a car park. Eventually, I came off and made my way across country, the journey taking over 5 hours. A brilliant visit and one I hope to make again for more successful sea watching as autumn fades into winter.
Trip List:little grebe; fulmar; balearic shearwater; gannet; cormorant; shag; little egret; grey heron; mute swan: canada goose (10 sp) mallard; gadwall; teal; tufted duck; common buzzard; sparrowhawk; kestrel; hobby; peregrine; moorhen (20 sp) coot; oystercatcher; ringed plover: lapwing; dunlin; little stint; wood sandpiper; common sandpiper; bar tailed godwit; pomarine skua; (30 sp) black headed gull; common gull; mediterranean gull; herring gull, yellow legged gull; lesser black backed gull; great black backed gull; stock dove; wood pigeon; collared dove (40 sp) little owl; green woodpecker; swallow; house martin; rock pipit, tree pipit; pied wagtail; white wagtail; yellow wagtail; grey wagtail; (50 sp) wren; dunnock; robin; redstart; wheatear; whinchat; stonechat; blackbird; blackcap; lesser whitethroat; (60 sp) whitethroat; sedge warbler; willow warbler; chiffchaff;spotted flycatcher; pied flycatcher; pied flycatcher; great tit; blue tit; bearded tit (70 sp) magpie; jackdaw; carrion crow; raven; starling; house sparrow; chaffinch; linnet; goldfinch; greenfinch; (80 sp)nightingale