Sunday, 21 September 2014

Weekend at Portland Bill

Picking Gary up at noon and then driving to Portland on Friday meant we were birding around the Bill by 5.30pm, ticking off regular birds for this area such as shag, raven, rock pipit, wheatear and peregrine before returning to Weymouth to our b and b, an Indian and several beers.
Saturday morning and a full day beckoned. A stop off at Ferrybridge but little to be recorded due to a high tide and fog, so off to the bird observatory. Here, not much had arrived so after a wander we headed off to the Admiralty Quarry, but no hooded crow. A new place for both of us and an area that has potential. From here we popped into Radipole where we scored with kingfisher, bearded reedling, snipe, grey heron etc before a return to The Bill. En route we heard that a black guillemot was in Weymouth harbour and, following directions from Sean (many thanks, Sean) we found it as Sean arrived and pinpointed it some way out. A lifer for Gary.We then headed back to The Bill and a wander up to the privet hedge. Here, a most confiding wryneck was a year lister for both of us and one that we took plenty of photos of as it was showing so well. Not to be outdone, the local confiding kestrel proved to be even more tolerant of us than the wryneck, so some splendid photos.
meadow pipit

wheatear

shag

wheatears

The Bill

Sunset

carrion crows in morning fog


kestrel

friendly wryneck

wryneck

Another wander around The Bill added common buzzard, whinchat and stonechat before the light faded and we returned to Weymouth for another Indian and a few more beers at The Royal Oak and Edinburgh (The House of Sounds!)
This morning dawned bright and slightly more windy. Chance of a fall of birds, so we were at the Obelisk at 6.50a.m. but no passage. A willow warbler and good numbers of wheatear around here before we returned to the bird obs. It was apparent that there had been a reasonable fall of chiffchaff, with maybe 20 in the bird obs back garden and another 30 in the front, where also, a yellow browed warbler was recorded. The Obs quarry was full of regular birds, including the resident little owl as well as blackcap, whitethroat, robin, spotted flycatcher, linnet and numerous chiffchaff. A sea watch from the Obs patio gave views of several gannet and a great skua.
A quick walk up to Culverwell was most worthwhile because as we arrived, Joe appeared with a tree pipit to ring. Another lifer for Gary and he'll never get better views of one.
Huge numbers of linnets and more of the same here and back at The Obs garden. Time was pressing so after a final check around the West cliffs, stonechat, numerous wheatear, common buzzard and more kestrels and a flyover peregrine, we completed our stay with a flying visit to Ferrybridge. turnstones, ringed plover, med gull, dunlin, black tailed godwit all made the list, finishing with a pleasing 72 species.
Many thanks to warden Martin and assistant Joe for their help and willingness to show birds in the hand as they went about their job of ringing. Suspect the day total of chiffchaff was quite high!
Portland sunrise

magpie and common buzzard

wall butterfly


rock pipit

little owl

spotted flycatcher

tree pipit

raven



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This is me

This is me
At the end of another Norfolk Coastal footpath walk. 47 miles, 3 days 99 species of bird

Caley Wood view

Caley Wood view
sunshine through the canopy 29.05.08

A walk along the Warta Valley, Poznan, Poland. Feb 2007

A walk along the Warta Valley, Poznan, Poland. Feb 2007
Best birds on this walk: black and middle spotted woodpecker and short toed treecreeper

About Me

My photo
A primary school teacher for 30 years, I retired from teaching in July 2009 to set up my own science enhancement and communication company. The Primary Works offers science clubs, workshops and staged science shows nationwide. I have always been interested in bird watching since my early years. Apparently my first tick was after inquiring about a chaffinch and then receiving the Observer book of birds. By the age of 9 I had moved on to Tory Peterson's collins guide and was now involved on YOC birding holidays to Northumbria, Essex coast, Slimbridge and Yorkshire. My twitching rule is that I will willingly travel 1km for each gram the bird weighs. However, I have had many rarities just by being in the right place. I have travelled widely throughout Europe and also visited Australia and Sri Lanka. Further European destinations are planned and a bigger trip to The Crimea was planned for 2014 but now not possible. so 2014: Sri Lanka in January, Poland in April, Madeira in June and The Camargue in July. So far 2015 has been Sri Lanka in Jan, Poland in Feb, Sri Lanka in April and The Camargue coming up in 1st week of September.

Grey heron

Grey heron
Over the allotment 28.09.08

Southern Hawker

Southern Hawker
Ridge footpath 27.08.08

Juvenile green woodpecker (17.08.08)

Juvenile green woodpecker (17.08.08)
Note the stripes, denoting a bird fledged this year.

common blue

common blue
Ash Valley G.C. 15.08.08

Indian balsam (impatiens glandulifera)

Indian balsam (impatiens glandulifera)
River Ash

azure damselfly

azure damselfly
River Ash 28.07.08

marbled white

marbled white
Discovered at Westland Green 22.07.08

ruddy darter

ruddy darter
Bush Wood 21.07.08

honeysuckle 19.07.08

honeysuckle 19.07.08
growing in hedgerow in Chapel Lane

cinnabar moth caterpillar

cinnabar moth caterpillar
Photographed on ragwort 19.07.08

Bittersweet

Bittersweet
Study of petals 11.06.08

male yellowhammer

male yellowhammer
08.06.08

common blue butterfly

common blue butterfly
06.06.08

River Ash

River Ash
looking south from the bridge at Hadham Ford

Common poppy (papaver rhoeas)

Common poppy (papaver rhoeas)
in rape field 29.05.08

Caley Wood sunshine

Caley Wood sunshine
29.05.08

Millenium Wood fox

Millenium Wood fox
24.05.08

common comfrey (symphytum officinale)

common comfrey (symphytum officinale)
06.05.08 banks of the River Ash

Garlic Mustard or Jack by the Hedge,(Alliara petiolata)

Garlic Mustard or Jack by the Hedge,(Alliara petiolata)
flowers, leaves and fruit edible . Good in salad and pesto

April showers

April showers
Double rainbow 30.04.08

Caley Wood bluebells

Caley Wood bluebells
22.04.08

Yellow Archangel

Yellow Archangel
Chapel Lane (20.04.08)

sunlight 16.04.08

sunlight 16.04.08
looking south west from Bush Wood

snowy buds

snowy buds
06.04.08 in Bush Wood

Looking north west

Looking north west
05.04.08 evening shower approaching

Back Garden

Back Garden
Easter Sunday (23.03.08)

Brick Kiln Hill

Brick Kiln Hill
Looking east (23.03.08)

No play today

No play today
The 2nd hole at Ash Valley golf course

Teasel head

Teasel head
Bush Wood (21.03.08)

Reflections

Reflections
daffodils at Bush Wood pond (21.03.08)

Swollen River Ash

Swollen River Ash
The river at the bottom of Winding Hill 16.03.08

Daybreak over the chapel

Daybreak over the chapel
Thursday 13th March

Wild daffodils (narcissus pseudonarcissus)

Wild daffodils (narcissus pseudonarcissus)
growing in Bush Wood

January snowdrops

January snowdrops
Banks of River Ash, north of Much Hadham

Good Moon

Good Moon
From garden 24.01.08

Village Green

Village Green
Looking east towards Acremore Street

Looking south before Hadham Ford

Looking south before Hadham Ford
rare January blue sky

Useful sites

The following are some useful websites that may interest readers of this blog.
Firstly, Bishop's Stortford Natural History Society http://bsnhs.webplus.net/

Fellow birder, Gary Whelan's blog. Gives reports from our trips out together plus reports from his trips abroad. http://hairybirders.blogspot.co.uk
http://www.hertsbirdclub.org.uk/ The official herts bird club website. Frequently updated, listing bird sightings around the county. Offers links to many other websites. Both of these sites also offer links to yahoo discussion groups.
http://www.birdforum.net/ An international site. You can enter as a guest but become a member( free) to post comments, bird sightings and just about anything to do with wild birds. Good news updates, classified section for binoculars, cameras etc.
http://www.guidedbirdwatching.com/ A new site set up where you can contact people worldwide who will help you find good birds in their country. UK section being set up presently.
http://www.britainsbirder.co.uk/
Fellow birders blog. Strtford resident, Graeme Smith regulary birds the area south of Stortford as well as around Spellbrook and the River Stort from Spellbrook to Twyford Locks. Some superb bird photography: Graeme uses a digital camera attached to his powerful telescope to get detailled images of the birds he sees. Well worth a browse.
Two local sites that may be of interest can be found at
http://www.thehadhams.com/ www.thepelhams.net/content/section/12/139/

South Easterly walk

South Easterly walk
black, normal, red extended walk

South Westerly route.

South Westerly route.
Black usual, red extended

North Easterly walk

North Easterly walk
black short, walk. Red, extended

North West Patch

North West Patch
black route regular. Red route the extended wander