Saturday, 22 November 2014

Portland & Weymouth

We met at the car park at Portland Bill this morning with blue sky above with the promise of a dry day though the weather forecaster had said otherwise. After introductions we headed off out to the Obelisk for a little sea watching.  Almost immediately Jess spotted three Purple Sandpipers on the rocks below us and out to sea very much the usual gulls with a few Gannets, Guillemots, Cormorants and Shags.  
Purple Sandpipers, Portland Bill © Nick Hull
A small flock of Black-headed Gull had an immature Kittiwake tagging on behind as they passed us heading east.  Jackie picked up a small tern which disappeared behind a wave not to reappear which she thought was a Black Tern and I had what looked to be a starling sized auk which I'm sure was going to be a Little Auk but it flew into the sunny water and didn't appear to come out the other side,  Oh well these things happen can't get them all.  Moving on towards the Obs along the East Cliff we had several Rock Pipits as we walked around the Obs quarry we heard a sharp "Kee kee" like call and there above us was a pair of Peregrine. The surprise came when we were walking back between the Obs quarry and the Coastguard Cottages a chat flew up and it turned out to be a Whinchat, then a Black Redstart was on the roof of the end cottage, we had better views a few minutes later of a stunning male and then a immature with a tail missing which looked a little odd.  Back at the car park we had a pair of Raven sat on the rocks.  We then moved on to Portland Castle but as we drove past the Pulpit pub a Short-eared Owl flew across the slope of the West Cliff, then as we approached Weston we had another view of the pair of Peregrine this time both sat on fence posts. 
Pair Raven Portland Bill © Nick Hull
At Portland Castle our target was the wintering Black Guillemot though our first birds were a group of Red-breasted Mergansers and a Common Guillemot, then myself and Fran picked up the 'tystie' which gave good scope views even popping out of the water to rest on one of the mooring buoys. 
Black Guillemot - Portland Harbour © Nick Hull
Lunch at Ferrybridge added lots of Dunlin and Ringed Plover more R-breasted Mergansers and a couple of Little Egret out on the shoreline of the fleet.  Then on to Radipole where I challenged the group to find two Mediterranean Gull in amongst the resting gulls on the car park by the time they had found them the number had grown to four.  Cetti's Warblers and Water Rails seemed to be having a competition on who could call the loudest and still not be seen.  

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