Friday, 14 October 2016

Portland Bill & Weymouth birding

Sunday 9th October
While waiting to meet Helena, Anna and Steve at Portland Heights Hotel three Ring Ouzels flew low over the hotel, just the start of a great birding day. After a quick coffee and chat we were off to Portland Bill, checked what was around first then walked over to the Obs Quarry, where the Little Owl was already sat out. In the quarry itself were several Chiffchaffs as well as the usual Robin, Dunnock and Wren etc. Over the fields were a large flock of Linnets, a few Skylarks flew overhead while Swallows were swooping low over the crop.

Moving back to the road there was a small group of birders gathering round the Crown Estate Field where the ringing nets were. We were treated to a superb male Bearded Tit sitting up giving brilliant views, he came even closer to us, shame we didn’t have our cameras but amazing photos can be found on Portland Obs blog at Moving up the top fields a Kestrel was constantly hunting over the fields, a couple of Ravens flew over and of course there were plenty of Meadow Pipits also Pied/White Wagtails. A few Stonechats were seen, probably migrating through as well. Our raptor tally went up with a Sparrowhawk dashing through and a soaring Buzzard. 
Bar-tailed Godwit  © Nick Hull
We moved on to Ferrybridge and a look over the Fleet Nature Reserve from the visitor centre, a few waders could be seen with Grey Plover, Bar-tailed Godwits, Sanderling and Dunlin. While the Mediterranean Gulls were by far the most numerous species to be seen, in with them were six Sandwich Terns. After lunch in the cafe we moved on Lodmoor RSPB nature reserve, but first stopping at the tennis courts for a look over Radipole lake. Wildfowl included Gadwall, Shoveler and Little Grebe, while the loud song of a Cetti’s Warbler was heard but remained unseen in the bush next to us.

At Lodmoor we walked along Southdown Avenue and immediately we saw an adult female Marsh Harrier quartering the reedbeds. A Stonechat popped up in front of us and a Little Grebe started Whinnying and watched a Little Egret fly over. In the pools were a good number of splendid drake Pochard. We were now near the end of the road and watched House Sparrows and Starlings in the hedges and flying into the gardens on to the feeders. We didn't wait long before a row of five starlings sat on the wires, the bird nearest to us was a juvenile Rose-coloured Starling giving us great close views and comparisons.

We drove round the other side of the reserve and found a few Teal, Black-tailed Godwit, Dunlin and Lapwing near the Tern islands, also a Wheatear on the bank. A Sparrowhawk flew across and we walked on further and came across a few more waders. Stopping to look at a Green Sandpiper and a Snipe, a Bar-tailed Godwit landed in front of us along with a single Curlew Sandpiper. Unfortunately a Lapwing saw then off, we followed them and found a few more waders plus Grey Heron and then finished our day with views of a Water Rail.

Portland Bill © Nick Hull

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