On Sunday Jackie and I led a group from Kent around Portland and Lodmoor, though a little late for migration here we had a pretty good time searching out the regular birds. We started with a seawatch off the Bill though we had to wait a short while until the lighthouse fog horn had completed its test so we weren't deafened by 'Old Bill'. It was very quiet over the sea with little movement but the Gannets were coming in close as they passed, and the local auks both Guillemot and Razorbill were very active coming and going from their nesting ledges to there fishing areas out to sea. We had a pair of the local Fulmars cruise by along the edge of the West Cliff passing really close giving excellent views. We also had good views of Rock Pipit and Linnets while several Swallows were seen coming in off the sea. The best here I think was without doubt the Little Owl in the Obs quarry who was sat out taking the sun allowing everyone good views and to take as many photographs as they pleased. Kestrel and Buzzard and Raven were also seen as well as the usual suspects.
We had a very nice lunch overlooking the Chesil Bank at Portland Heights before moving the short distance down to Ferrybridge. Where we had a short walk across to the fenced area that protects the Little Tern colony, en-route we saw summer plumaged Dunlin and Sanderling along the shoreline and Ringed Plover several running around inside the fenced area. But the target species here was the Little Terns and they performed well giving good scope views to all.
|The Obelisk & Portland Bill Lighthouse © Nick Hull
|Ringed Plover - Chesil Bank © Nick Hull
The rest of the afternoon was spent walking around Lodmoor, here we saw the usual breeding species Reed, Cetti's Warblers, Moorhen, Coots, Mallard, Gadwall, Tufted Duck and Pochard and more. Of particular interest here was the Common Tern nesting islands which were packed with lots of activity with birds coming and going. Mixed in with the terns were the odd Black-headed Gull and Oystercatcher both seemed to be nesting as well. A Marsh Harrier was seen quartering the reserve looking for a meal no doubt to feed her young which must be large enough now for her to leave the nest to hunt locally. A brief view of a very fast Bearded Tit, though better views were had of the Swifts that fed overhead and only just overhead at that.
|One of Lodmoor's Tern Islands
Both Jackie I would like to thank Richard and Simon and all the Kent group for making it a very pleasurable days birding and we hope to see you all again sometime in the future.