Friday, 12 October 2012

Portland - 8th October 2012

The moth trap at home held 11 Silver Y and 3 Angle Shades so with light south-easterlies and drizzle Duffy and I thought we would head over to Portland to see what may be lurking thereabouts.

We bypassed  Lodmoor as it was quite foggy so not sure if the Short-billed Dowitcher would be visible (it wasn't seen all day it later transpired) and headed for Ferrybridge. The tide was quite high but not many waders were present, just 1 Grey Plover, 5 Barwit, 2 Sanderling a few Turnstone, Dunlin and Ringed Plover. A few gulls were in front of the visitor centre and Med Gull numbers swelled from 3 to 13 in the quarter of an hour we were there, also present were two 2nd winter Yellow-legged Gull. 44 Brent Geese were out on the water and passerines were represented by a Wheatear and a Whinchat in the car park.

Moving on to the Obs as soon as we got out of the car in the car park there we were hit by a wall of birds, mostly Chiffs and Goldcrests with plenty of finch action overhead. A Firecrest and a Pied Flycatcher soon appeared to add a bit of variety, not bad considering we hadn't moved more than a few feet from the car. The Observatory has done a wonderful job recently in buying up nearby land and just over the road from the Obs they've planted a good variety of plants to attract birds and these fields were teeming with Linnet and Goldfinch with a few Chaffinches and a couple of Brambling. A flock of 38 Skylark got up from a stubble field and there were at least 7 Stonechat and 3 Whinchat in the weedy fields too. Carrying on up to Helen's Fields several Robin were around and a rather noisy male Redstart livened up proceedings. It was quite hard going in the light drizzle and heavy mist but there was always a feeling that something good was just around the corner. Via Martin Cade's twitter feed we learnt of a Yellow-browed Warbler trapped and ringed at the Obs which would have been nice to see in the hand and as much as they are smashing birds I wasn't going to dash back to the Obs for it. Moving down to Culverwell several Chiffchaff and Robin were immediately apparent and a couple of Blackcap lumbered around. I made my way along the slightly overgrown net ride down towards the marshy area, it was alive with more Chiffs, Goldcrests and a Reed Warbler as well as what were probably migrant Blue and Great Tits. A couple of sycamores in the bottom corner (near the road) were heaving with yet more Chiffs and crests and after waiting about ten minutes and with arms starting to ache through having to lift the bins every few seconds a couple of wing bars popped into view, a Yellow-browed Warbler - nice. Andrew joined me, as he was viewing from the road, and we enjoyed great views of the bird and could see that it wasn't ringed so clearly a different bird to the Obs (in fact two were ringed there on the day). A Yellow Wagtail flew over calling and another Reed Warbler was in the vegetation adjacent to the road.

No photos today so here are a couple from a previous visit on 27th September
Convolvulous Hawk Moth

Funnel Cloud

And on the way home on the 27th popped into Lodmoor and nailed this within a couple of minutes and here's a crap digi-scoped effort:

Short-billed Dowitcher

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