Thursday, 25 October 2012

Winspit - 23rd October

The last time I was at Winspit was the 31st October 1993 so I thought it was about time I made a return visit! I didn't recall there being quite so much vegetation along the valley and it took me a lot longer than I anticipated getting down to where the Bluetail had been all those years ago. Robins, Blackbirds and Goldcrests were present in good numbers with a few Song Thrush for company. It was a bit late in the day for vis-mig and I suspect what few things were "moving" had arrived earlier and were just relocating slightly. About halfway down the valley I found my first Ring Ouzel of the day, a smart male, and the first Chiffchaff and Blackcap appeared. A Grey Wagtail and a Yellowhammer flew over but I suspect these were local birds rather than wanderers and a Little Owl called a couple of times up near the pumping station. I then headed up the east side of the valley to try and get a phone signal as with a Daurian Shrike down the road at Portland I wondered if anything else had turned up. I followed a Hawthorn hedgerow up the slope and more Blackbirds, Robins and a group of four Blackcap moved up ahead of me. A couple of Stonechat were in an adjacent field as well as some Meadow Pipit and another Yellowhammer. I managed to get a signal at the top of the slope and safe in the knowledge that I didn't need to be elsewhere I thought I'd have a wander around the coast facing slope. More of the same except for two more Ring Ouzel, which as ever were not very obliging but I obtained some record shots.

Ring Ouzel

Heavily cropped shots but they're representative of the usual views of Ring Ouzel.

Whilst eating my lunch I noticed some activity offshore and was pleased to see a small pod of seven (or so) Bottlenose Dolphins. I haven't seen any of these for many years and I must admit I've always called them Bottle-nosed Dolphin in the past!. I managed a few shots and although they breached clear of the water a couple of times I wasn't quick enough to capture it on film (well, SD card!). Here's a couple of photos and if you think my id is incorrect then please let me know.

 Bottlenose Dolphin

Looking east towards Anvil Point Lighthouse, Durlston.

Wandering back down towards the valley proper I was once again struck by how much habitat there was, loads of massive sycamores and not just the handful that I recalled from my visit of nearly 19 years ago. Birdwise it was still much of the same but with some Siskin and a lone Redpoll flying over, a single Bullfinch could also have been a migrant. A few Red Admiral and Speckled Wood were still on the wing and this one of the latter was enjoying some autumn sunshine.

Speckled Wood

A single Migrant Hawker was chasing smaller insects up in the sycamores too. Where the footpath meets the sea there's some great low vegetation in the gully there, and half a dozen Chiffchaff feeding actively.


A couple more Blackcap were present as well as more Robins and Blackbirds.


The occasional Song Thrush would fly over quite high up but Redwing were strangely low in numbers with just seven seen/heard.

 Song Thrush

I headed east along the lower coastal path and into the quarry, almost immediately I flushed an eared owl and thought it was probably a Long-eared but wanted to try and get better views. I saw roughly where it landed and thankfully I managed to locate it on the rock-face before it took flight again.

Long-eared Owl

A small slim falcon then appeared for a couple of seconds above the quarry heading east but with the poor light and brevity of the sighting no details could be ascertained - shame! I noticed a path which headed up to the coastal path proper so clambered up the steep slope in the hope that the falcon may have alighted and also to avoid disturbing the owl. I failed on both counts as there was no sign of the falcon and the owl flew from a cave below me, I took advantage of the great flight views and apologised for disturbing it again.

Long-eared Owl

I then noticed a Black Redstart down amongst the rocks in the quarry which was getting some stick from a Robin. With time getting on I started to make my way back up the valley towards Worth Matravers, there wasn't much more to report other than a Merlin which whizzed over me near the pumping station.

Totals were as follows:
Goldcrest 28
Chiffchaff 21
Swallow 4
Yellowhammer 11
Blackcap 13
Song Thrush 23
Robin 85
Blackbird 110
Grey Wagtail 1
Ring Ouzel 5
Bullfinch 4
Redwing 7
Little Owl 1
Siskin 17
Redpoll sp 1
Long-eared Owl 1
Black Redstart 1
Merlin 1

A pleasant afternoon and I'm looking forward to more visits in the future.


  1. Summer still hangs on over there then Marcus :-)
    Had a Black Redstart Here Yesterday :-)

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