Excellent birds at Weymouth and Portland

These included, Short-billed Dowitcher, Purple Heron, Little Bunting, Red-backed Shrike, Yellow Browed Warbler, Firecrest and Curlew Sandpiper. Unfortunately for us, these were all seen on Saturday and we were there today (Sunday) on a WOS trip. On the drive down we saw, amongst others, Buzzard, Kestrel, probable Merlin and a few Jays. We looked in at Lodmoor hoping for the Dowitcher but it was not seen. Arriving at Portland Bill we started with a sea-watch. Loads of Gannets, and a few Med. Gulls, Common Scoter and Auks were seen, one possible Great Skua was called but no Shearwaters. Also a single Shag amongst the Cormorants. Hundreds of Swallows and House Martins were heading out to sea. On the land were a few Wheatear and many Meadow Pipits and Linnets. A handful of Stonechat and a single Whinchat were found. A very unusual sighting was an albino House Martin. Leaving the Bill a stop was made at Southwell where we saw Blackcap and Chiffchaff but no Red-backed Shrike or Little Bunting. A lunch stop at Ferrybridge gave the chance to scan the waders for Curlew Sandpiper. It was not found amongst the many Dunlin and Ringed Plovers. Also here were Bar-tailed Godwit, Turnstone, Oystercatcher and more Med. Gulls. Next it was back to Lodmoor for another fruitless look for the Dowitcher and then to Radipole where we spent a couple of hours standing around waiting for the Purple Heron to appear. It didn’t! We did see or hear Kingfisher, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Marsh Harrier, Water Rail and Cetti’s Warbler whilst waiting. Despite the disappointment of the rarer birds having disappeared (especially the Dowitcher which has been seen every day since early September) it was a good days birding with around seventy species seen.

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