Portland and Weymouth

Off from paid work and decorating I had chosen the above as my destination for some birding today. Leaving home at half-five I almost changed my mind and headed for the Alpine Swift at Crawley. This would have been a lifer but with little else in that area I stayed true to my original plan. With the forecast for today of more strong wind I knew that it was likely that there wouldn’t be much in the way of migrants to be seen. Arriving at Portland before eight in bright sunshine it all looked good until I opened the car door. Wind was sure going to b the order of the day. In all  spent just under three hours here and apart from some year-ticks from the expected birds, Gannet, Guillemot, Razorbill, Shag and Fulmar there wasn’t much around. Along with gulls and corvids a few Meadow Pipits, Stonechats in the fields,  a Kestrel sheltering at the Pulpit InnIMG_7982 (1280x945) and a Blackcap in the Obs garden made up the numbers. The only migrants around were a Firecrest and a Wheatear and I saw neither. A couple of Manx Shearwaters had passed out to Sea but I missed those as well.

Moving on I made for Portland Castle where the regular Black Guillemot was nowhere to be seen. A few Merganser and the coastguard helicopter were the only things of interest. Ferrybridge was as quiet with just a few gulls (no Meds) and a Little Egret to be seen. Radiploe was next via B&Q where I needed to get a couple of samples of paint! While waiting at the mixing section I checked Twitter and was pleased to see that the Bonaparte’s Gull was still around. I parked by the Tennis Courts on Radipole Road and viewed from the fishing stand. I soon found the gull and spent a while watching as it flew around picking food from the surface of the water. On the couple of occasions it actually landed it was good to note the smaller size compared to the Black-headed it was with. Unfortunately it didn’t come close enough for a photo. Next stop was Lodmoor where as at Radipole there were several Cetti’s Warblers calling. Twenty or so more species added to the day-list here but nothing of note. Unusually, as at Ferrybridge there were no waders here. So a trip to the coast only managed one species, Oystercatcher at the Bill. Then it was off home with a brief stop on Salisbury Plain en-route. The highlight here was the Challenger tanks that were on the move. At one point I had to pull of of the track to let three of them past.IMG_7996 (1280x852) IMG_7998 (1280x918) A good move on my part.     On the bird front just three Lapwing, Stonechat, Buzzard,  Kestrel, corvids and pigeons were seen. In all fifty-four species which included seven year-ticks.

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