Portland Bill and the Somerset Levels

Five o’clock this morning saw myself and Ian leaving Brinkworth heading south for Portland. After a brief stop at Ferrybridge which picked up Sandwich Tern we arrived at a bright but breezy Portland. A brief stop at the Obs was made where a Blackcap was seen. Two year ticks already. We then headed down to the Bill and sheltering from the wind by the Lobster Pot Cafe we commenced seawatching. Most numerous were Gullemots and Razorbills along with good numbers of Gannets and Fulmars. Around a dozen Manx Shearwaters were also seen as were a few Rock Pipits.IMG_2757 (1024x682) Moving on from here we saw a smart male Redstart come in off the sea. Unfortunately this was the only migrant that we saw. From here we headed for Radipole. Plenty of action here with Marsh Harrier, Peregrine, Bearded Tit and many Cetti’s Warblers being the highlights. Next stop was Portesham to try for the long staying Pallas’s Warbler. After a bit of a wait Ian caught sight of it and a couple of brief views were had, certainly enough to confirm the i.d. Then it was off on a pleasant cross country drive to the Somerset Levels where our main target bird was a White Stork that had been around for most of the week. Unfortunately information from pager and twitter suggested that it had headed off north and had been seen over Gloucestershire.However there were still some good birds to be had there so we carried on. Between Meare Heath, Ham Wall and Tealham Moor we managed to bag, Garganey, Great White Egret, Glossy Ibis, Ring-necked Duck, White Wagtail and Cattle Egret.IMG_2764 (1024x682) We also heard four booming Bitterns. From here it was a drive back on the motorways to Brinkworth. We ended the day on a creditable eighty species from which I managed ten year-ticks.

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