A Big Hit and Two Misses

With a day of birding already planned for today all John, Pete and i had to decide was where to go. That decision was easily made with the arrival of a Great Spotted Cuckoo at Portland. As a UK Lifer for all three of us a real no brainer. We left my house at six and headed south. As we were passing Martin Down we decided on a short stop to try for Turtle Dove. A good call as we heard and then saw one just a few yards from the car park. Thenit was onwards to Portland. On arrival at Reap Lane we were encouraged to see a small crowd actively scoping a small group of bushes. After a quick look through someone elses scope to see the Cuckoo motionless deep in the bushes it was out with the bins to find it for myself. Despite its location some reasonably good views were had. It was then a case of waiting for it to move out into the open. While waiting we had a female Redstart and two Spotted Flycatchers to watch. After half-an-hour or so the Cuckoo flew out and landed fairly close giving everyone an excellent view and also for the photographers to start chasing it around. Apparently this was causing a fair level of upset later on in the morning.

Then it was onto the Bill where a few minutes of seawatching managed Gannet and Fulmar along with a few Auks. These were better seen around the Pulpit Rock with many Guillemots, a few razorbills and a couple of Shags noted. The rest of the walk round came up with little else so we then headed off to Ferrybridge. Here we managed Little and Sandwich Tern and a small group of waders contained Dunlin, Sanderling and a single Ringed Plover. Final stop was Lodmoor which had been graced by a Red-Rumped Swallow all morning. Unfortunately it and most of the other Swallows upped and left just a few minutes before we arrived. Also seen here for about thirty seconds had been a Bee-eater.These two would both have been UK ticks for me finally getting me to three hundred. But hey we got the target bird so it didn’t really matter. We spent a bit of time cecking out the reedbeds and had good views of Marsh Harrier amongst others. We then started off for home with a detour onto Salisbury Plain where we added Stone Curlew, 2 Curlews and a few Whinchats to the list.


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