Great Weather = Poor Variety of Birds

Sunday just gone it was the day for the WOS autumn meeting at Portland. The forecast was for another nice day which is normally what most people want for a day at the coast. For birders this isn’t always the case and unfortunately for us it meant that although there were plenty of birds about there was very little in the way of good migrants. Three of us (Myself, Richard and Steve) left Swindon at 06.30 and for a change I got to sit in the passenger seat.  Not much of interest was seen on the way down, a Jay was about the best. Our first stop was the Haylands estate at Weston to look for the Rosy Starling that has been seen on and off for the last few days. Housing estates aren’t my favourite birding sites, especially when you are checking the rooftops and realise that someone is looking back at you from their bedroom window. It was all to no avail as all we found were Common Starlings. The fields adjoining the estate had good numbers of Mipits and Goldfinches. Moving on we met up with the rest of the group at the Bill car park. Walking down to the sea there were a few Wheatears seen and more Mipits. We started off with a short seawatch. Short because there were very few birds to watch. Other than gulls we managed half-a-dozen Razorbills, a couple of Gannets, one flock of five Scoters and a single distant Shearwater species. Then it was off to the Obs quarry to try for the Wryneck that has been around for most of the week. First bird seen was the resident Little Owl. It was the a case of watching Robins, Wrens and Dunnocks whilst waiting for the Wryneck to show. Eventually it did show giving all of the group good views.We were also treated to a couple of flyovers by a Peregrine. Next was a walk around the Top Fields after a quick look-in at the Obs, where it was confirmed that quality birds were in short supply, as had been the case for most of the previous week. The walk turned up a couple of Chiffchaffs, several Stonechats and more Mipits. Many Swallows and House Martins were passing overhead. A quick look at the rocks on the eastern side added Rock Pipit and Turnstone to the day-list. After eating our sarnies we headed off to Ferrybridge with another look for the Rosy Starling on the way. Again no luck but we did have a Wheatear perched on a rooftop. Ferrybridge gave us Little Egret, a couple of Med Gulls and five wader species, Oystecatcher, Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Barwit and Curlew. As usual we finished up at Lodmoor which turned out to be the best site of the day. Walking the western path we had great views of Bar and Blackwit, Grey Plover, Dunlin and a single Curlew Sandpiper. Annoyingly I had left my camera in the car so missed out on some potentially good photographs. In the gull flock were almost sixty Med Gulls of various ages which with expert help from Granville gave many of us the opportunity of a masterclass in their identification. Some of the group also saw Snipe and Water Rail here. Small birds were in short supply here with most (mainly Cetti’s) being heard but not seen. Moving further around the reserve we had Grey and Common Sandpiper, a single Barnacle Goose amongst the many Canada Geese and Kingfisher that stayed perched on a post for a good while before flying across in front of us. It was then time to head back to the cars and to set off home. As usual we had an enjoyable day, disappointing for the lack of migrants but otherwise good. Thanks to Graham for leading  and to Richard for driving. My total for the day was sixty-six species ( with just a single year-tick) but as most of these were written down at the end of the day rather than as we went along I may have missed a couple.


4 responses to “Great Weather = Poor Variety of Birds

  1. I’m glad you are out and about again, Malc. Not a bad day on Sunday (we were there over the weekend, but didn’t join up with you WOS lot), and the crab sarnies at the cafe were good but expensive. Best wishes, Jenny

  2. Richard Williams

    Thanks for the report Malcolm. Martin has put mine on the SBaW Readers Corner so please feel free to read and check the list. I had a bit of a longer list but how did I manage to completely forget the Little Owl?! It must have been the excitement of seeing my first Wryneck.
    Hopefully see you again soon

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