First Visit to Portland This Year

A combination of a busy January and February followed by the lockdown meant that my first Portland visit of 2020 was not until almost the middle of June. The main reason for going was to fill some gaps in the year-list. Both myself and Ian went but in separate cars. Not particularly environmentally friendly but unfortunately the only way it could be done. We met on Salisbury Plain where not much was seen before heading to Portland via Martin Down. No sight or sound of Turtle Dove here unfortunately. A quick look in at Ferrybridge got us Little Tern and Mediterranean Gull but, other than Oystercatcher no waders. With the Obs being shut we had to pay to park in the main car park which hurt a bit. All but one of the hoped for birds were seen, Kittiwake, Guillemot, Razorbill and Common Scoter but over a couple of hours we didn’t manage to find a Puffin.

Having checked out some Starling flocks and not finding a Rosy we headed off to a housing estate in Weymouth where one had been around for a couple of days. After parking the cars and a short walk we soon found the birds favoured garden. AFter watching a flyover Marsh Harrier from nearby Radipole we started to look for the Starling and within a couple of minutes it flew into view alighting in a Pear Tree before flying to a garden fence and then down into the garden Not my favourite type of birding but the locals were pretty friendly so we didn’t feel to uncomfortable.

After twenty minutes or so of several great views we left and moved onto Radipole. Plenty going on here with a good number of species added to the day-list including some Bearded Tits. The planned stop on Salisbury Plain on the way home seemed in doubt when we ran into heavy rain but luckily it cleared and we arrived on the Plain in the dry. Heading off-road along one of our regular tracks I saw a Curlew standing in the middle of the track. I stopped and wound down the window to take some pictures and was pretty chuffed to hear a Quail calling. Our main target bird found with absolutely no effort. It sounded really close but as usual wasn’t seen. Other birds seen include Skylark, Corn and Red Bunting and to finish off a good day Stone Curlew.

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