22 Jan 18

Wakeham

A new arrival to the bird feeders today with a male Chaffinch closely followed by the female. That's 10 species recorded on the feeders now. Here's the full list to date: Wood Pigeon, Robin, Song Thrush, Long-tailed Tit, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Magpie, House Sparrow, Chaffinch and Goldfinch.

Two new arrivals to the feeders, a pair of Chaffinches.

Ferrybridge

It was a quick trip down to Ferrybridge at lunchtime to see if there was anything about. A bit disappointing really, with just a handful of Red-breasted Mergansers, 4 Cormorants and 20+ Herring Gulls, Black-headed Gulls and a Great Black-backed Gull. Overhead 21 Linnets flew north and there was a single Rock Pipit on the beach.

Ferrybridge

A Cormorant dries its wings.

3 Red-breasted Mergansers with the drake on the right.

An adult Great Black-backed Gull with Herring Gulls of various ages around it.

21 Jan 18

Wakeham

A wet miserable day, so nothing much to report. The only action was around the feeders with 3 Great Tits, a Blue Tit, 1 Robin, 1 Wood Pigeon and 2 Magpies amongst the visitors.

20 Jan 18

The Bill

I spent down at the Bill and as per normal it was chucking it down with rain. Fortunately the weatherman got it right and the rain eventually eased off and the sun appeared briefly. Main highlights today were 7 Purple Sandpipers by the Pulpit, a Merlin over the Top Fields and a Fulmar just off the West Cliffs.

Other highlights were the dozens of Gannets and auks in a feeding frenzy way off the Races to the south, also a Peregrine that flew across the fields and then used the updraft from the west cliffs to hold itself still in the wind.

Here are a few images from this afternoon:

Looking south as the sun finally comes out.

Looking east from the Pulpit Rock with the Lighthouse and Obelisk in the background 

Well out to sea a distant shot of dozens of Gannets, Kittiwakes and gulls in a feeding frenzy over the "Races".

Here a Gannet comes close to shore.

An Oystercatcher looking for a safe rock to land on.

Just to the left of the Pulpit Rock 7 Purple Sandpipers brave the elements.

Nothing like a good bathe, even if it's in saltwater.

A Guillemot just of the west cliffs...... 

......where I came across my first Fulmar of the year.

A Cormorant puts on the air brakes as it comes into land.

These wildlife photographers were given great close-up shots of this Kestrel. Nothing unusual I know, but the Kestrel was actually further away and flew to them!!
Eventually it took off and landed on the signpost close by.

Birds recorded: 1 Fulmar, Gannet, Shag, Cormorant, Buzzard, Peregrine Falcon, 1 Merlin, 3 Kestrel, Pheasant, Oystercatcher, 7 Purple Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Kittiwake, Razorbill, Guillemot, Wood Pigeon, Rock Pipit, Dunnock, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Starling, Chaffinch and Linnet.

Ships Today

This is the Songa Delmar.......

..... a Bulk Carrier flying the flag of the Marshall Islands

This ship is now docked into Portland Harbour having.........

.......sailed here from Tubarao in Brazil. More on this vessel Here.

19 Jan 18

Lodmoor RSPB Reserve

Having missed out on the Lesser Yellow-legs, Cattle Egret, Slavonian Grebe and Red-necked Grebe on my last trip here, I decided to see if could break this voodoo on arriving at a site only to find the birds I was after had flown. This time I was in luck and the two species I was looking for showed up well.

My first species was a Spoonbill, which has been at the Reserve for a few days now. I decided to park up in Southdown Avenue Here and walk anti-clockwise around the reserve. I was only a few metres into the Reserve and straight away I heard the jingling calls of Bearded Tits coming from the reedbeds. Sadly I didn't see any, but that might have been down to Marsh Harrier hunting low over the reeds here.

A bit further round I met a couple of birders Here, who informed me the Spoonbill was by the "Hump" which was on the opposite side to where we were standing. As we chatting, blow me down if it didn't fly in and land close to us. What a result and what a lovely bird despite all the coloured leg rings it was wearing.

Also in this area were 3 Little Grebe, Shelduck, Mallard, Teal, Moorhen, Coot, Lapwing, Dunlin, Snipe, Black-tailed Godwit, Black-headed Gull, Mediterranean Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Common Gull, a fly-by Kingfisher, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, Cetti's Warbler, Greenfinch and Bullfinch.
Continuing my walk I arrived at the Hump where there were many more Black-tailed Godwits and Dunlin feeding in the shallows here.

From here I walked down the path that bisects the reserve and comes out by Southdown Avenue. The sun was dropping fast, not ideal conditions to be looking for Greater Scaup which was my second quarry. Not sure if it was by luck or "skill", but I came across 40+ Pochard hard up against the reeds and I caught a glimpse of a bird that had a slightly darker back than the drake Pochards. Despite being in the shadows and me looking into the sun, it was possible to separate it from the Pochard which were also sleeping.

Using my scope I managed to to zoom in and bingo a Greater Scaup. Or that is what I thought, until I posted images of it on Social Media and it transpires that this bird is a hybrid and most likely a Pochard x Tufted Duck.

Here are few images from this afternoon:

The Spoonbill comes into land.

Sporting at least 6 coloured leg rings.

You can see how it gets its name.

Not obvious here but its caught a fish.

A quick flick and the fish has been thrown up from the tip of its bill and heading towards the mouth.

The Spoonbill feeding in the shallows.

Lots of Lapwings resting up in the shallows.

A close-up of this beautiful plover, which also goes by the names of Pee-wit and Green Plover

Two of the many Black-tailed Godwits here on the reserve.

And one of the many Snipe.........

.....here's on in flight.

Here are a few of the many Dunlin feeding in the shallows.

Pretending to be a drake Pochard, a Greater Scaup at the rear. Or so I thought......

......here's a side profile, but not of a Greater Scaup, but most likely a Pochard x Tufted Duck hybrid.

I very nearly didn't spot this hybrid in amongst the Pochard, as it was so similar in appearance. 

A Common Gull or not so common as it used to be.

A Bullfinch. it might not be in focus but there's no getting away with that white rump, which is what you normally see of this shy finch.
A bit of a surprise a Song Thrush out in the open. A very shy thrush, unlike Blackbirds which to a certain extent will tolerate man coming up close to it, Song thrushes will disappear very quickly into the bushes if they see you.
Birds Recorded: 5 Little Grebe, Cormorant, 1 Little Egret, 1 Spoonbill, Mute Swan, Canada Geese, Shelduck, Mallard, Gadwall, Teal, 10+ Shoveler, Tufted Duck, 1 Pochard x Tufted duck hybrid, 40+ Pochard, 1 Marsh Harrier, 5 Water Rail, Moorhen, Coot, 50+ Lapwing, 40+ Dunlin, 20+ Snipe, 20+ Black-tailed Godwit, Black-headed Gull, Mediterranean Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Common Gull, Wood Pigeon, 2 Collared Dove, 1 Kingfisher, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1 Pied Wagtail, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Song Thrush, 3 Cetti's Warbler, Bearded Tit, Wren, Magpie, Rook, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, 50+ Starling, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch and Bullfinch.

18 Jan 18

Pennsylvania Castle wood and Church Ope Cove

Well the walk started off really nice with the sun out and good views of the Yellow-browed Warbler in the wood. I even came across a female Blackcap and a lone Firecrest. Yep definitely a good start. Also in the woods were several Chaffinches, 3 Goldfinches and 4 Goldcrests including a juvenile minus its crests, most bizarre.

A walk down through St Andrews Church and a small flock of Long-tailed Tits passed through with 2 more Goldcrests attached.

Onto the beach and good to hear the Grey Wagtail calling, though I didn't get to see it as it headed up over Penns wood. It was very quiet on the beach with just a Wren and a single Rock Pipit which landed and then immediately took off.

And then the weather changed. Oh my word did it rain and as it got heavier so it turned to hail. It absolutely chucked it down. I found my shelter under the ivy in amongst the beach huts, but even here it was coming through.

Eventually it eased off, and as it did so a flock of Long-tailed Tits descended onto the Hebe and brambles behind the huts. In amongst these were 3 Firecrests, 2 Goldcrests, Great Tits and Blue Tits. It was like a mass feeding frenzy and they seemed oblivious to me and Ted as we stood right in their path. Its not often I have to zoom back on my camera, but the Firecrest was so close at one stage I could almost touch it.

And as quick as they arrived they disappeared up the south slope towards Ope Caravan Park. With the rain now just a slight drizzle I headed up the steps to Rufus Castle and came across another Firecrest in the brambles by the Sycamores half-way up. At the top another crest called out this time a Goldcrest.

Here are a few images from this afternoon.

A Gannet way out to sea.

A Goldcrest with its gold crest.

A side profile of a Goldcrest.

And a rather bedraggled looking Firecrest, caught out in the heavy rain.

Birds Recorded: Gannet, Cormorant, Herring Gull, Wood Pigeon, 1 Rock Pipit, 1 Grey Wagtail, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, 1 Blackcap, 1 Yellow-browed Warbler, 9 Goldcrest, 5 Firecrest, Long-tailed Tit, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch and Goldfinch.

Ships Today
  
A navy vessel way off The Bill. Sadly not showing up on the marine traffic website.

This is the Valiant Ace a vehicles carrier flying the flag of the Marshall Islands. It's on its way to Zeebrugge, Belgium from Vigo, Spain. More on this vessel Here.

And the one that got away. I'm not sure why I can't find this on the marine traffic website, it must under the radar.

17 Jan 18

Wakeham

The "resident" Song Thrush has really taken a liking to the fatballs on the feeder in the back garden.

The coast is clear.....

....and then the Song Thrush digs into the fat ball.


The Bill

A trip down to the Bill this lunchtime, just to see if anything had been blown in by the storm force winds. There were plenty of seabirds to the east of Portland from The Shambles into Weymouth Bay, with lots of auks, Gannets and Kittiwakes.

Around the Bill, to the left of the Obelisk, were 3 Purple Sandpipers, and where there was shelter along the rocks, I came across 7 Rock Pipits and 5 Oystercatchers.

Here are a few images from today, including two very brave surfers.

The 3 Purple Sandpipers down by the obelisk.

Purple Sandpiper

Purple Sandpiper

Purple Sandpiper

A ruffled Rock Pipit.

That's better.

Cormorant

One of the 4 Oystercatchers coming into land.

A Raven with two Carrion Crows behind.

Centre frame 2 surfers.

Calm waters, just waiting for that decent wave.

It looks like one is in sight and the surfers prepare to ride the wave.

In comes a roller.....

....but not this time. However a fairly decent wave did eventually come in...............


You see some unusual sights on Portland and today it was two surfers on the east side of The Bill. I think this is what they call extreme sport.

Birds Recorded: Gannet, Shag, Cormorant, Kestrel, 4 Oystercatcher, 3 Purple Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Kittiwake, Wood Pigeon, Skylark, Rock Pipit, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Raven, Starling, Chaffinch and Linnet.

Ships Today

This is the Italian vehicles carrier, Grande Anversa on its way from Antwerp, Belgium to Bristol. More on this vessel Here.

This is the vehicles carrier Emerald Race flying the flag of the Marshall Island and is on its way from Southampton to Halifax, Canada. More on this vessel Here.