30 Dec 18

Church Ope Cove and Penns Wood

Well if I thought Church Ope Cove was busy over the past week or so, then I was clearly mistaken. It was packed today and how I managed to record any birds was pretty amazing. Unsurprisingly the Rock Pipits were very flighty and though disturbed several times, they did return to the washed-up seaweed to feed on the hundreds of Kelp Flies. I guess the only real bonus of the pipits flying about was that I was able to count all 33 of them. Also on the beach were both the Grey and Pied Wagtails.

There was no sign of the Stonechat which like on other occasions was probably on Penns Weare just north of the cove, and also there was no sign of either the "Rock" and Hut" Robins. However I did get lucky with the Black Redstart, though a couple and their dogs walked straight past me and scared it and all the other birds in front of me. To say I was gobsmacked would be an understatement, especially when I was stood there with my binoculars and camera looking into the corner where they headed. I'm not being funny, but if it was the other way round, I would have stopped and asked if it was okay to go in front of me. Hey ho it happens. Rant over.

Needless to say the Black Redstart, and not for the first time, headed around the headland to the north-east of the cove. Well at least it hasn't moved on altogether.

At the back of the cove there were 2 Chiffchaffs and I also came across another one at the top of Penns Wood, where there was also another Grey Wagtail.

Here are few images from today:

A few photos of the Grey Wagtail

Another shot

And last one.

The male Pied Wagtail, making the most of the abundant food source.

A couple of the Rock Pipits had white feathers at the base of the tail.

Here is another showing a white "patch"

As above.

This one is having a stretch and no obvious white patch on this bird.

Difficult to see but this bird has just gobbled a Kelp Fly.

Birds Recorded: 3 Gannet, Cormorant, 1 Kestrel, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Wood Pigeon, 33 Rock Pipit, 1 Pied Wagtail, 2 Grey Wagtail, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Wren, 3 Chiffchaff, 2 Goldcrest, 1 Black Redstart, 2 Robin, Blackbird, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Chaffinch and Goldfinch.

Also recorded: 2 Grey Squirrels in Penns Wood.

Ships Today

This is the General Cargo Vessel "Celtica Hav" flying the flag of the Bahamas. If you look closely bottom right off centre there is a Gannet behind the branches.

Celtica Hav is on its way from Erith to Teignmouth. More on this vessel here.

This is the Cypriot Cargo Vessel "BG Emerald" on her way from Rotterdam to Cork. More on this vessel here.

This is the Dutch Cargo Vessel "Siegedijk" on its way from Portland Harbour to Murmansk, Russia. More on this vessel here.

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On this day..........
2017
Today's Sightings Here

29 Dec 18

Church Ope Cove, Penns Wood and Wakeham Paddocks

A mid-morning walk down to Church Ope Cove and good to see that the Stonechat was back again, but sadly no sign of the Black Redstart for the second day running.

On the beach were 9 Rock Pipits and the Grey Wagtail, whilst out to sea a Fulmar flew north and a Cormorant in the opposite direction. Under the north cliff the "Rock" Robin was asserting his authority and was making the Stonechat knew whose patch the rocks belonged to.

On the Hebes, behind the huts were 2 Meliscaeva auricollis hoverflies and a Marmalade Hoverfly (Episyrphus balteatus) and also here the "Hut" Robin.

There were quite a few Robins about and I came across a "Church" Robin, "Castle" Robin, "Penns Wood" Robin and a "Garden" Robin. (Locations linked to names in "Brackets").

On my return trip through Penns Wood, a small flock of Long-tailed Tits passed through with 3 Goldcrests. No Chiffchaffs here today, but I did come across one in Wakeham Paddocks Here.

Here are a few images from this morning:

This overwintering Stonechat spent most of its time on the beach, but from time to time would fly up to the bushes on the north cliff.

The "Rock" Robin. So territorial!!

One of the 9 Rock Pipits feeding on the Kelp flies.

And another eyes up its next meal.

This Hebe in the hut area was attracting a few Meliscaeva auricollis hoverflies............

......whilst on the Ivy berries a Marmalade Hoverfly takes a rest.

The view looking south.

A fishing boat returns to Weymouth Bay.

And finally the Mahonia at the top of Penns Wood is well in flower.

Birds Recorded: 1 Fulmar, Cormorant, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Wood Pigeon, 9 Rock Pipit, 1 Grey Wagtail, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Wren, Dunnock, 1 Chiffchaff, 2 Goldcrest, 1 Stonechat, 6 Robin, Blackbird, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Chaffinch and Goldfinch.

Also recorded: 2 Meliscaeva auricollis hoverflies and a Marmalade Hoverfly (Episyrphus balteatus).

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On this day..........
2017
Today's Sightings Here

28 Dec 18

Church Ope Cove and Penns Wood

Sadly the early morning blue skies and sun, gave way to another dreary day, and of course I got the wrong side of midday when the clear skies were disappearing off to the east.

The beach was busy again with holiday visitors and this was the first time I didn't see either the Black Redstart or Stonechat. Both the Grey and Pied Wagtails were here and there was also a second Pied Wagtail.

Main highlight here though were 2 Chiffchaffs making their way along the Hebes on the north cliff, one with orangey yellow legs.

The "Rock" Robin was in his usual spot and there were several Wrens about. On the beach were 20+ Rock Pipits and a pair of Carrion Crows.

A return walk through Penns Wood and though quiet on the way down, on the way back up there were at least 3 Goldcrests, a small party of Long-tailed Tits and another Chiffchaff.

Here are a few images from today:

This is one of the two Chiffchaffs making its way along the Hebes on the north cliff.

Not sure why it has yellowish legs, maybe just the light conditions!!

The overwintering Grey Wagtail is still here and was joined by two Pied Wagtails today.

One of the 20+ Rock Pipits feeding on the Kelp Flies.

These two Carrion Crows were getting stuck in to the seaweed. Not sure what they were looking for, but they seemed oblivious to everyone around them.

An adult Winter Herring Gull.

Found this on the way up to Penns wood. Judging by the size and colour I would say an empty eggshell of a Wood Pigeon.

Birds recorded: 2 Cormorant, 12+ Herring Gull, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, 20+ Rock Pipit, 2 Pied Wagtail, 1 Grey Wagtail, Carrion Crow, 8 Wren, Dunnock, 3 Chiffchaff, 3+ Goldcrest, 4 Robin, Blackbird, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Chaffinch and Goldfinch.

Ships Today

Somewhere on the horizon was this vessel..........

.........the Maltese Cargo vessel "Neptune Dynamis" on its way from Southampton to an unknown destination. More on this ship Here.

Another ship on the horizon with a trawler a little closer in...........

...............this is the Dutch Cargo vessel "Greetje" on its way from Southampton to Dublin. This is the More on this Container Ship Here.

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On this day..........
2017
Today's Sightings Here

27 Dec 18

Church Ope Cove and Penns Wood

A beautiful sunny day which saw many people out walking, especially at the cove. I didn't quite get there as early as I wanted, but still managed to see the Black Redstart before it disappeared around the north-east headland. No sign of the Stonechat, which I presume was up on Penns Weare, however both the Grey and Pied Wagtails were feeding at the north end of the beach.

Also here were 33 Rock Pipits, which spent most of their time on the cliff face waiting for the beach to clear before heading back down to the seaweed and feeding on the hundreds of Kelp Flies flying about. A few Wrens again and the "Rock" Robin was very prominent by the cliff, and was making sure that everyone saw him as he chose to stand on the tallest rocks and boulders here.

The "Hut" Robin was busy especially around the flowering Hebes, where I came across a Common Drone Fly and 2 Meliscaeva auricollis hoverflies.

Having left the beach I headed back to Penns Wood, where I had originally walked down through. Earlier there was nothing here but on the return trip I came across 2 Chiffchaffs, a small party of tits and Goldcrests, but no Firecrest on this ocassion.

Here are a few images from this morning:

The Rock Pipits spent most of the time this morning on the cliff top. This one has just seen a Kelp Fly in front of it.

When it was safe to do so the Rock Pipits finally came back down onto the beach.

The Grey Wagtail was back here again.

As was the male Pied Wagtail, with the "Rock" Robin keeping an eye on him.

The "Hut" Robin was enjoying the sun and feeding on flies on the flowering Hebe.

One of the beach Wrens on a washed up car tyre.

The flowering Hebe at the back of the huts was attracting hoverflies and houseflies.

A Common Drone Fly

A Meliscaeva auricollis hoverfly.

Its interesting to note that I also had the same hoverfly on this day in 2017, which I wasn't able to ID until today that is.

One of 2 Chiffchaffs in Penns Wood.

Also in the wood Euonymus japonicus shrubs, which are just coming into flower. The common name for is Japanese Spindle.

Birds Recorded: Cormorant, 20+ Herring Gull, 4 Great Black-backed Gull, Wood Pigeon, 33 Rock Pipit, 1 Pied Wagtail, 1 Grey Wagtail, Carrion Crow, 5 Wren, 2 Dunnock, Chiffchaff, 2 Goldcrest, 1 Black Redstart, 5 Robin, 1 Blackbird, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Long-tailed Tit and Chaffinch.

Also Recorded: 1 Common Drone Fly and 2 hoverflies sp.

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On this day..........
2017
Today's Sightings Here

26 Dec 18

Crown Estate Fields

I popped down to the Portland Bird Observatory late afternoon, just to see what was about, and within a few minutes of parking up a Short-eared Owl appeared on the horizon being mobbed by a Kestrel. Also here were 2 Common Buzzards, a total of 3 Kestrels a large flock of 50+ Chaffinch and 30 Skylark.

Here are a few images from this evening:

One of the 2 Common Buzzards in the Crown Estate Fields.

And one of 3 Kestrels here as well.

A distant shot of a Short-eared Owl.

Birds Recorded: 4 Gannet, Shag, Cormorant, 2 Common Buzzard, 3 Kestrel, Pheasant, Oystercatcher, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Razorbill, Guillemot, Stock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, 1 Short-eared Owl, 30 Skylark, Meadow Pipit, 12 Starling, Magpie, Rook, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Wren, 1 Chiffchaff, Goldcrest, Robin, Blackbird, 1 Song Thrush, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Chaffinch and Goldfinch.

Church Ope Cove and Penns Wood

What a busy beach as Boxing Day revellers hit the cove. Sadly all the overwintering birds were a bit put out and though the Black Redstart and Stonechat were about they were sticking to the cliffs under Penns Weare. There was no sign of any of the Robins "Hut or Rock", but the Grey Wagtail was back briefly along with 2 Rock Pipits, but they also flew off, leaving a very quiet beach.

At the bottom of Penns Wood I was lucky enough to see a small party of crests and tits pass through, and in amongst them were a Firecrest and a Chiffchaff.

Here are a few images from today:

My one only record shot of the Black Redstart below the cliffs at the cove.

Similarly with the Stonechat, which like the Black Redstart both decided Penns Weare was quieter than the beach.

In Penns Wood I managed a quick photo of a Goldcrest, sadly not the Firecrest which was in amongst them.

Snowdrops in flower in December. Its certainly mild here on Portland.

Birds Recorded: Shag, Cormorant, Oystercatcher, 40+ Herring Gull, Wood Pigeon, 2 Rock Pipit, Grey Wagtail, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Wren, Dunnock, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Firecrest, Goldcrest, 1 Stonechat, 1 Black Redstart, Robin, Blackbird, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Chaffinch and Goldfinch.

Ships Today

This is the Container Ship "Berlin Bridge" flying the flag of Hong Kong. It is on its way from New York to Antwerp. More on this vessel Here.

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On this day..........
2017
Today's Sightings Here