10 Dec 18


For its 3rd day here in Pebble Lane the Little Bunting has been entertaining birders from far and wide.

Such a confiding bird, that at one point, as I was leaning on a wheelie bin, it came up to the other side of it, just a mere 6 feet away.

So close. Just an amazing little bird.

When I say close I mean close.

Here are a few images from this morning.

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

9 Dec 18

Church Ope Cove

All the action was on and around the beach today with over 50 Rock Pipits, 3 Pied Wagtails and 4 Wrens all enjoying the sudden influx of Kelp Flies and smaller unidentified flies in amongst the pebbles and rocks.

On the rocks to the north of the beach, there were 2 Oystercatchers feeding on Limpets; great to see them chisel away under the shells and then flick them over to eat the meat inside. Also here a 3rd Winter Herring Gull watching there every move for the chance to grab a free meal. Also here an overwintering Robin and Black Redstart.

Elsewhere a single Bumblebee on the Hebe's at the back of the beach huts, where there was also a small flock of Long-tailed Tits, Great Tits, Blue Tits and a Chiffchaff.

Here a few images from a very sunny afternoon:

My one and only shot of the Black Redstart on the rocks at the northern end of Church Ope Cove.

Also here a Robin.

A nice group shot of 2 Oystercatchers, a Rock Pipit, Herring Gull and a Pied Wagtail.

The Herring Gull looks good for a 3rd Winter bird. Another example or two Here.

Here it is again with a Rock Pipit for company.

My first photo of these two Oystercatchers was from about 50 metres away. But bit by bit I closed in and when I took this shot I was only 20 metres away.

Another Rock Pipit but with a difference............

..........check out that right leg with a ring on it. I did try zooming in but alas couldn't get any details from it.

Another Rock Pipit......

..........in fact a lot more.........

............and more..........

.........others on the cliff top.............

...........and 2 more...........

........and another. In fact there were well over 50 birds and they are all here because of these..........

.......Kelp Flies. Love the shadow bottom left!!!!

Rufus Castle from the cove.

Its hard to imagine, looking at that calm sea, but yesterday the wind gusted to 82mph on Portland. Here

Good boys again on their daily walk.

Ships Today

This is the Cypriot Cargo vessel "Samskip Endeavour"on its way from Rotterdam, Holland to Dublin. More on this Container Ship Here.

This the Maltese Cargo vessel "Neptune Aegli" on its way from Southampton to Portbury. More on this Vehicles Carrier Here.

This is the Liberian Bulk Carrier "Greek Seas" on its way from Tees to Portland. More on this Cargo vessel Here.

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

8 Dec 18


Wow that was totally unexpected as a tweet came through from Debbie Saunders, to say that Bob Ford had just seen a Little Bunting in Pebble Lane, Chiswell Here, around 10:30am this morning.

I think that is the quickest I have ever left the house and within 10 minutes I was watching my first ever Little Bunting. What was amazing was how confiding this little bird was, feeding just a few metres from myself and 4 other birders.

At times when a dog walker or a car passed by it would fly off towards the house on our left and then 10 minutes later or so, come back to the track to feed on seeds in the gravel. Just great views. More on this bunting Here

Also here were 2 Pied Wagtails and a Black Redstart.

Here are a few images and a couple of videos.

Pebble Lane

The track in front of the garage was where the little Bunting liked to feed until a car parked up in front of it.

When it took off it would land in the trees in the garden to our left.

Here it is in the garden.

And then back in front of us.

It was certainly interested in the seeds here.

The Little Bunting. A bird which breeds in Finland and Russia.

So confiding.

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

7 Dec 18

Portland Bird Observatory, Crown Estate Fields and Hut Fields

Before the light disappeared all together this afternoon, I popped down to the Observatory to see if anything was about.

There was no let up in the wind, which was a good Force 6 to 7 and as I stood by the gate overlooking the Estate Fields, you could feel the gusts hitting you. I don't think the finches were impressed and as a small flock took off, it took them back 20 metres before they could make any headway.

However the wind did make it slightly easier to ID the finches and in the small flocks of Chaffinches battling the elements, I did at least record at least 3 Brambling possibly 5, but 2 possibles dived in to cover before I could positively ID them. 5 or 3 they are my first this Winter.

Also here were Goldfinches, Jackdaws, Carrion Crows, 2 Ravens, 5 Pheasants and a few Wood Pigeons.

In the hut area I came across 4 more Ravens, 2 Carrion Crows, 2 Magpies and a Kestrel. It appears that someone has thrown a huge meat bone onto the grassy area and the corvids were having a field day, until I disturbed them that is.

Out to sea there were a few Shags and Cormorants heading south.

Two Ravens wait for me to leave the hut area.

And another is making a right raucous. Hopefully not at me.

A Kestrel also looks on.

The sun setting over The Bill.

In Penns Wood there are a few very large Euonymus japonicus shrubs, which are just coming into flower. These however are in the garden of The Obs and are well advanced. The common name for Euonymus japonicus is Japanese Spindle.


Another windy day here on Portland, with squally showers and the occasional burst of sunshine. I moved the feeders the other day, 20 feet closer to the back of the cottage and adjacent to the Cherry Tree. It certainly hasn't put the birds off, as there were 5 Chaffinches (4 females and a male), 3 Great Tits and 2 Blue Tits, all squabbling over the bragging rights.

A Chiffchaff calling from one of neighbours garden was a pleasant surprise.

The change in the feeder positions hasn't put the bird off.

Here we have 2 Great Tits, 2 Blue Tits and a female Chaffinch.

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

6 Dec 18

Portland Marina

Another flying visit to the boat this afternoon and in the marina a pair of Red-breasted Merganser, 2 Cormorant, a Shag and 2 Herring Gull.


This morning a Great Spotted Woodpecker was in one of my neighbours back garden, whilst in the cottage my first Twenty-plume Moth (Alucita hexadactyla) on Portland landed on the living room ceiling.

A male Great Spotted Woodpecker in a neighbours garden................

............you can just about see the red patch behind its head.

A Twenty-plume Moth (Alucita hexadactyla). I wasn't surprised to see one, even in the cottage, but when I went through my Portland Moth records, I realised this was my first on the island. Moth number 120.

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

5 Dec 18

Rufus Castle, Church Ope Cove, St Andrew's Church and Pennsylvania Castle Wood

Another dreary day, but at least the birds I recorded made it an interesting day, with the main highlights being a Firecrest in Penns Wood, where there was also a Chiffchaff, with another Chiffchaff, presumably the same one seen and heard on Monday, half-way up the Rufus Castle to Church Ope Cove steps.

The beach was practically empty with just 2 Wrens feeding in amongst the seaweed. The Rock Pipits were here, but for some reason were perched on the south facing cliff. Something was putting them off from feeding on the beach, possibly the lack of any Kelp Flies or the fact there was an absolutely evil, really pungent and nauseating smell on the beach. At first I thought it was the seaweed, but as I walked along the shoreline, the smell was actually coming off the sea, and with the southerly wind, whatever it was, was being blown onto the beach. Not nice at all!!! The Rock Pipits eventually took off and head across the cove and down towards Southwell.

As I left the beach and made my way up to St Andrew's Church, 5 Ravens came over Penns Weare. As they headed south, croaking away, they did a few acrobatic moves over the cove. Very impressive. 

In the church grounds the Harlequin Ladybird was still present, but the one in Penns Wood seems to have wandered off.

In the woods the Firecrest was in the private gardens to the north, whilst in the wood itself there were Long-tailed Tits, Great Tits, Blue Tits, 2 Blackbirds, a Song Thrush, 3 Robins,  2 Goldcrests and several Chaffinches. The Chiffchaff was seen at the top of the wood and then in the grounds of Pennsylvania Castle.

Here are a few images from today:

Half-way up the steps to Rufus Castle the Chiffchaff was seen and heard here this afternoon.

Church Ope Cove and something washed up from the last High Tide.

It looks like a Trawler has had to cut its nets. That's going to take some shifting.

There were no Rock Pipits on the beach today. Like this one......

........they were all on the south-facing cliff.

Just as I got to St Andrew's Church, 5 Ravens crossed the cove.

Real master of the air.

Here's another coming in.

And another.

This one I tried tracking and I'm really pleased I did as it..........

..........did a tumble right in front of me.

Before righting itself and continuing across the cove. Fantastic to watch.

The one only Harlequin Ladybird seen today.

A very impressive Ladybird, but sadly an invasive species which will eventually outnumber all our native ladybirds. Grey Squirrel v Red Squirrel. And we all know how that is progressing.

Well if I've got this right these little white mushrooms are Ramariopsis kunzei and will eventually grow into coral-like fronds.........

.............. like this one, giving it its English name of Ivory Coral, White Coral or Coral Mushroom. More on this mushroom Here and Here. Just as note of warning though, I'm not a mushroom or fungi expert so if you find a similar looking mushroom, please do not attempt to eat it, just in case it isn't edible.

Always something of interest on the beach this Ammonite fossil.

And another.

Birds Recorded: 3 Cormorant, 1 Sparrowhawk, 40+ Herring Gull, 2 Great Black-backed Gull, Wood Pigeon, 5 Rock Pipit, Dunnock, 6 Robin, 4 Blackbird, 1 Song Thrush, 2 Chiffchaff, 2 Goldcrest, 1 Firecrest, Long-tailed Tit, Great Tit, Blue Tit, 8 Wren, Magpie, 2 Carrion Crow, 5 Raven, House Sparrow and Chaffinch.

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