16 Nov 18

Ferrybridge and Portland Marina

Dawn rang me on her way to work, to let me know that there were hundreds of gulls on the mud flats. Hoping the Franklin's Gull might be amongst them, I popped in there for a quick look before I headed back to Portland Marina to work on the boat.

There were certainly plenty of gulls, and I would estimate there were probably in the region of 350 Mediterranean Gulls, 6 Great Black-backed Gulls, 32 Herring Gull and 20 Black-headed Gulls, but no Franklin's.

Also on the waters edge were 129 Brent Geese, and dozens of Ringed Plovers, Dunlin and Turnstone. Three Little Egrets flew in and started feeding in the shallows, whilst in The Fleet there were several Red-breasted Mergansers.

Ringed Plovers and Dunlin come into land.

A couple of juvenile Ringed Plovers in amongst the adults

Top to bottom Dunlin, Ringed Plover and Black-headed Gull

As above

A Dunlin drops in front of the Black-headed Gull

115 Brent Geese

plus a few more

and another 3

Just a portion of the hundreds of Mediterranean Gulls here on The Fleet.

A Little Egret comes into land........ 

.......and immediately starts fishing.

Not in the Fleet but in Portland Marina.

This was a really confiding bird which was no more........

...........than 20 feet away.


In the back garden I had a new visitor to the bird feeders today. I'm not sure what the birds thought about it, but they didn't seem to bothered by the presence of a Grey Squirrel tucking into the sunflower hearts. Just hoping it hasn't damaged the feeders!!

When it left the finches all came back in numbers and it was good to see 3 Greenfinches in amongst the Chaffinches and Goldfinches.

Later I visited Wakeham Wood opposite the cottage. Sadly no Firecrest, but a lone Chiffchaff seemed quite happy to be following the several Goldcrests doing the rounds. Also here were 7 Redwing, 3 Blackbirds and 2 Song Thrushes.

Not sure if this is good or bad. At least the Great Tit doesn't seem to mind.

If it starts eating the feeder then I'm going to have to buy some metal ones.

Once the Grey Squirrel had left it was back to normal services.

On the edge of Wakeham Wood are several Bramble bushes which are attracting the Goldcrests.......

........and this Chiffchaff.........

.........which has been here at least a week now. Sadly no sign of the Firecrest here though.

On this day..........
Sadly no sighting on this day.

15 Nov 18


Just before I headed off to Weymouth, another tweet came through that the Pallid Swift was still around the west cliffs. So I thought I'd take a slight detour and have a look to see if it was still about.

As usual I turned up to find out that it had moved further up the west side towards Tout Quarry. I stuck it out for 15 minutes or so and then by luck the chap I was talking to, Julian had a phone call to say that it had been sighted in Chesil Cove.

Well what can I say, I was heading that way anyway and I timed it to perfection. I parked up by the wall and walked along the promenade and past Quiddles Cafe and there was the Pallid Swift just below Tout Quarry Here. After watching it with Brendan Shields and Sam Lloyd for a good 20 minutes it then headed off over Chiswell, no doubt looking for somewhere to roost for the night.

After watching the Pallid Swift I headed off to the Swannery Car Park, just on the off chance the Franklin's Gull was there, but it appears it may have moved on.

So difficult to focus on this very busy Pallid Swift. I tried to zoom in but failed miserably, so I had to resort to a wider field of view. I have also slowed it down to 70% speed. It was very fast.

Here are a few images ranging from bad to horrendous.

Broadcroft Quarry Lane and Pools

A busy lane this morning with 6 Redwing, 8 Great Tits, 4 Blue Tits, 9 Chaffinches, 2 Greenfinch, 3 Blackbirds, 2 Song Thrush and a Chiffchaff.

Overhead the 5 overwintering Woodlark flew northeast and several Fieldfare were heading in the opposite direction.

Not seen by me but as I was tweeting the 5 Woodlark a Pallid Swift was seen on the opposite side of the island. More Here.

Here are few photos from this morning:

One of the 6 Redwing around the lane.

A Chiffchaff is a "new" arrival here.

Always nice to see a Greenfinch.

And one of the local Dunnocks.

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

14 Nov 18

Weymouth and PBO

Well I thought I'd left Portland in plenty of time to see the Franklin's Gull at the Swannery Car Park. But not for the first time when I've arrived to see a rare I've been told "you should have been here 10 minutes ago". But a big thank you to Joe Stockwell and Glen Maddison for letting me know that it was by the Pavilion.

So having photographed a really odd looking 1st winter Herring Gull (it was all puffed up like a pigeon) I drove around to the pavilion, where sure enough there were 3 birders looking out to sea. As I reached them I was told it was drifting away towards Lodmoor, fortunately I was able to see it through a scope for my first UK Franklin's Gull.

This was very reminiscent of the Ross's Gull I saw in almost the same spot on 22 Feb 18. At least I managed to get closer to the Ross's on further visits to Weymouth. Not sure about the Franklin's, but you never know.

After leaving Weymouth I dropped into the Obs and walked up to the Top Fields to see if there were any Short-eared Owls about. It looked very much like I was going to dip, but as the light really dropped away a Short-eared Owl appeared in the distance at about 4:45pm for my first one this Autumn.

Here a few photos, sadly no Franklin's photos (yet!)

A really odd looking Herring Gull at the Swannery Car park, Radipole. It looks like a puffed out Pigeon.

The fading light and a view of the lighthouse at The Bill.

On the way up to the Top Fields 2 Pheasants and a Buzzard sat on the posts.

Broadcroft Quarry Lane, Pools, Old Quarry, The Cuttings, Rufus Castle, Church Ope Cove, St Andrew's Church, Penns wood and Wakeham Wood

Back to my usual walk and I'm so glad I did as I came across 5 Woodlarks in the old quarry east of the pools Here. Its seems to much of a coincidence not to be, that these 5 birds are the same birds first noted here 9 days ago on 5 Nov. They must be do the rounds on Portland.

Elsewhere mainly negative news which was disappointing. No Black Redstart or any Rock Pipits at Church Ope Cove, where there is a real stench of rotting seaweed. No sign of the Yellow-browed Warbler at Wakeham Wood, though the Firecrest did let out a brief call, but couldn't be seen. Most of the Goldcrests however seem to be at the bottom of Penns Wood where the lone Chiffchaff remains.

Interesting sights were 3 Kestrels together over Church Ope Cove and several flocks of Skylark making their way up the island.

Here are a few images and a video from today:

The old quarry now being back-filled was host to 5 Woodlark this morning. Could these be the same birds seen in this area on 5 Nov!!

Here are a few images of the Woodlark.



And last one.

One of the 5 Woodlark this morning.

The Kestrels were out in force today, this one close to Rufus Castle.

And another over Penn's Weare where.........

.....there ended being 3 birds, though there was a bit of squabble between them.

The waves still crashing into the rocks at Church Ope Cove where sadly today there were no Rock Pipits or the Black Redstart.

There was however a horrendous stench from the rotting seaweed across the beach.

This Carrion Crow didn't seen to mind as it tackled a dead fish in amongst the weed.

A Syrphus sp. hoverfly

Possibly Syrphus ribesii

Butter wouldn't melt. Ted and Benji.

Birds Recorded: 1 Cormorant, 3 Kestrel, 5 Herring Gull, 1 Great Black-backed Gull, Wood Pigeon, 5 Woodlark, 20+ Skylark, 2 Meadow Pipit, Dunnock, 8 Robin, 5 Blackbird, 1 Chiffchaff, 8+ Goldcrest, 1 Firecrest, 5 Long-tailed Tit, 5 Great Tit, 6 Blue Tit, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, 8 Jackdaw, 1 Raven, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Linnet and Goldfinch.

Also recorded: 2 Red Admiral, 20+ wasps and a Syrphus sp. hoverfly

Ships Today

This the British Fishing Boat "Helen Claire". More on this vessel Here

This the British Type 45 Destroyer "HMS Daring". More on this vessel Here and Here.

This the Crude Oil Tanker "Baker Spirit" flying the flag of the Bahamas. It is on its way from Novorossiysk, Russia to an unknown destination. More on this vessel Here.

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