23 Oct 20

Wakeham

This evening a flock or should that be a charm of around 50 Goldfinches headed southwest over the cottage, presumably to their roost. In the opposite direction a small party of Pied Wagtails headed up towards the Lower Horse paddock, followed by 3 Grey Wagtails.

Early this morning around 3:00am a male Tawny Owl was calling from across the road. Not heard a female yet!!

Here are a few calls he made.







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On this day
2019
Today's Sightings Here

2018
Today's Sightings Here.

2017
Today' Sightings Here.

22 Oct 20

Wakeham

It was back garden birding today as I put the finishing touches to the new duck house. A couple of highlights with a Chiffchaff making its way through the garden and into the neighbours, and a Grey Wagtail, which flew back and forth from the Lower Horse paddock, to somewhere on the other side of the road from the Cottage. It did this most of the afternoon. Surely its not collecting food for youngsters!!!

Meanwhile in the garden 4 Wood Pigeons were tucking into the berries on the neighbours overhanging Buckthorn.

Here are a few Woody images from today:

The berries on the neighbours Buckthorn are rapidly disappearing.

These Wood Pigeons are making short work of them

Another adult arrives.

And it doesn't look to happy about........

..........this youngster hogging the best spot. Mind you after a few taps, the youngster dropped further into the Buckthorn and right next to more berries to gorge.

Birds Recorded: Herring Gull, Wood Pigeon, Pied Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Robin, 4 Blackbird, 1 Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch and Goldfinch.

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On this day
2019
Today's Sightings Here

2018
Today's Sightings Here.

2017
Today' Sightings Here.

21 Oct 20

Old Quarry Lane, Wakeham Meadow, Wakeham Railway Cuttings, Mermaid Track, Bumpers Lane, Broadcroft Quarry Lane, Broadcroft Quarry Butterfly Reserve, Higher Horse Paddock and Lower Horse Paddock

A wet miserable day and even when there was a window of opportunity to have a walk, there was that fine penetrating drizzle coming down. At least I managed to get out before the heavy rain returned.

Here are a few of the highlights:

Old Quarry Lane - 1 Chiffchaff
Wakeham Meadow - 4 Chiffchaff, 4 Blackbirds, 3 Chaffinches and 5 Goldfinches
Mermaid Track - 1 Chiffchaff
Bumpers Lane - 1 Chiffchaff
Bumpers Lane Quarry - 1 Chiffchaff
Lower Horse Paddock - 3 Pied Wagtail and several Meadow Pipits

Here are a few images from today:

The caterpillars of the Large White butterfly are having an........

..........absolute feast on these Nasturtium leaves.

Unsurprisingly as Storm Barbara passes overhead, depositing a lot a rain, the.......

..........Black Slugs all began to appear. Strangely enough I came across dozens of Black Slugs, but not a single Red one.

Something in Bumpers Lane Quarry has got Ted's attention.

He's not happy about something. Possibly a Fox!!

A bit later he was even less happier as the rain really began to fall.

Mammals Recorded: Grey Squirrel and Bunny

Birds Recorded: Herring Gull, Wood Pigeon, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, 8 Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Linnet, Siskin and Goldfinch

Butterflies Recorded: 1 Red Admiral

Slugs and Snails Recorded: Black Slug (Ater ater)

Ships Today

This is the British Passenger Ship "Britannia" out in the English Channel. More on this vessel Here.

This is the Vehicles Carrier "Progress Ace" flying the flag of Panama. It is on its way from Barcelona to Antwerp. More on this vessel Here.

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On this day
2019
Today's Sightings Here

2018
Today's Sightings Here.

2017
Today' Sightings Here.

20 Oct 20

King Barrow Quarries Nature Reserve, Vaycroft Quarry, Fancy's Farm, High Angle Battery and New Ground

What an interesting walk and one of those days where I lost sight of a possible Melodious Warbler. It was certainly the case of the one that got away.

Having walked through King Barrow and around Vaycroft Quarry I started to walk up towards Fancy's Farm. As I went around a bramble bush, a bird shot out from it and landed in another bramble Here

I just managed to get a few seconds of it through my bins to see that it was a large warbler, olive in colour, a distinct but somewhat pale eye stripe and a large beak. Sadly it flew off into this area Here, where there were dozens Goldfinches and Chaffinches in the buddleia. Despite my best efforts I never located it again.

Everywhere and not elsewhere as I normally write, there were Stonechats galore. It didn't seem to matter where you looked, one would pop up close-by.

There were a few Chiffchaffs about and I also came across a couple of Goldcrests.

Here are a few images and a video from today:

So many Stonechats on my walk.

And a few which allowed me to get fairly close as well.

This one was a bit camera shy and decided to have a preen, whilst looking the other way.

And the spot (centre frame), where the possible Melodious Warbler decided to hide.

Always a great view of Chesil Beach from New Ground.

And Ted off on his exploits

Daft dog, in fact at one of the island's recycling centres they call him Mop. I wonder why!!

Mammals Recorded: Bunny

Birds Recorded: 2 Peregrine Falcon, Kestrel, Herring Gull, Wood Pigeon, SkylarkMeadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Dunnock, Robin, 12+ Stonechat, Blackbird, possible Melodious Warbler, 8 Chiffchaff, 2 Goldcrest, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Chaffinch, Lesser Redpoll, Linnet and Goldfinch

Butterflies Recorded: 1 Large White

Bees RecordedIvy Bee (Colletes hederae)

Hoverflies Recorded: Common Dronefly (Eristalis tenax)

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On this day
2019
Today's Sightings Here

2018
Today's Sightings Here.

2017
Today' Sightings Here.

19 Oct 20

Old Quarry Lane, Wakeham Meadow, Wakeham Railway Cuttings, Mermaid Track, Bumpers Lane, Broadcroft Quarry Lane, Broadcroft Quarry Butterfly Reserve, Higher Horse Paddock and Lower Horse Paddock

It's amazing how time flies. 30 years ago today I flew from RAF Coltishall, Norfolk to join the Allied Forces in Bahrain, in a bid to oust Saddam Hussein and the Iraqis after they infiltrated Kuwait.

We know the ending, so I wont dwell on it, but away from the actual conflict, I can only say that the birdwatching in Bahrain was incredible.

And whilst I was serving out there for 4 months, I met two very distinguished birders, Erik Hirschfeld and Dr. W.RP. (Bill) Bourne.

Erik is still is a very accomplished ornithologist and was one of the authors of the excellent book "The World's Rarest Birds" found Here.

Bill was one of the editors of the Royal Naval Bird Watching Society's Annual Report known as Sea-Swallow and in fact during the Gulf War he wrote an excellent article called "The Seabirds of Arabia" It can be found Here (Page 4) and also pays tribute to Erik who took him around Bahrain.

Reminiscing over, so what did I see today after yesterdays Red Letter day. A bit of a reality check, with just a handful of Chiffchaffs and a fly-by Swallow. Well you can't have it all the time.

Here are a few images from today:

One of the few Chiffchaffs about today. This one and 4 others were along Broadcroft Quarry Lane.

Still quite breezy, but not a problem for a Kestrel.

Here are a few shots of it as it searched out meal over Bumpers Lane.

Its amazing how it keeps itself so still.

Here is proof of that. The images above I used 1/500th second to freeze the wings beating. This one was 1/250th second and you can see there is movement in the wingtips.

The same bit of scrap metal I found a few days ago along Bumpers Lane, but this time I was prepared for the two juvenile Common Lizards. Funnily enough there was also a Slow-worm again but a much much smaller one.

And an Ivy Bee. I guess it won't be long before they disappear for this year.

And he's off. So much energy. Goodness knows what he's found, but there's no stopping him.

Mammals Recorded: Grey Squirrel

Birds Recorded: Buzzard, Kestrel, Herring Gull, Wood Pigeon, 1 Swallow, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Chiffchaff, 4 Goldcrest, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Linnet, Siskin, Goldfinch and Greenfinch

Reptiles Recorded: 2 Common Lizards and a Slow-worm

Butterflies Recorded: 1 Large White, 1 Speckled Wood and Red Admiral

Bees Recorded: Ivy Bee (Colletes hederae) and White-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus lucorum)

Hoverflies Recorded: Common Dronefly (Eristalis tenax)

Ships Today

This is the Passenger Ship "Jewel of the Seas" flying the flag of the Bahamas. It is on its way from Southampton to an unknown destination. More on this vessel Here.

This is the Container Ship "One Olympus", flying the flag of Singapore. It is on its way from Le Havre to the Suez Canal. More on this vessel Here.

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On this day
2019
Today's Sightings Here

2018
Today's Sightings Here.

2017
Today' Sightings Here.

18 Oct 20

Portland Bird Observatory, Obs Quarry, Hut Fields, Culverwell and Sweethill

An early night and an early rise this morning saw me and Ted head off to the Obs, in the hope of seeing the Great Grey Shrike which was seen yesterday and first thing this morning. It took awhile but I eventually tracked it down, sat on a post and devouring a Common Lizard.

Sadly no photos, but an everlasting vision of the shrike with its foot on the lizard and with its beak tearing it to bits. A bit macabre I know, but it could have been worse for the lizard. It could have been impaled alive on a thorn, hence the Great Grey Shrikes given name of the "Butcher Bird".

If seeing my first ever species of shrike in the UK wasn't enough, I also came across a juvenile Ring Ouzel just south of Southwell and timed it just right for a freshly netted Dartford Warbler on my return to the Obs.

What a great morning with other highlights being 2 Peregrines working the Top Fields, dozens of Chiffchaffs, a handful of Blackcaps and what looked like a Stonechat on every Bramble Bush.

Here are a few images from today:

And the field just south of Southwell, where I saw my first ever UK shrike. Well chuffed.

Shame about the light and also the poor quality camera I use. This is a Peregrine, its mate was also close-by, quartering the fields around the Top Fields.

One of the 4 Goldcrests feeding in the Sycamores.......

.....in the Obs Car Park. Completely oblivious to anyone walking by.

There have been a few Dartford Warblers seen on Portland over the past week or so. This one was trapped, ringed and released just as I got back from my walk.

And of course Ted. Though he wasn't to impressed about wearing his raincoat in the fine drizzle.

Birds Recorded: Buzzard, 2 Peregrine Falcon, Kestrel, Pheasant, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Wood Pigeon, Skylark, 1 Swallow, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, 1 Great Grey Shrike, Dunnock, Robin, 10+ Stonechat, 3 Wheatear, Blackbird, 1 Ring Ouzel, 2 Fieldfare, 5 Redwing, 5+ Blackcap, 1 Dartford Warbler, 12+ Chiffchaff, 4 Goldcrest, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Raven, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Linnet, Goldfinch and Greenfinch

Reptiles Recorded: Common Lizard (deceased)

Butterflies Recorded: Large White and Red Admiral

Ships Today

This is the Maltese Passenger Ship "Marella Explorer"................

..............behind the Obs Lighthouse and on its way around the Bill. More on this vessel Here.

This is the Panamanian Container Ship "One Hannover" on its way from Singapore to Rotterdam. More on this vessel Here

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On this day
2019
Today's Sightings Here

2018
Today's Sightings Here.

2017
Today' Sightings Here.

17 Oct 20

Old Quarry Lane, Wakeham Meadow, Wakeham Railway Cuttings, Mermaid Track, Bumpers Lane, Broadcroft Quarry Lane, Broadcroft Quarry Pool, Broadcroft Quarry Butterfly Reserve, Higher Horse Paddock and Lower Horse Paddock.

What a strange walk, a bit like two really tasty slices of bread, but with a poor filling. First off I had my first Crossbills on Portland, as 10 maybe more birds flew over Wakeham Railway Cuttings and then at the end of my walk I had my first Black Redstart of the Autumn, feeding alongside a pair of Stonechats in the Lower Horse Paddock.

In between the only highlight was a handful of Chiffchaffs. Not that I'm complaining about the Chiffchaffs, but I had thought I might come across another Yellow-browed Warbler, a few Goldcrests and even a Firecrest.

Other highlights were coming across 2 juvenile Common Lizards and a juvenile Slow-worm under a discarded rusty metal sheet next to Bumpers Lane. There's always a good chance find Slow-worms, but coming across 2 mini Common Lizards was a big surprise.

Here are a few images and a video from today:

Really eerie looking skies to the south. You can just about pick out the showers on the horizon.

Whilst on the island the sun was looking very watery, but fortunately the showers remained well out to sea.

Two great highlights today with my first ever Crossbills on Portland, sadly no photos, but the next highlight was this Black Redstart which......

............I must say I wasn't really expecting to see in the Lower Horse paddock.

Mind you I shouldn't have been surprised especially with number of flies about.

Also here were 2 Stonechats

Both of which spent most of their time in the...........

..........allotment here, which runs alongside the paddock. The Black Redstart was last seen on top of the wall at the back, where it dropped down into the gardens there.

I've yet to see a White Wagtail on Portland. This is a juvenile Pied Wagtail, however there was an even light and greyer backed individual but was spooked by walkers and vanished out of sight. One day!!

Oddity of the day a very elongated Carrion Crow!!

I did wonder if there were two birds. Honest

Slow-worms are a bit slower to move than Common Lizards. The two juvenile lizards vanished in seconds as I lifted a scrap bit of metal by Bumpers Lane.

Run Forrest Run. I've never seen Ted move so quick, especially when he realised I was way up the track.

Mammals Recorded
: Grey Squirrel

Birds Recorded: 1 Sparrowhawk, 2 Buzzard, 2 Kestrel, Herring Gull, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, 1 Grey Wagtail, Dunnock, Robin, 2 Stonechat, 1 Black Redstart, Blackbird, Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Magpie, Rook, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Linnet, Siskin, Goldfinch, 4 Greenfinch and 10 Crossbill

Reptiles Recorded: 2 Common Lizard and a Slow-worm

Butterflies Recorded: 2 Large White and 5 Red Admiral

Ships Today

This is the Maltese Passenger Ship "Marella Explorer", still off Portland. More on this vessel Here.

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On this day
2019
Today's Sightings Here

2018
Today's Sightings Here.

2017
Today' Sightings Here.