30 Nov 17

Church Ope Cove

With the daytime temperature dropping to around 4°C and snow falling there appeared to be very little bird activity inland, so it was off to Church Ope Cove to see if the beach could provide anything.

Snowing at Penn's Weare

Last Saturday there were a lot of small black flies on the seaweed, which didn't go unnoticed by 16 Rock Pipits and 5 Wrens. Well the pipits may have moved on bar one, but the flies were still attracting a lot of Wrens with 9 now flitting around the rocks and pebbles on the beach. Also here was the resident Robin and a lone Black Redstart, which I believe is a female. Happy to be corrected on this one!!

Just off the beach a Shag catching fish close in and on the rocks were 2 Oystercatchers. Further out to sea and impossible to ID were lots of auks flying south, possibly Guillemots or Razorbills.

The area behind the beach huts is still providing the tits and crests with a long-staying Firecrest.

Here are a few images from this afternoon:

Our local Kestrel on the telegraph pole overlooking the horse field along Bumpers Lane as I was heading off to Church Ope Cove.
Looking south along Church Ope Cove

Looking north. The cliff and beach here are "home" to 9 Wrens, a Robin and a Black Redstart.

This Black Redstart is not very popular with......

.......the "resident" Robin, which was seen on more than one occasion chasing it around the beach

It seems happy now that the Robin is feeding elsewhere.

I'm pretty sure this is a female Black Redstart. The light conditions were absolutely perfect for taking photographs. To good as this bird looks really brown.......

.......however when the sun went in, the Black Redstart is very grey. Male or female I'm still not sure!

Black Redstart

The Isle of Wight, with the Needles Lighthouse in the centre. I'm guessing but I reckon the distance is around 40 miles from Portland as the crow flies.
All the ships out to sea this afternoon were on the horizon, making them very difficult to photograph. I think this is RFA Tidespring.
This one I have no idea. A frigate maybe!!

This one is a bit easier, it's the FMT Bergama an Oil/Chemical Tanker flying the flag of Malta on its way to Falmouth from Fawley in the Solent. More on this vessel here.

Birds Recorded today were: 1 Gannet, 1 Shag, 2 Sparrowhawk, 1 Kestrel, 2 Oystercatcher, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, 10+ Razorbill/Guillemot, Wood Pigeon, 1 Rock Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Dunnock, Robin, 1 Black Redstart, Blackbird, 1 Song Thrush, Goldcrest, 1 Firecrest, 10 Long-tailed Tit, Great Tit, Blue Tit, 12 Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, House Sparrow, Chaffinch and 12 Goldfinch.

Also 2 White-tailed Bumblebees (Bombus lucorum)

29 Nov 17


No local sightings today as Dawn and I took Benji and Ted for a walk along the Jurassic Coastline at Charmouth in the search for some fossils. We didn't find any, but it was an interesting walk, albeit a very cold one.

Here are a few images from this afternoon and evening:

Charmouth Heritage Centre

Coast path diversion.

The reed beds at Charmouth.

Looking east towards Portland

Looking west towards Charmouth

There was even a friendly seal here to greet us.

She wasnt phased by us at all and came to us and not the other way round.

A Great Crested Grebe........

.......one of two birds feeding just off the beach.

The River Char flowing out to sea

A Rock Pipit by the car park

Just a few of the many Mallard in the river.

Also a few Black-headed Gulls and Herring Gulls.

Two adult winter Herring Gulls having a bathe in the River Char

The setting sun over Lyme Regis

Birds Recorded were: 2 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Gannet, 40+ Mallard, 1 Buzzard, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Wood Pigeon, 2 Rock Pipit, 16 Pied Wagtail and 2 Carrion Crow.

28 Nov 17


Pottering around in the garden all afternoon, so nothing much to report, other than a Great Spotted Woodpecker calling from the Sycamores overlooking Bumpers Lane Here. It seems to like this spot.

27 Nov 17

Chesil Cove

There was a bit of heavy sea again with strong westerlies blowing in. Sadly no real highlights other than 10 Black-headed Gull, 1 Mediterranean Gull, 5 Herring Gull and 6 Great Black-backed Gull.

Chesil Beach

A juvenile Great Black-backed Gull

An adult winter Mediterranean Gull

Dark black around the eyes and white wings.

Here the Mediterranean Gull is joined by 3 Great Black-backed Gulls

Portland Harbour

Viewed from the Ferrybridge the main highlights were 2 Great Northern Divers, 4 Mallard, 4 Goosander, 47 Red-breasted Merganser and a Guillemot.

The Goosander and Mergansers were close to Small Mouth, whilst the Great Northern Divers were in two locations, one by the north opening between the breakwaters Here and the other just off the beach at Sandsfoot. Also at Sandsfoot a lone Guillemot.

The 4 Goosander close to Small Mouth

Birds recorded were: 2 Great Northern Diver, Cormorant, 4 Mallard, 4 Goosander, 47 Red-breasted Merganser, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull and 1 Guillemot,

26 Nov 17

Church Ope Cove

Still a few Rock Pipits and Pied Wagtails on the beach at Church Ope Cove, whilst there were 2 Meadow Pipits on the grassy slopes above them. And it looks like the Firecrest is a long stayer in the Sycamores and Brambles on the way down the steps to the cove from Rufus Castle.

Also about the 2nd year male Kestrel in Bumpers Lane and a male Chaffinch singing from the trees above Church Ope Cove.

Here are a few images from today:

This Firecrest has been present in the bushes down the steps to Church Ope Cove for a few days now.

It is quite sheltered along this spot with lots of insects by the looks of it.

A quick flutter and its off to another spot.

Above the Firecrest was a Goldcrests feeding in the Sycamore. 

Church Ope Cove

And two anglers try their luck. Hopefully one of these days I'll have a go myself.

And its not just beach anglers with several fishing boats in close to the cove and "Races" above.

Another fishing boat joins the flotilla of boats along the coast here.

Birds Recorded today were: 2 Cormorant, 1 Kestrel, 6 Herring Gull, 1 Great Black-backed Gull, Wood Pigeon, 2 Collared Dove, 2 Meadow Pipit, 10+ Rock Pipit, 2 Pied Wagtail, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, 1 Song Thrush, 4 Goldcrest, 1 Firecrest, 6 Long-tailed Tit, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, House Sparrow and Chaffinch.

25 Nov 17

Church Ope Cove

A much quieter day with very little movement of birds. Best highlights were on the beach at Church Ope Cove with 16 Rock Pipits, 4 Pied Wagtails, 1 Grey Wagtail and 5 Wrens.

Also about a small flock of 5 Long-tailed Tits, 2 Goldcrests and a Firecrest on the way down the steps to the Cove whilst above Rufus Castle there was a flock of 4 Long-tailed Tits, 2 Great Tits and 2 Goldcrests. Along Broadcroft Quarry Lane a single Chiffchaff.

Here a few images and a video from today:

The spot where I had the Clouded Yellow butterfly yesterday. No such luck today, despite the sun being out it was freezing
A bit further to the right the beach here had 16 Rock Pipits, Wrens and both Pied and Grey Wagtails feeding on the millions of little black flies on the washed up seaweed.
One of the Rock Pipits

and another.

Along with the Rock Pipits were........

4 Pied Wagtails including this male and.........

.......this female with the grey back.

A Grey Wagtail

With a white throat it should be a female, though in the winter the male loses its black throat and is very similar looking to the female!

A Grey Wagtail. A male or female!!

There was even a Robin on the rocks.....

...joining the Wrens.

There is certainly plenty of food on the beach whether in between the rocks....

or in the bushes under the cliffs.

A Raven crosses the bay.

A Goldcrest

Birds Recorded were: 1 Cormorant, Herring Gull, Wood Pigeon, 16 Rock Pipit, 4 Pied Wagtail, 1 Grey Wagtail, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, 1 Chiffchaff, 2 Goldcrest, 1 Firecrest, Long-tailed Tit, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, 2 RavensHouse Sparrow and Chaffinch.