31 Jan 18


Great to see the female Blackcap back on the feeders this morning. As long as I keep topping the feeders up, there's no reason why she won't stay for the remainder of the winter. Might even get some others!

No Goldfinches or House Sparrows today, but the pair of Chaffinches have been joined by another female. Also on the feeders, 1 Robin, 2 Great Tits, 1 Blue Tit and the over-wintering Song Thrush.

These peanuts and suet pieces are going down well with this female Blackcap.

This is her second day here, hopefully a long-stayer.

Here is a Blue Tit, there only seems to be one.

Female Blackcap

You can just about see her pecking out the small pieces of suet from between the peanuts.

30 Jan 18


 A quick check on the bird feeders when I got home from Weymouth and there was a female Blackcap on the peanuts. Also 3 Chaffinches, 2 Great Tits, 1 Blue Tit, 3 House Sparrows, 1 Robin and 18 Goldfinches. Where were all these birds when I did the RSPB Garden Birdwatch!!

From left to right Great Tit, Blue Tit and 2 Goldfinches.

From left to right a female Blackcap and 2 Goldfinches

From left to right the female Blackcap in flight and 4 Goldfinches.

One of the 18 Goldfinches in the back garden.

Goldfinches and a Robin. In the background there is another Robin singing. They all took off when a Wood Pigeon landed beneath them.

Goldfinches and a Great Tit. In the background a Robin and Wood Pigeon singing.

Hamm Beach

Whilst waiting for the Roadwork traffic lights to change to green I counted 80+ Red-breasted Mergansers in the bay here.

29 Jan 18


Another disappointing day with gale force winds and thick cloud. Best today was the Robin and the pair of Chaffinches on the feeders.

This evening a Palmate Newt tried to get indoors, but was helped on its way back to the rockery. What an unusual sight for January.

A Palmate Newt which tried to get indoors before......

.......I lent a helping hand and returned it to the garden. According to the Froglife Website Here, "They don’t hibernate as such, and may take advantage of milder patches of weather to come out and forage".

28 Jan 18

Pennsylvania Castle Wood and Church Ope Cove

Its been awhile since I've walked down to Church Ope Cove and the only noticeable change I could make out was a Robin in full song in Penns Wood and the lack of any Long-tailed Tits anywhere. The best I could do today was a single Firecrest at the back of the beach huts behind Church Ope Cove and a Sparrowhawk zooming over the trees. Perhaps the latter was the reason for the lack of Long-tailed Tits.

Along with the Firecrest there was a lone Goldcrest, and a further 3 Goldcrests in Penns Wood, where apart from the Robin there was also a Great Spotted Woodpecker briefly.

On the beach just 2 Wrens and a single Pied Wagtail. All a bit disappointing really, but still nice to stretch the legs.

Here are a few images from today:

If you go down to the woods today, you won't see much apart from.........

......a Robin singing his heart out.......

and 3 Goldcrests flitting about in the trees.

The best bird today was this solitary Firecrest........

.......feeding in amongst the ivy behind the huts on Church Ope Cove.

Its cousin the Goldcrest was also feeding, but on the many flowering Hebes found here.

Birds Recorded: Gannet, 1 Sparrowhawk, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Wood Pigeon, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1 Pied Wagtail, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, 5 Goldcrest, 1 Firecrest, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow and Chaffinch.

Ships Today

Not ships but kayaks heading up the coast towards Weymouth Bay. 

This is the Cypriot vehicle carrier, Main Highway on its way from Zeebrugge, Belgium to Dublin, Ireland. More on this vessel Here

27 Jan 18


Today was probably the wettest and foggiest day I have seen since moving here last May. A real shame especially as it was the RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch Click here. The best I could see, literally, were a Great Tit and Song Thrush in the back garden. Hoping for better weather tomorrow.

26 Jan 18

Crown Estate Fields

A busy day with setting up the laptop and taking my computer back to PC World to be repaired. So the only real birding was this evening at The Bill watching two Short-eared Owls up really close and personal.

The only other bit of birding today was from the car, as I waited in a 15 minute queue to get across Portland Beach Road because of the roadworks. At least I got to see a Great Northern Diver feeding close in to the bridge and several Red-breasted Mergansers further along towards Hamm Beach.

Back to the Bill the Short-eared Owls were very mobile and seemed oblivious to myself and Martin Cade watching them. You really don't need to be running around trying to photograph them, as these beautiful owls will come to you as long as you stand still. And so it proved to be.

Here are few photos and videos.

One of the 2 Short-eared Owls just above the Crown Estate Fields

Another shot of one as it homes in on a vole.

If you stand still long enough they will come to you.

Just look at those piercing eyes.

One of the Short-eared Owls hunting.

And the other one. Both videos at half-speed.

25 Jan 18


I know my Port and Wey Blog is supposed to be Portland and Weymouth, but with the opportunity to see lots of Hawfinches at Cattistock Here, it just had to be done by going "out of area". It was a good 50 minutes from Portland but well worth the visit with at 21 Hawfinches recorded. In fact looking at BirdGuides when I got home, there were in fact 31+ seen earlier in the day.

They are probably the easiest birds you will ever identify in flight with those distinct white wing bars and continuous twittering. In fact I had some recordings of Hawfinches on my phone (just in case I needed them), but these sounded nothing like those on my phone. Their calls were almost Yellow Wagtail like.

When Dawn and I first arrived at the Church there was another birder from Wells and he had seen 3 earlier and by the time we left he had also seen the 20+ birds. They are not a finch that likes to keep still and were continually flying from tree to tree. Their favourite trees seem to be the Hornbeams where they liked to be high up in the canopy.

Dawn and I also found several birds twittering away in a Yew tree, and despite our best efforts we couldn't see a single bird, even though we were only 2 or 3 metres away from them. How they managed to hide themselves away in the foliage was a real mystery.

Also here were many other birds including a Firecrest in the church grounds, RedwingCoal TitNuthatch and Treecreeper. There was a male Sparrowhawk which gate-crashed the Hawfinch's tree, just seconds before they had taken off. The latter 6 all new for the year.

I did manage a few record shots and a short video, so at least we had a record of these lovely birds:

Church of St. Peter and St. Paul

Church of St. Peter and St. Paul

Dawn looking out for Hawfinches and she found loads.

The tall trees at the back was their favourite perch.

And the leaf litter here in the centre was their favourite feeding area, though they didn't come down while we were there.
Here are few shots of the target bird the Hawfinch









A Greenfinch

The male Sparrowhawk

The male Sparrowhawk

Birds Recorded here were: 1 male Sparrowhawk, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Stock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, 1 Green Woodpecker, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, Pied Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Redwing, Song Thrush, Goldcrest, Firecrest, Long-tailed Tit, Coal Tit, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Wren, Magpie, Rook, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch and 21 Hawfinch.

24 Jan 18


The miserable wet and windy is still with us on the island and the only highlight today was a Goldcrest calling from the back garden. Hopefully some better weather to come and with it some sightings from around the island.

23 Jan 18

Crown Estate Fields

A late evening walk at the obs this evening in the hope of finding Short-eared Owls ended in failure. The weather over the past few days has been wet and windy, so I'm not surprised they've moved on.

Instead there were 2 Kestrels and a Buzzard working the fields, which didn't go unnoticed by several Herring Gulls that decided the raptors were not welcome in their airspace. By the obs 20+ Goldfinches to go along with another 20 or so by Cheyne Weares and a further 30+ in Wakeham. Not sure why there are so many but their numbers are growing. Cheyne Weare was also where I had a Stonechat fly across the road on the way back home.

Out to sea were lots of Gannets working their way close to the coast. Beyond them was just thick cloud.

Here are a couple of photos.

The Bill with Races beyond.

This is the British Cargo vessel Minka C on its way from Ipswich to Lisboa, Portugal. More on this vessel Here. A few Gannets close-by.

22 Jan 18


A new arrival to the bird feeders today with a male Chaffinch closely followed by the female. That's 10 species recorded on the feeders now. Here's the full list to date: Wood Pigeon, Robin, Song Thrush, Long-tailed Tit, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Magpie, House Sparrow, Chaffinch and Goldfinch.

Two new arrivals to the feeders, a pair of Chaffinches.


It was a quick trip down to Ferrybridge at lunchtime to see if there was anything about. A bit disappointing really, with just a handful of Red-breasted Mergansers, 4 Cormorants and 20+ Herring Gulls, Black-headed Gulls and a Great Black-backed Gull. Overhead 21 Linnets flew north and there was a single Rock Pipit on the beach.


A Cormorant dries its wings.

3 Red-breasted Mergansers with the drake on the right.

An adult Great Black-backed Gull with Herring Gulls of various ages around it.

21 Jan 18


A wet miserable day, so nothing much to report. The only action was around the feeders with 3 Great Tits, a Blue Tit, 1 Robin, 1 Wood Pigeon and 2 Magpies amongst the visitors.

20 Jan 18

The Bill

I spent down at the Bill and as per normal it was chucking it down with rain. Fortunately the weatherman got it right and the rain eventually eased off and the sun appeared briefly. Main highlights today were 7 Purple Sandpipers by the Pulpit, a Merlin over the Top Fields and a Fulmar just off the West Cliffs.

Other highlights were the dozens of Gannets and auks in a feeding frenzy way off the Races to the south, also a Peregrine that flew across the fields and then used the updraft from the west cliffs to hold itself still in the wind.

Here are a few images from this afternoon:

Looking south as the sun finally comes out.

Looking east from the Pulpit Rock with the Lighthouse and Obelisk in the background 

Well out to sea a distant shot of dozens of Gannets, Kittiwakes and gulls in a feeding frenzy over the "Races".

Here a Gannet comes close to shore.

An Oystercatcher looking for a safe rock to land on.

Just to the left of the Pulpit Rock 7 Purple Sandpipers brave the elements.

Nothing like a good bathe, even if it's in saltwater.

A Guillemot just of the west cliffs...... 

......where I came across my first Fulmar of the year.

A Cormorant puts on the air brakes as it comes into land.

These wildlife photographers were given great close-up shots of this Kestrel. Nothing unusual I know, but the Kestrel was actually further away and flew to them!!
Eventually it took off and landed on the signpost close by.

Birds recorded: 1 Fulmar, Gannet, Shag, Cormorant, Buzzard, Peregrine Falcon, 1 Merlin, 3 Kestrel, Pheasant, Oystercatcher, 7 Purple Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Kittiwake, Razorbill, Guillemot, Wood Pigeon, Rock Pipit, Dunnock, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Starling, Chaffinch and Linnet.

Ships Today

This is the Songa Delmar.......

..... a Bulk Carrier flying the flag of the Marshall Islands

This ship is now docked into Portland Harbour having.........

.......sailed here from Tubarao in Brazil. More on this vessel Here.