31 Mar 18

Barleycrates Lane, Weston Quarry, Reap Lane and Avalanche Road

There had been a report of 2 Ring Ouzels at Barleycrates Lane this morning , so after working on the boat at Ferrybridge (where incidentally I had my first Sandwich Tern of the year), I headed off back to the island to have a look.

As normal when I got there, there was no sign of them so I carried on past Weston Quarry to the cliff top where there were a pair of Ravens, a Kestrel and a Peregrine.

I headed south and after 400 metres or so I walked back towards Reap Lane where there a couple of Meadow Pipits in the horse paddock.

Along Avalanche Road I crossed over and in the horse paddocks there were 3 Wheatears.

Here are a few images from this afternoon:
A Peregrine folds its wing and then seconds later goes into a dive along the west cliffs.

Meanwhile a Kestrel hovers for its meal.

Most of the fields are flooded on the island and these Herring Gulls make the most of one for a good wash-up.

A rare sight in most of the UK, especially London, but the House Sparrows on Portland are doing very well.

A Hedge Sparrow or more commonly know as a Dunnock. Not a member of the Sparrow family but an accentor.

One of the 3 Wheatears in the paddocks along Avalanche Road. This is a male, the other two were females.

Birds recorded: 1 Peregrine Falcon, 1 Kestrel, Pheasant, 30 Herring Gull, Wood Pigeon, 2 Meadow Pipit, 3 Dunnock, 3 Wheatear, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, 2 Raven, 40+ Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Goldfinch and Greenfinch.


The female Blackcap was back on the feeders this morning.

Ships Today

This the Portuguese general cargo vessel the Breb Courageous on its way into Portland Harbour from Casablanca, Morocco. More on this vessel Here.
This the Maltese roll-on roll-off cargo vessel the Opaline on its from Rozenburg, Holland to Dublin. More on this ship Here.

30 Mar 18


As I drove back from Weymouth this afternoon there were at least 15 Oystercatchers on the waters edge in front of the Visitors Centre.


There was no let up in the rain this afternoon, in fact it just got heavier and heavier late into the day. Only highlights were 37 Meadow Pipit flying around the horse paddock off Bumpers Lane and on the feeders 3 Great Tits, with one very light individual, which having surfed my way through Xeno-canto was calling like this individual Here. A continental bird maybe, though Great Tits do have quite a repertoire of calls. Odd never-the-less!!

The past 3 mornings have been wet and this morning was no exception, as heavy rain arrived around dawn. At least it didn't put the birds off from visiting the feeders and it was great to see the female Blackcap back again along with the House Sparrows, Great Tits, Blue Tits and Chaffinch.

29 Mar 18

Radipole RSPB Reserve

I dropped into the reserve this afternoon to see if the drake Garganey was still about. He was, but apart from a quick stretch of his legs, he remained asleep on the south bank at the North Viewing Screen Here. If memory serves me right this is the first male I have seen, all my others have been females.

Other highlights today were my first Wigeon since moving down here, a Siberian Chiffchaff which was in amongst the other Chiffchaffs along the loop path and 25 Black-tailed Godwits. Just the one Marsh Harrier seen today, a beautifully marked male quartering the reserve to the north.

Here are few images

On the left 2 Teal, foreground a Coot and just stretching his legs the drake Garganey.....

...and here he is sat down again.

In the foreground Black-tailed Godwits with a few just coming into summer plumage. At the back a drake Wigeon (left) and a Shoveler.

A very distant shot of a male Marsh Harrier.

A pair of Mute Swans.

And a magnificient looking adult Great Black-backed Gull.

Not the Siberian sadly but one of many Phylloscopus collybita Chiffchaffs here.

Primroses my first for the year.

A patch of Red Dead-nettles (Lamium purpureum).....

......they really are red up close.

Birds recorded: 2 Great Crested Grebe, Mute Swan, Canada Geese, Mallard, Gadwall, 1 Garganey, 3 Wigeon, Teal, 8 Shoveler, Tufted Duck, Marsh Harrier, Moorhen, Coot, 25 Black-tailed Godwit, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Common Gull, Wood Pigeon, Meadow Pipit, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, 5 Chiffchaff, 1 Siberian Chiffchaff, Long-tailed Tit, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch and Reed Bunting.


Another very wet start to the day with heavy rain for most of the morning. On the feeders a male Chaffinch along with a pair of House Sparrows, Great Tit, Blue Tits and the female Blackcap again.

28 Mar 18

The Slopes

This afternoon there was a very shy Dartford Warbler in the bushes just behind the Pulpit Inn. The photos were terrible but the video didn't turn out too bad for a skulking bird. Also about a few Chiffchaffs and a wannabee Willow Warbler. There's still plenty of time for the latter.

Hmm a Dartford Warbler honest!!!!!

Not the easiest of birds to video. But you can just about make out this Dartford Warbler as it makes its way through the Brambles.

A pair of Stock Doves.

Birds Recorded: 7+ Gannet, Kestrel, Pheasant, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, 2 Stock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, 1 Dartford Warbler, 5 Chiffchaff, 1 Goldcrest, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Magpie, Rook, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Raven, Chaffinch, Linnet and Goldfinch.


It was a wet miserable start to the day here on the island and there was an increase in bird activity around the bird feeders including the same/another female Blackcap. Also about Great Tit, Blue Tit, House Sparrow, Goldfinch, Chaffinch and a Collared Dove.

At 10:29am there was a real commotion at the front of the cottage with the local Herring Gulls causing a right din. 99 time out of a 100 that can only mean one thing and that is there is a raptor close-by. And so it proved to be with a Red Kite being harassed by a posse of gulls. It didn't hang around long and moved up the mainland pretty sharpish.

A real treat as Red Kite heads north up Wakeham.

I must admit I wasn't expecting to see a Red Kite over Portland. Before I moved here from Swindon, it was pretty usual to see one or two daily over our house in Nythe. So a nice surprise to see one here.

The same or another female Blackcap on the suet pellets this morning

A nice surprise to see a female Blackcap on the feeders. I'm not sure if this is the over-wintering bird or a Spring migrant that has found my feeders as it was heading north.

Still lots of birds on the feeders including this Great Tit, male House Sparrow and.......

.....this Blue Tit which is sporting a leg ring. A bird ringed at the Portland Bird Observatory maybe!!

We have a pair of Collared Doves in the neighbourhood and this one visited the garden this morning.

This afternoon the female Blackcap was still on the feeders.

Ships Today

This is the Greek Crude oil tanker the Cherokee on its way to Rotterdam, Holland from an Offshore Terminal called Prof.John Evans ATTA off the coast of Cote d'Ivory. More on this vessel Here.

The ship on the left is the Ice Star, a Container Ship flying the flag of Antigua Barbuda. Its on its way to Cork from Rotterdam. More on this vessel Here. Whilst the the ship on the right is the Samskip Express a Portuguese Container Ship on its way to Dublin from Rotterdam, Holland. More on this vessel Here

27 Mar 18

Obs garden, Helen's Field and Culverwell

A flying visit to the obs to see what Spring migrants had arrived. When I spoke to Peter (The Prof) Morgan, he was telling me that the next Chiffchaff in the mist nets would be number 75 for the day. I think its fair to say there were a lot of Chiffchaffs about, and unsurprisingly 2 male Sparrowhawks working the huts and Observatory garden for an easy meal.

Here are a few images from today:

A juvenile male Sparrowhawk in moult

This juvenile male Sparrowhawk was on the lookout for Spring migrants.

At this time of year it can be a bit confusing as to whether a Chiffchaff is a Willow Warbler or visa versa.

Leg colour used to be a key. Dark legs Chiffchaff, straw coloured Willow Warbler. I'll let you decide on this one. This might help Here.

Birds Recorded: Cormorant, 2 male Sparrowhawk, 3 Peregrine Falcon, 2 Kestrel, Pheasant, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Stock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, 10+ Chiffchaff, 8+ Goldcrest, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Magpie, Rook, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Raven, House Sparrow, Chaffinch and Goldfinch.

Ships Today

This is the bulk cargo carrier, SSI Nemesis flying the flag of the Marshall Islands. It is on its way to Portland Harbour from Santarem, Brazil. This port is on the Amazon River Here. More on this vessel Here.

26 Mar 18

Pennsylvania Castle Wood, St Andrew's Church, Church Ope Cove, Penn's Weare, The Cuttings and Bumpers Lane.

Another glorious day and my walk today took me through Pennsylvania Castle Wood, St Andrew's Church, Church Ope Cove, along Penn's Weare, doubling back through the Cuttings and home via Bumpers Lane.

A few highlights this afternoon with a Siskin over, 3 Wheatears (a male, 2 females) close to the WWII Pill Box along Penn's Weare, 5 Wall Lizards, several Syrphus torvus hoverflies, a Green Shield Bug (Palomena prasina), 3 Wolf Spiders, a Comma butterfly and a Yellow-legged Mining-bee (Andrena flavipes).

Other than that there were lots of House and Blue Bottle Flies, as well as several White-tailed Bumblebees. A came across 1 Honey Bee and a similar looking bee which was slightly smaller. I don't think it was an Ivy Bee, the bands on the thorax didn't look yellow enough.

Here are a few images from today:

A few Wall Lizards out today in the grounds of St Andrew's Church

Here's another.......

.....and a juvenile.

Hopefully I've got this right a Green Shield Bug, Palomena prasina

My first Comma of the year

This is a member of the Mining bee family.........

........and is Yellow-legged Mining-bee (Andrena flavipes)

Yellow-legged Mining-bee (Andrena flavipes)

This is the hoverfly Syrphus torvus, which is one of the early hoverflies to be out in the Spring. More on this hoverfly Here.

There were 3 spiders on here. One ran off bottom right.

The one that ran off.....

.....far left.....

....and top. They are Wolf Spiders of the Pardosa family, though which species is difficult to tie down

This side of the WWII Pill Box were 3 Wheatear.

And before they went their separate ways I managed on group shot.

These 3 Wheatears had me working out their ages and sexes, which is why I slowed the video down a bit. I'm thinking from left to right - 1st Summer male, adult female and adult male.

I'm going with a 1st Summer male.

This is a male........

.....and same bird.

Adult male and female Wheatear.

Birds Recorded: 5 Fulmar, Shag, Cormorant, Buzzard, Kestrel, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Wood Pigeon, 8 Meadow Pipit, Dunnock, Robin, 3 Wheatear, Blackbird, 1 Goldcrest, Long-tailed Tit, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, 1 Siskin and Goldfinch.

Also 5 Wall Lizards, 1 Comma butterfly, 1 Honey Bee, Common Drone Fly, 10+ Syrphus torvus hoverflies, White-tailed Bumblebees, 3 Wolf Spiders, a Green Shield Bug and a Yellow-legged Mining-bee (Andrena flavipes)