30 Apr 18

Bumpers Lane, Rufus Castle, Church Ope Cove and Pennsylvania Castle Wood.

Well if anyone was wondering where the 2000 Willow Warblers recorded at the Portland Bird Observatory yesterday went, well I think most of them ended up in Pennsylvania Castle Wood today. Nearly every branch had a Willow Warbler on it. Also here were several Blackcaps.

Elsewhere there was a Common Whitethroat along Bumpers Lane, a bit further on than the one seen yesterday.

Down the steps from Rufus Castle to Church Ope Cove in the little copse half-way down there were 3 Spotted Flycatchers, 2 male Blackcaps and dozens of Willow Warblers all feeding here.

At Church Ope Cove a pair of Cormorants were feeding close in, whilst in the bushes behind the beach a pair of Magpies were decimating a Blackbirds nest, with a tell tell sign of a chicks leg on the steps.

Also of interest was a Bristly-legged Seaweed-fly or Kelp FlyCoelopa frigida which should have been on the beach at Church Ope Cove but was up on the cliff top. Well it has been quite windy!!

Here are a few images from this afternoon:

The Cuttings and Wallflowers in bloom.

They certainly add a bit of colour to the Portland Stone.

The resident Carrion Crows

I thought this might be an Empididae but in fact I wasn't anywhere close. This is a Bristly-legged Seaweed-fly or Kelp Fly, Coelopa frigida and really should have been on the beach. Instead it was a good 300 metres away and 100 metres up on the cliff top. Perhaps it got blown up there!!

The copse below Rufus Castle and a hive of activity with Spotted Flycatchers, Blackcaps and Willow Warblers all feeding away.
Here is one of the Spotted Flycatchers.

No matter how many times it took off....

.......it always came back to the same perch. A typical trait of a Spotted Flycatcher.

Also here a few Blackcaps.

On the beach at Church Ope Cove a Sandhopper, Amphipoda

It wasn't until I edited this Cormorant diving, that I realised I could see its head below the surface in the clear water.
The grounds of St Andrew's Church

And Pennsylvania Castle Wood in all its greenery and absolutely alive with Willow Warblers. A bit different than a month ago........

.........26 Mar 18 or even........

............26 Oct 18.

Obs Quarry, Hut Fields and Crown Estate Fields

Late morning I headed off to the Obs for an hour, though with the wind now coming from the NW I wasn't expecting to see the masses of bird we had here yesterday. News was that a Hoopoe was in the Crown Estate Fields and that yesterdays Golden Orioles were still about in the Top Fields. My trip today though was to see if there was anything in the Obs Quarry and Hut Fields.

In the quarry I found absolutely nothing, other than 2 House Martins and 2 Swallows passing overhead. So it was off to Hut fields were there were quite a few birds sheltering from that biting north-westerly. East of the obs garden wall here, where it was very sheltered, I had 3 female Common Redstarts, 1 Common Whitethroat, 1 male Blackcap, 2 Wheatears, 3 Whinchat, 2 Willow Warblers and a possible Lesser Whitethroat which only gave me a fleeting glimpse as it disappeared across the fields.

Apart from that it was very quiet and as I headed back to the main road to have a look across the Crown Estate Fields, the only 4 species I found were a single Stock Dove, a pair of Linnets, another Willow Warbler and a Kestrel which caught a large sized Vole (or was it a small Rat) by the roadside grass verge.

Here are a few images from this morning.

A Common Whitethroat........

.......in the hedgerow behind the Obs garden wall.

A bit further along one of the 3 female Common Redstarts gets ready to take off.

Across from the Obs entrance........

......this Kestrel has caught a rodent........

.......possibly a vole or a.......

......small Rat.

Birds seen today: 4 Gannet, Cormorant, 1 Kestrel, Pheasant, Herring Gull, 1 Stock Dove, Wood Pigeon, 2 House Martin, 2 Swallow, Dunnock, 3 Whinchat, 3 Common Redstart, 2 Wheatear, Blackbird, 1 Common Whitethroat, possible Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Blackcap, 3 Willow Warbler, Wren, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Linnet, Goldfinch and 2 Greenfinch.

Note As a follow up from yesterdays treat with the Golden Orioles, here is a sound track of a Golden Oriole singing: Click Here. Also my long distant shots really didn't do them any justice so here's one from Wikipedia 

Ships Today

This the Dutch general cargo vessel Hathor on its way from Bilbao, Spain to Ijmuiden, Holland. More on this vessel Here.

The Border Force Patrol out again.

29 Apr 18

Top Fields and Admiralty Hedgerow

Wow, it's one thing to see a Golden Oriole but to see both a male and female a hundreds meters apart is just fantastic. Thank you to the chap in the red jacket for telling me where he had seen the female and to all the other birders who spotted the male in the Admiralty hedgerow. The videos and photos below are are what you would call record shots as both birds were a good 150 - 200 metres away. My cameras good but not that good.

Also about were dozens upon dozens of Willow Warblers and Swallows making there way across the fields into a strong northerly wind. There were also 30+ Wheatears in the fields just north of Southwell and in the hedgerows by the farm I had a pair of Common Redstart, a female Pied Flycatcher, a Spotted Flycatcher, several Common Whitethroat and a Lesser Whitethroat.

What a morning!!

This the female Golden Oriole at a considerable distance from where I was standing. She was quite active and appeared to be feeding on the caterpillars of the Brown-tail moth. Of which there are thousands in the hedgerows at the moment

The female Golden Oriole..........

..........was quite mobile along.....

......these wall here and appeared to be feeding on the caterpillars of the Brown-tail moth..

And even further away a male Golden Oriole, which gave me amazing views as it flew from the hedgerow across the field to the bushes here.

Originally it was in the........

..........hedgerow here, until it flew off across the field.

Here a male Redstart is taking shelter in a Top Field hedge. 

Here it's spotted a meal.

In the field to the south of Southwell there were 30+ Wheatear.

Also moving through were dozens and dozens of Willow Warblers. One even stopped to sing.

Birds seen this morning: Kestrel, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Stock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Skylark, House Martin, 60+ Swallow, Meadow Pipit, 1 Yellow Wagtail, Dunnock, 2 Common Redstart, 50+ Wheatear, Blackbird, 7 Common Whitethroat, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Blackcap, 18+ Chiffchaff, 50+ Willow Warbler, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Pied Flycatcher, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Magpie, Rook, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, 2 Golden Oriole, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Linnet and Goldfinch.

Ships Today

This is the Bomar Pluto a Maltese Oil/Chemical Tanker on its way from Donges, France to Portland Harbour. More on this vessel Here.

28 Apr 18

Bumpers Lane, Rufus Castle, St Andrew's Church and Pennsylvania Castle Wood

After yesterday's wet but very productive day, it was off down Bumpers Lane and onto Pennsylvania Castle Wood via St Andrews Church to see if anything stayed on from yesterday.

Along Bumpers Lane a male Common Whitethroat was singing from a Bramble Bush and as I walked past it so 4 Swallows flew over my head. Down the steps from Rufus Castle a Chiffchaff was calling and a Garden Warbler was in the Brambles on my left.

There was a single Chiffchaff in the grounds of St Andrews Church and then the main highlight of my walk a Spotted Flycatcher in Pennsylvania Castle Wood. Also here a male Blackcap singing and a female close-by, plus 2 Willow Warblers and 2 Chiffchaffs all singing.

Here are a few images:

Common Whitethroat along Bumpers Lane

The female Blackcap in Pennsylvania Castle Wood.

Same bird feeding in amongst the Sycamore

A Dead Head Fly - Myathropa florea

Hoverfly - Epistrophe eligans

Drone Fly - Eristalis abusivus

A male Hairy-footed Flower Bee - Anthophora plumipes

And the female Hairy-footed Flower Bee

This is a Celery fly...........

........Euleia heraclei..........

...........an unusual looking fly.

A short video the Celery Fly. More on this fly Here.

Birds recorded: 1 Buzzard, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Wood Pigeon, 4 Swallow, 1 Meadow Pipit, 1 Pied Wagtail, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, 1 Garden Warbler, 1 Common Whitethroat, 2 Blackcap, 4 Chiffchaff, 2 Willow Warbler, 1 Goldcrest, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Long-tailed Tit, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Linnet and Goldfinch.

Also seen - Celery fly (Euleia heraclei), both male and female Hairy-footed Flower Bees, Drone Fly (Eristalis abusivus), Hoverfly (Epistrophe eligans) and a Dead Head Fly (Myathropa florea)

Ships Today

This is Talia a Vehicles Carrier flying the flag of the Bahamas on its way from Antwerp, Holland to Savona in Italy. More on this vessel Here. The vessel in front is the Border Force Patrol Boat.

27 Apr 18

Portland Bird Observatory, Quarry and Hut Fields

Wow, it's amazing what a bit of rain and sea fog can do to migratory birds. All morning and in fact all day we endured heavy rain, drizzle and the occasional dry spell. It looked like there was a break in the weather so it was off to the OBS to see what was about.

This Spring according to the PBO has been very poor, with many birds passing overhead to their breeding grounds with very few stopping off on Portland. Today though, that all changed with lots of grounded birds.

There were Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs everywhere moving through the hedgerows. And in amongst them several Blackcaps and Garden Warblers. At the quarry I managed a pair of Common Redstarts, along with 3 or 4 Common Whitethroats.

In the hut field alongside the Obs wall there were a few more Blackcaps, Garden Warblers and a Firecrest. Overhead 5 Swallows passed through.

A very wet and miserable day here at the Bird Observatory........

.....but that's just what was wanted with Blackcaps.........


..........Common Whitethroats........

.........and Willow Warblers dropping in everywhere.

This resident Dunnock must have wondered where they were all coming from.

Birds Recorded: Herring Gull, Wood Pigeon, 5 Swallow, 2 DunnockCommon Redstart, Blackbird, 3 Garden Warbler, 6+ Common Whitethroat, 7+ Blackcap, 12+ Chiffchaff, 12+ Willow Warbler, 1 Firecrest, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Chaffinch, Linnet and 1 Greenfinch.