31 Jan 19

Penns Wood and Church Ope Cove

Very strong southerly winds this morning, which carried on into the afternoon. It was extremely difficult to hear or see any birds in Penns Wood, as the wind howled through the trees. And on the beach the biting onshore wind just made your eyes water.

The main highlight was seeing both the female Black Redstarts along the north cliff. Yesterday I could only manage to find one of the birds, so great to see both today. The female Stonechat was still present, as was the male Pied Wagtail. No sign of the Grey Wagtail, but there were a good 30+ Rock Pipits feeding along the shoreline.

Overhead a pair of Kestrels passed by, as did a Buzzard. Out to sea a good 20 or so Herring Gulls were lingering just south of the cove.

Unsurprisingly there was no sign of the Firecrests or Chiffchaffs. The wind was shaking all the Hebes and brambles, so making it impossible for any birds to find insects in them.

Here are a few images from this morning:

Church Ope Cove


Black Redstart number one

Black Redstart number two

Its taking quite sometime for these Daffodils to flower.......

..........whilst these Snowdrops (which were in bloom in December) are just starting to go over.

Ships Today

This is the Container Ship "Toronto Express" flying the flag of Bermuda. Its on its way from Hamburg to Montreal. More on this vessel Here.

On this day..........
Today's Sightings Here

30 Jan 19

Penns Wood and Church Ope Cove

Its been awhile since I've come across a Firecrest, let alone 2. And today there were 2 at Church Ope Cove. The first bird was in amongst the Hebes on the north cliff behind the huts and the second bird in the Hebes at the back of the beach, just behind the coast path. And they weren't alone as there were also 2 Chiffchaffs and 2 Goldcrests keeping them company.

On the beach there were 33 Rock Pipits, the male Pied Wagtail, Grey Wagtail and the overwintering Stonechat. Try as I could, I only found 1 Black Redstart, but knowing how difficult it was a couple days ago in tracking them down, it was probably hiding behind the huts.

In Penns Wood the 3 Goldcrests were still about and today a Chiffchaff was also present.

Here are a few images from today:

The line of Hebes between the two rows of huts was where I found the first Firecrest.

And a record shot of it.

The second bird was in the Hebes and then the trees at the back of the huts along the coast path here.

Once again a few record shots.

Another shot.

And last one.

Even though there were 33 Rock Pipits here today, a good percentage of them..................

....................... were feeding on the cliff face.

At least there was one Black Redstart here today.

And it looks as if she was in hurry to get away as well.

The female Stonechat was showing well and at times........

..........joined the Rock Pipits on the cliff.

The "Rock" Robin checking out his territory.

The Grey Wagtail on the prowl for Kelp Flies

Plenty of Wrens about. On the pebbles and.........

..........checking out the Hebes.

This rather splendid looking male Blackbird seemed to be checking out the bushes along the north cliff. Possibly for a nest site!!

Birds Recorded: Herring Gull, Wood Pigeon, 33 Rock Pipit, 1 Pied Wagtail, 1 Grey Wagtail, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Wren, Dunnock, 3 Chiffchaff, 2 Firecrest, 5 Goldcrest, 1 Stonechat, 1 Black Redstart, Robin, Blackbird, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Chaffinch and Goldfinch.


In the back garden whilst I was out Dawn spotted the male Great Spotted Woodpecker on the peanut feeder. That's twice this year he's turned up. And then later tonight the male Tawny Owl was heard calling from across the road, for the first time this year.

Ships Today

This is the Vehicles Carrier "Elegant Ace" flying the flag of the Cayman Islands. It is on its way from Halifax, Canada to Antwerp Belgium. More on this vessel Here.

On this day..........
Today's Sightings Here

29 Jan 19

Portland Bird Observatory

Spent an hour at the Obs this morning from 9:00 til' 10:00am.

Still plenty of Gannets, Razorbills, Kittiwakes, Herring Gulls and Great Black-backed Gulls feeding on the shoals of fish just off the "Races".

Whilst I was there 3 Mediterranean Gulls and a Red-throated Diver were seen passing by, but sadly not by me.


Ships Today

This the British Replenishment Vessel " RFA Tidespring" on manoeuvres around Portland. More on this vessel Here.

Below the horizon the Cargo Vessel "CMD Adrien" flying the flag of Hong Kong. It is on its way from Ljusne, Sweden to Torquay. More on this vessel Here.

On this day..........
Today's Sightings Here

28 Jan 19

Portland Harbour, Newton's Cove and Weymouth Beach

Out in the boat this afternoon and a bit of a potter around Portland Harbour and Newtons Cove to see if anything was about. And at long last success with 2 Red-necked Grebes and 4 Black-necked Grebes. Also about were 5 Red-breasted Mergansers in the harbour and a Razorbill in Newton's Cove.

Highlight though had to be "Danny" the Bottle-nosed Dolphin who found us in the harbour and followed us out into Weymouth Bay for a little way, until we crossed Newton's Cove towards Weymouth Beach. On the way back there was no sign of him, but as we entered Portland Marina he followed us in for a good 100 metres before heading back into the main harbour.

Other sights were a Carrion Crow flying across Weymouth Bay with a round object in its bill, several Great Black-backed Gulls flying about and the resident Grey Heron in the marina.

Here are a few images and videos from this afternoon.

Danny the young male Bottle-nosed Dolphin.

As we made our way out of the harbour so he...........

.......gave us an escort.

On the way out we came across a few Red-breasted Mergansers. Here the female is just taking off.

And here both are in flight.

The female comes into land, as does..........

.......the drake, who then..........

...........begins to call for her.

Two Cormorants on the floating pontoon.

One of the four Black-necked Grebes in the harbour.

Here is another. I was so close to getting the Red-necked Grebes but despite swinging the boat around they had disappeared from view.

A Razorbill. Honest. Yet another bird that escaped the camera.

The Jubilee Clock Tower on the promenade.

Nothe Fort

Sandsfoot Castle

Returning to the marina.

Crossing Portland Harbour.

And in the marina the resident Grey Heron.

Birds Recorded: 2 Red-necked Grebes, 4 Black-necked Grebe, Cormorant, 1 Grey Heron, 5 Red-breasted Merganser, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, 1 Razorbill and 1 Carrion Crow.

Penns Wood and Church Ope Cove

What a beautiful sunny day, and out of the northwesterly wind it was very warm, especially at Church Ope Cove. Its a right sun trap even in the Winter.
Lots of highlights today starting in Penns Wood where there were 2 Redwings, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker and 3 Goldcrests. Next stop was Church Ope Cove where it took me a good 20 minutes to locate the 2 Black Redstarts and Stonechat. Not sure why they weren't out in the open, but I eventually found all 3 of them behind the huts. Really odd!

Also here were 23 Rock Pipits, 1 Pied Wagtail, 1 Grey Wagtail, 5 Wrens and a Red Admiral sunbathing on one of the huts.

Out to sea there was a huge flock of around 100+ Gannets which had found a shoal of fish and were continually dive bombing.

On the Hebes at the back of the beach I came across 2 Buff-tailed Bumblebees, 2 Honey Bees and 6 Common Drone Flies.

Here are a few images and videos from today:

In Penns Wood today were three Goldcrests.............

........all feeding in the high canopies.

Also in the wood were several Meliscaeva auricollis hoverflies

A beautiful sunny day on the beach where you would normally find the Black Redstarts and Stonechat...............

..............but not today, for some reason they were behind the huts here and took me a good 20 minutes before I located them.
Here is one of the birds and...........

.........she was off.

And the second bird which just like the first bird must surely be a female............

.........if it were a male surely it would be coming into Summer plumage by now!

Never to far away from the Black Redstarts the female Stonechat.

The male Pied Wagtail was still present and..............

............making short work of the Kelp Flies around him.

Close-by was the Grey Wagtail

Even closer to me was one of the 23 Rock Pipits sat on the washed up tyre. However........

..........I hadn't realised why until I watched the video. It's quite obvious that it has almost lost its right leg. At least there are enough Kelp Flies for it to feed on and hopefully build up its strength to overcome its injury.

As always a Wren on the beach.

It was so warm even a Red Admiral was out enjoying the sun.

Out to sea a huge shoal of fish attracted these Gannets and many more out of shot.

Behind the toilet block is a Hebe which on every visit I have made has had this Wren hopping about inside it.

As long as you stand still its quite happen to move around the bush...........

........with the occasional glance to see if you've moved or not. 

Happy to continue it would fly up in bush to grab another unsuspecting fly.

Here its inspecting one of the flowers for another snack.

Not sure if a Wren would take this Common Dronefly (Eristalis tenax) but.........

.........if it did there were many more of them to be found on this Hebe today.

Other than the hoverflies there were a couple of Honey Bees and this Buff-tailed Bumblebee.

Birds Recorded today: 100+ Gannet, Cormorant, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Wood Pigeon, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 23 Rock Pipit, 1 Pied Wagtail, 1 Grey Wagtail, Magpie, 1 Raven, Carrion Crow, Wren, Dunnock, 4 Goldcrest, 1 Stonechat, 2 Black Redstart, Robin, Blackbird, 2 Redwing, Great Tit, Blue Tit, House Sparrow, Chaffinch and Goldfinch.

Also recorded: 1 Red Admiral, Buff-tailed Bumblebees, 2 Honey Bees, 6 Common Drone Flies and 3 Meliscaeva auricollis hoverflies

Ships Today

This is the Maltese Ro-ro cargo vessel "Wilhelmine".........................

 ......................on its way from Zeebrugge to Santander, Spain . More on this ship Here.

On this day..........
Today's Sightings Here