Thursday, 5 May 2016

Portland day 5: The sea wins again

Sunny again but with a brisk easterly wind, 12°.

The land side of birding was hard work today with little noted, a Tree Pipit overhead first thing then through the day, 1 Redpoll, a Sedge Warbler, a Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff and 3 “White” Wagtail.

Swallow passage began around 09:00 and continued through the day but in low numbers so around 250 to 300 birds and a Hobby flew in.

The sea fared somewhat better but tailed off around 10:30, the following noted: 2 Great Northern Diver, 1 Red-throated Diver, 30+ Common Scoter, 1 Common Gull, 1 Black-headed Gull, 50+ Manx Shearwater, 300+ Gannet (the majority being immature birds), c100 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Whimbrel, 1 Arctic Skua, 2 Pomarine Skua, c150 “Commic” Tern (Common or Arctic), 6 Sandwich Tern, 1 Little Tern, 9 Black Tern, 1 (pos 2) Roseate Tern.

Dragonflies: Broad-bodied Chaser.

Butterflies: Green-veined White, Large White and Speckled Wood.

Pied Wagtail at Chesil visitor centre courtesy Loren
Broad-bodied Chaser Portland Obs
 Green-veined White Chesil courtesy Loren
Loads of rubbish at Chesil beach car park (courtesy Loren)

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Portland day 4: Good weather few birds

A sunny day, 14°, light S.

A beautiful day on Portland but with very few birds on the land and little better on the sea.

However; As there was very little happening on the land an early sea watch was on the cards.

5 Bonxie, 5 Great Northern Diver, 22 Common Scoter, 16 Bar-tailed Godwit, 13 Whimbrel, 8 Grey Plover, 4 Shelduck, 1 Little Gull and some very distant Terns, also unusually a male Hen Harrier flew east.

Hirundine passage started around 09:00 with a light trickle of birds through the day, c250 Swallow, 9 House Martin and 5 Swift. Most birds would pass over the island by the upper light and drop down to use the lea of the west cliffs and continue north.

The landward side produced 5 Wheatear, 1 Goldcrest, 6 Willow Warbler, 3 Common Whitethroat, 2 Blackcap, 1 Yellow Wagtail and a Black Redstart.

Sparrowhawk, Peregrine and Kestrel also noted.

Dragonflies: Broad-bodied Chaser.

Butterflies: Large White, Green-veined White, Holly Blue, Speckled Wood.

Cholsey news: A Fieldfare still present out at Lollingdon. (Tony Williams).

 Black Redstart


The Cholsey Marsh Wood Warbler

All photos courtesy Roger Wyatt

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Portland day 3: ITV visit

Sunny, 13°, breezy NE.

The day started off fairly quiet and an early morning visit from the ITV “country wise” to do a piece on the ringing activities at the observatory.

They spent most of the morning filming the ringer’s activities and talking to various birders at the Obs. The “Prof” being the star of the show with Martin overseeing and Joe Stockwell being filmed "birding".

Anyway back to what matters, the day started slow with 3 Yellow Wagtail over, a Short-eared Owl hunting the crown fields before flying up island, a small fall of Willow Warbler and Blackcap, a few Chiffchaff and Reed Warbler, a Sedge Warbler, a couple of Common Whitethroat, a Whinchat and a Goldcrest, also around 20 Wheatear.

A movement of Swallow started around 11:00 with 250+ over the next few hours and a few House Martin arriving with them.

The sea was very quiet today with 2 Great Northern Diver and 3 Whimbrel being the best of the bunch.

2 butterfly species today: Peacock and Green-veined White.

 Prof being interviewed
 A drone being used for overhead filming
A star is born (Joe Stockwell being filmed)
 Short-eared Owl disappearing in the distance.

 Above and below courtesy Loren

Wood Warbler: Cholsey

A Wood Warbler found today by Brian & Geoff Wyatt in Cholsey on the islands by the 4 Arches railway bridge. The first record for quite a few years.

Still present, about 100m south of Ferry Lane at 6.30pm. Not singing or calling, (Michael Pocock).

Monday, 2 May 2016

Portland day 2

Overcast then rain mid-afternoon then sunny, 10°, breezy SW.

A rather cold and breezy start to the day with a few migrants arriving early morning. 10+ Chiffchaff, 20+ Willow Warbler, 2 Garden Warbler, 2 Sedge Warbler, 1 Reed Warbler, 6 Common Whitethroat, and 10+ Blackcap.

A Common Snipe flushed from the Crown fields and 2 Wheatear present and a couple more Wheatear at the bill.

Intermittent sea watches through the day produced, 8 Whimbrel, 1 Knot, 3 Pochard, 5 Arctic Skua, 1 Bonxie, 100+ Gannet, 100+ Manx Shearwater and 6 Common Scoter, also 2 Great Northern Diver flew over the Obs and Guillemot and Razorbill off the west cliffs.

A steady trickle of Swallow and a few House Martin through the day, 7 Common Swift and 1 Yellow Wagtail over.

The sun came out around 17:00 and a Spotted Flycatcher appeared along with a lot of activity from Blackcaps, Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs in the Obs garden.

Also Raven and Sparrowhawk around.

 Guillemot & Razorbill
 Willow Warbler
 Blackcap (f)
 Willow Warbler
 Blackcap (m)
Willow Warbler

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Portland & Cholsey

Overcast, misty 10°, breezy SW.

By the time we arrived most of the land migrants had passed through so a brief sea watch produced an Arctic Skua, a couple of Common Scoter and Manx Shearwater.

The best bird of the day was a Grasshopper Warbler heard this morning along the brook that runs alongside Whitehead Meadow before we left for Portland.

Some news from the Eastender today: a Swift with several House Martin this evening over the garden and several Common Whitethroat along the Bunk line.

Also a few Orange Tip Butterfly.

Here we are again.

Friday, 29 April 2016

Unseasonal weather still

Sunshine & frequent showers (rain, hail and briefly snow), 10°, breezy WSW.

Another mixed bag of weather today and very little change out at Lollingdon.

A single Fieldfare still present and a Swallow hawking over sheltered fields but little else apparent.

Nuthatch, Goldcrest, Grey Wagtail, Song Thrush and 2 Blackcap (m&f) in the garden, a couple of Swallow overhead, also young Robin and Blackbird both being fed by their respective parents.

Coal Tit, Green Woodpecker, Mistle Thrush and a Willow Warbler in the meadow.

Moorhen & Stock Dove in the garden (courtesy Loren)

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

If found please return Spring!

Sunny spells, 8°, light WNW.

Another day of contrasting weather, warm in sheltered spots and a lot cooler in exposed areas.

Lollingdon was fairly quiet and basically no change, at least 1 Fieldfare still present.

Cholsey Marsh however was sheltered and quite pleasant to walk around.

Sedge Warbler and Common Whitethroat frequent, a few Blackcap and Chiffchaff and 2 Lesser Whitethroat and a Reed Warbler and a  Cetti’s Warbler present.

At least 2 Kingfisher along the river, a Grey Heron on the river bank, a Cormorant flew upstream and a pair of Great Crested Grebe on the river.

Several Swallow feeding over the river and 6 House Martin feeding over the marsh before flying off north.

Butterflies: a few hardy souls about today, 1 Orange Tip, several Small Tortoiseshell, 3 Peacock and a Green-veined White.

 Common Whitethroat (above & below)

Green-veined White (distant)

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Feels like winter!

Sunshine & showers (frozen rain, snow, hail), 8°, light to breezy NW.

A barmy day weather wise, warm in sheltered sunny areas and quite cold when exposed to the wind and precipitation in whatever form it took.

A few winter visitors lingering on with a Redwing seen by Tony Williams at Cholsey marsh yesterday and 3 Fieldfare still present out at Lollingdon today.

Not quite sure if the 2 Blackcap (m&f) in the garden are some of the over wintering ones or summer visitors and Tony W still has a couple of Blackcap visiting his garden.

A Common Sandpiper seen along the river recently. (Tony Williams).

Birdsong appears rather supressed at the moment, maybe down to the weather. A few Chiffchaff seen and a couple of Common Whitethroat and 1 Blackcap, also a couple of Swallow.

The hill just had a few Linnet, 1 Reed Bunting and 2 Corn Bunting present.

A Peregrine flew over and headed off south.

Surprisingly 2 Butterfly species noted today: a single Orange Tip in the garden and 2 Small Tortoiseshell out at Lollingdon.

 Fieldfare (above & below)

Song Thrush

Monday, 25 April 2016

Rubbish weather for the time of year

Overcast, light rain showers, 11°, light NW.

This northerly weather seems to have slowed down migration as Lollingdon was still rather quiet, several Chiffchaff, Blackcap and Common Whitethroat around and a single Fieldfare still present.

The hill just hosted a small flock of Linnet and a few Goldfinch.

Cholsey Marsh fared a bit better, at least 6 Common Whitethroat, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 8 Chiffchaff, 7 Blackcap, 10+ Sedge Warbler, 1 Reed Warbler and a Cetti’s Warbler, 6 Reed Bunting.

At least 2 Water Rail on the marsh, a Kingfisher along the river, 2 Great Crested Grebe and 2 Mute Swan, also 8 Swallow feeding over the marsh.

A few Loddon Lily now in flower.

Reed Warbler
Blackcap (f)
Common Whitethroat (above & below)

Reed Bunting
Loddon Lily