Thursday, 31 May 2012

Cholsey Marsh Cuckoo

              The Cholsey Marsh Cuckoo (thanks to Roger Wyatt for the photo)

Cholsey 31st May

Overcast, light rain, 15º, light W.

Lollingdon Hill, a busy day today so only a brief trip to the hill. A Linnet flock has grown to 32 birds over the week, mainly adults but a few young with them.

Usual Corn Buntings, Yellowhammers and Whitethroats present and 6 Swallows feeding low over the hedgerow during the rain.

A Roe Deer seen nearby.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Cholsey and Churn

Warm and sunny, 24º, light S. A distant thunderstorm seen to the west!

A mid morning visit to Cholsey Marsh, 8 Warbler species seen/heard and a Cuckoo roaming around the marsh, 2 Willow Warblers still singing, one on the marsh and the other on the opposite bank of the river. Hoping they will breed this year!
Whitethroat, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Chiffchaff, Sedge Warbler and Reed Warbler.

Several Reed Buntings singing well and some Stock Doves cooing (at least that’s what I interpret it as) in at least 2 places. Also 3 Great-spotted Woodpeckers, 2 Grey Herons and a Kingfisher of note.
A couple of trips to Lollingdon Hill just turned up the local species, Corn Bunting, Yellowhammer, Linnet and Skylark.

Decided to take a look at Churn, when I arrived someone else had the same idea, as it was the young Roger Wyatt J. So for the next 2 hours or so we just stood there chatting and hoping for a decent Raptor to pass by. Roger did have a Peregrine shortly before I arrived and from then on it was Buzzards and Red Kites seen and a distant Curlew heard. Cheers Rog, good to see you!

Brimstone, Peacock, Small White, Small Tort, Holly Blue, Orange Tip, Red Admiral and a Small Copper butterflies seen and several Club-tailed Dragonflies, 3 Broad-bodied Chasers and many Banded Demoiselles seen along the river.

A couple of Song Thrush frequenting the back garden again and several Pipistrelle bats around recently.
                                          Banded Demoiselle

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

First Quail

Warm and sunny, 24º, light S.

A walk around Lollingdon Hill this afternoon produced my first Quail for the year in Cholsey, calling from a crop on the north side of the hill.

Only other bird of note was a flyover Yellow Wagtail.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Cows cause power outage!

Still warm and sunny, 24º, no appreciable wind.
Within 30 minutes of arriving back home we had a power outage in my part of Cholsey.
Apparently some Cows had been put out in a meadow about 100m from here and one or more of them had rubbed up against one of the poles and caused it to move and 2 of the 3 power lines snapped. South Moreton was also without power as well as the NW end of Cholsey.

A couple of farm hands appeared and moved the cows to another meadow and the electricity company were quick off the mark.
It has taken the electricity company 7 hours to sort it as power has just resumed at 23:00!

Great living in rural Oxfordshire, full of surprises!
Interestingly sat in the dark and quiet I could hear a Grey Heron, Moorhen and Tawny Owl calling in the meadow and another more distant Tawny.

I stopped off at Lollingdon Hill on the way back, apart from the usual there was a flock of 22 Linnet on the hill and 2 Whitethroat.
 A couple of Common Swift taken over the week end.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Wednesday, 23 May 2012


Sunny, 25º, light NW.


A walk around the fields at Lollingdon today in the sunshine turned up the expected species, Linnets, Yellowhammers etc. The only surprise was a Lesser Whitethroat singing from a hedgerow.

Large Red Damselfly on Lollingdon Hill and Holly Blue, Orange tip, Brimstone, Small Tort, Peacock, Small White and a very brief glimpse of what I thought was a Painted Lady!

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Cholsey, 22nd May

Sunny, 24º, light NW. About time!

A walk this afternoon along the river at Cholsey marsh produced most of the usual birds, a Lesser Whitethroat seen near Bow Bridge, a Kingfisher, a Hobby and 3 Willow Warblers were of note. Willow Warbler may be breeding on the marsh this year as normally they just pass through on migration. They have bred before but not for the past few years. There are currently two singing on the marsh and one on the opposite bank and have been present since the last week of April. Fingers crossed.

Lollingdon Hill produced a flyover Yellow Wagtail, a Hobby and the usual Corn Buntings etc.

A Song Thrush seen feeding a fledged young in the garden and several House Sparrows dust bathing in some gravel out the front.

A Spotted Flycatcher seen briefly in the meadow, I hope it is the returning pair to repeat last year’s successful breeding.

Comma, Brimstone, Small Tortoiseshell, Small White, Orange Tip, Speckled Wood butterflies all seen today and the first dragons of the year with several Banded Demoiselles along the river.
                                   Willow Warbler
                            Corn Bunting (above and below)


Monday, 21 May 2012

Cholsey 21st May

Sunny spells, 18º, light NNW. Getting warmer.

A quick look on Lollingdon Hill proved quiet, a few Corn Bunting around, also Yellowhammer.

A Hobby seen today along the Wallingford rd. (thanks to Michael Pocock).

Lots of Cockchafers around tonight!
                                  Corn Bunting (above and below)

                                         European cup winners!

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Chelsea win European Champions League

Just had to post this one!

Chelsea achieved a dramatic Champions League final victory over Bayern Munich following a penalty shoot-out at the home of the German side.
Bayern looked to have won the game in normal time when Thomas Mueller headed home in the 83rd minute.
But shortly after, Didier Drogba headed in to take the game to extra-time.
Chelsea keeper Petr Cech saved Arjen Robben's penalty in the extra 30 minutes and Drogba scored the decisive spot-kick in the shoot-out.

Rock'n'roll Chelsea

Friday, 18 May 2012

Cholsey 18th May

Cuckoo heard regular on the proposed gravel site and a steady movement of Yellow Wagtail, also a Song Thrush with a nest full of young and plenty of snails to feed on.
Thanks to Tony Rayner for the info.
Lollingdon hill quiet but a Peregrine Falcon along Westfield rd today.
Thanks to Roger Wyatt for the info.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Cholsey, 17th May

Cloudy, 14º, light SSE.

An early visit to Cholsey marsh from 04:30 to 06:30, on arrival I could hear a Cuckoo and Grasshopper Warbler amongst the noise of mainly Sedge Warblers. I walked from one end of the marsh to the other trying to pick out everything in song or that was visible.

2 Great-spotted Woodpeckers, 4 Grey Heron, and 4 Stock Dove, seen,

Then: Cuckoo, ranging over a fair distance from the marsh to the 4 Arches then heard over the river in Little Stoke.

Green Woodpecker,

1 Lesser Whitethroat,

24 Sedge Warbler (+ more on opposite bank),

1 Grasshopper Warbler,

7 Whitethroat (+2 opposite bank),

3 Garden Warbler,

2 (pos 3) Reed Warbler,

2 Willow Warbler (+1 on the opposite bank),

6 Blackcap,

7 Chiffchaff,

12 Wren,


5 Blackbird,

3 Song Thrush,

2 Robin,

7 Chaffinch and

8 Reed Bunting.

3 Tufted Duck flew downriver, and then returned! A Kingfisher, 30+ Canada Geese, 10+ Greylag type Geese, 2 Mute Swan, 4 Great Crested Grebe and several Coot and Moorhen.

A quick look on Lollingdon Hill later in the day proved quiet, 2 Pied Wagtail gathering food, 2 Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Robin, Blackbird, Whitethroat, Yellowhammer and Corn Bunting and a Buzzard flew over.

Young Starlings seen in the meadow this afternoon.
                                  Pied Wagtail


Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Cholsey, 16th May

Sunny spells, 14º, light to fresh NW. Still a little chilly!

Farmland, a few more Whitethroats around now, also Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Yellowhammer, Skylark and Linnet frequent.

A family group of Long-tailed Tits mobbing a Tawny Owl that flew across a track in front of me and disappeared into an Ivy covered tree.

One field of Oil seed had 8 singing Reed Buntings in and a pair of Yellow Wagtail present.

The “reedy ditch” had 7 singing Sedge Warbler and a Reed Warbler, another Reed Warbler seen also.

2 Hobbys seen over the Lees and a fair number of Buzzards around Red Kite, Sparrowhawk and Kestrel seen.

Lollingdon Hill now rather quiet, just the usual 2 Pied Wagtail (carrying food now), 2 Grey Partridge and a few Linnet. Corn Buntings (3 singing), Yellowhammers (2 singing), 2 Whitethroats and a Blackcap nearby.

Swallows, Swifts and House Martins regular overhead hawking insects.

The Garden also quieter now, a pair of Robins collecting food and a Wren seen carrying food as well. A couple of  House Sparrows (unusual) in the garden this afternoon along with the 2 Mallards that are regular visitors and at least one of the garden nest boxes has a pair of Blue Tits in residence.

Chaffinch, Greenfinch and Goldfinch still visiting feeders but in lesser numbers and 3 Dunnock and a pair of Great Tits regular.

A Grey Squirrel present in the garden and intimidating the Wood Pigeons present but no match for the regular pair of Carrion Crows nor the Mallards’ that are quite capable of seeing the squirrel off.

One of the 2 House Martins nests at Marymead is in use so far this year.

Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, Starlings and up to 6 Blackbirds feeding in the meadow and a Moorhen regular, Yellowhammer, Whitethroat, Chiffchaff and Blackcap heard singing nearby and a Green Woodpecker heard calling.

2 Hedgehogs visiting garden regularly for the past week.

A note on the 6 White Storks that visited Cholsey on the 26th April. They were first seen near on the 17th April near Abberly in Worcestershire, at that point there were 9 White Storks, then 6 seen near Colwyn Bay and Holywell in North Wales before tracking back and being seen on Cholsey Hill. From there they were tracked over Moreton, Didcot and Abingdon before settling down in the Newbridge/Standlake area where unfortunately one of them died after hitting some power lines.

They were then seen in East Sussex (Sidlesham) and tracked across Hampshire to Dorset and seen over Weymouth and Portland (the day after I left Portland) and then flew to Mordon Bog in Dorset on 6th May. I have no further information from that point.
                                   Yellow Wagtail

                                   Blue Tit


Friday, 11 May 2012


From Tony Rayner:
Today we had our first Dingy Skipper of the year in our meadow, yet more evidence that we have a breeding colony.
Also last night was a good night for months; 17 species caught plus a couple of “micros” awaiting identification.
Reptile counts today were 8 Grass Snakes, 15 Common Lizards and 54 Slow-worms, also a female toad.
Last night there were Pipistrelle bats over the area and hawking prey over the area of the proposed gravel site.
Tony lives in the east of Cholsey!

Cholsey, 11th May.

Sunny spells, 14°, light to fresh WNW.
Another early visit to Cholsey Marsh produced two Cuckoos, vying with each other for the attention of a female that may or may not have been there; well at least I didn’t see her!
Lots of Warblers singing on the marsh, Grasshopper, Reed, Garden, Sedge, Willow, Blackcap, Whitethroat, Chiffchaff and a Lesser Whitethroat closer to Bow bridge.
A single Kingfisher flew towards Bow and 2 more flew across the river over the marsh.
A Water Rail seen moving in to the marsh and Treecreeper and Great-spotted Woodpecker noted.
2 Swallows hawking the marsh, a couple of Swifts overhead and a Grey Heron flew upriver.
A Green Woodpecker heard calling and a couple of Stock Dove seen also.
2 pairs of Bullfinches as usual in the blackthorn along the river bank and 5 singing Reed Buntings.
At least 2 Grebe nests and 2 Coot nests have been washed away as the river has risen.
Lindon homes in their wisdom have turfed and put bollards up on the verges along Ferry lane, Why!
More than likely to make the entrance look nice and tidy for their prospective buyers. To me it looks rather twee and sanitised and has lost some of its character, not to mention plants and insects that were there.
I doubt very much if any environmental impact was considered or any consultation with Cholsey Council taken.
A check on Lollingdon hill found little, a few Linnet and 2 Buzzards over. It looks as though Wheatear passage has dwindled out as none seen in the past two days! Watch them prove me wrong next week!

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Cholsey, 10th May.

Overcast, 15º, heavy rain p.m., light to moderate, S.

Farmland, many Hirundines hawking the fields and also passage birds flying through. 100+ Swallows, c30 House Martins and 50+ Swifts noted.

12 Starlings feeding on the playing fields.

Warblers in song were 6 Chiffchaff, 8 Blackcap, 7 Whitethroat and 1 Willow Warbler.

4 Sedge Warbler singing from the “reedy ditch”, a lot less than last year!

7 Yellowhammer in song + a small flock of 8 at Manor Farm, 3 Corn Bunting near Lollingdon Hill and 7 Reed Bunting, quite a few Linnet and Skylark around.

A pair of Yellow Wagtail at a usual site.

A Lesser Blackback Gull (3rdcy) flew over, also a flyover Curlew near the Lees and a flyover Tree Pipit near Lollingdon.

Drove down to Cholsey Marsh but rain very heavy so just sat in car for 30 mins, Swallows and Martins moving upriver a Tufted Duck flew down river and 2 Great-crested Grebes passed by struggling against the flow and a Common Sandpiper appeared on the bank in front of the car.

A couple of House Sparrows feeding young in the back garden today, unusual for here, although they are frequent nearby!

A few butterflies seen today, Small White, Comma, Peacock, Brimstone and Speckled Wood.

                 Common Sandpiper taken thru car window in rain!

Survey of proposed gravel sites.

Tony Rayner has completed a bird survey of the proposed area of gravel pits in Cholsey (not the riverside site). The survey contains several species that are of “conservation concern”.

Birds recorded on or over site excluding Corvids and Wood pigeons were as follows:-

House Martins, Swifts & Swallows (there was & has been a huge gathering alongside the sewage works - total over 100); Mute Swan; Canada Geese; Mallard; Moorhen; Blackbird; Song Thrush; Red Kite (weather poor for raptors); Green Woodpecker (at least 2 pairs); Great Spotted Woodpecker; Wheatear (smart male beside Bunk); Whitethroat; Lesser Whitethroat; Blackcap; Chiffchaff; Pied Wagtail; Skylarks (several); Chaffinch; Linnet; Goldfinch; Reed Bunting; Yellowhammer; Wren; Robin; Dunnock; Blue Tit; Great Tit; Long-tailed Tit; Lapwing; Starling.

Yesterday at home recorded first Small Copper plus ; Holly Blue; Small White; Orange Tip; Speckled Wood; Peacock; Red Admiral; Comma & Brimstone and total of 21 Common Lizards on logs.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Cholsey, 9th May

Rain on and off all day, 15º, light S.

An early morning visit to the marsh for a couple of hours, quite noticeable how much water there is on the marsh now after getting quite dry over the winter.

A Grasshopper Warbler singing when I arrived, 2 Willow Warblers singing on the marsh as well.

2 Reed Warbler, 5 Chiffchaff, 9 Whitethroat, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 8 Blackcap, 3 Garden Warbler and around 30 Sedge Warbler along the whole length of the marsh from the 4 Arches to the northern edge of the reserve.

Grey Heron feeding along the riverbank.

A look at 1066 today had around 150 Hirundines present feeding in the light rain, mainly Swallows but c20 House Martin and 6 Sand Martin. Also, present 1 Redshank, 4 pair of Tufted Duck and a few Mallards.

Lollingdon Hill still had a rather wet and forlorn looking Wheatear present; a few Swallow flew north and 3 Corn Bunting singing nearby.

A surprise of a smart summer plumaged male Siskin on the feeders in the garden today.

                                  Siskin and Robin

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Cholsey 8th May

Sunny spells, Showers, 10º, a little milder than of late, light SSW.

A quick stop off at Lollingdon Hill on my way home to find a single female Wheatear on the Hill (TW had a male “Greenland” Wheatear yesterday), a Hobby flew over the hill and 20 Swallows flew north.

Another Hobby see over the village later in the day.

TW had visited the Marsh this morning and had a Hobby and a Cuckoo in the area, worth keeping an eye out for waders, as some of the fields adjoining the Thames are flooded!

Swallows, Swifts and House Martins over the village.

Brimstone, Peacock and Speckled Wood butterfies.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Local news

First Swift over the village on 1st May, then daily.

The Rookery took a pounding over the weekend and several nests came down (one with a dead female on it), and many others seem to have lost their chicks. First branchers left the nest on Tuesday, and a fallen youngster was picked up and ringed on Thursday before being dried off, fed, and helped back into the trees.

Blackbirds hatched in the garden over the weekend.

May 4th
Large arrival of hirundines and Swifts today - 100 Swift, 80 Swallow and 80 House Martin over the sewage works, also my first whitethroat in the village.

Thanks to RB for the information.

Wheatears have been on Lollingdon Hill this week.

The Thames has flooded and has presumably washed out nests of Grebes, Coots etc,

Thanks to Tony Williams for the information.

A Little Egret (1st of the year) today along a flooded field by the Thames. Thanks to Bob Dryden for the info.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Portland day 6

My final day at Portland this spring started with a good fall of migrants, this time there were more “sylvia” warblers than “phyllosc” warblers and a few more “acro’s”.

One of my best weeks stay at Portland.

Of the 442 birds ringed today, 112 were Whitethroats, 89 Blackcaps!

Shortly after dawn, there was a lot of activity in the garden, birdwise that kept the “ringers” rather busy. Whilst we just wandered about watching the birds passing through the garden. Luckily, the “ringers” had some help from some folk that came down from the EGI in Oxford. For those that do not know the EGI is the Edward Grey Institute for Ornithology.

After most of the birds had passed through the garden it was time to look on the top fields as most migrant move on up there on their way off the island.

So my totals are as following.

Firstly, a pod of 8 to 10 Bottlenose Dolphins passed offshore and gave quite a display, very impressive!

The sea was very quiet; however, 1 Arctic Skua and 4 Common Scoter were of note.

A Little Egret flew over the Obs and a Sanderling and a Whimbrel were both fly-overs.

A Short-eared Owl was seen being harried by the local gull.

The movement of Swifts today was a little down as I counted approx 100 arriving.

Also, the passage of Hirundines had slowed as just a few hundred Swallows around 50 House Martins and a handful of Sand Martins.

A Hobby and a Sparrowhawk both seen and a Buzzard arrived, presumably in off the sea as it was a different bird from the local ones.

Warblers were, 20+ Garden Warblers, 150+ Blackcap, 150+ Whitethroat, 6 Lesser Whitethroats, 20+ Sedge Warblers, 5 Grasshopper Warblers, 10+ Reed Warblers, 40+ Willow Warblers and 40+ Chiffchaff.

50+ Wheatear, 10 Whinchat, 6 Redstart added to a rather impressive list.  104 species seen this week in 6 days on Portland, and look forward to a week in the Autumn!






Thursday, 3 May 2012

Portland, day 5

Rain at first then overcast with a few very light showers.

Two distinct peaks with migrants today, the first early shortly after the rain stopped then another around midday. Hirundines featured again today but less numbers than yesterday. Swallows started coming in around 09:00 and continued until around 13:00 when it appeared to slow but still a steady flow.

The sea today was negligible, with no visible passage in the northeasterly breeze, only the local feeding movements of the Auks that breed on the West cliffs and 4 Common Scoter flew east.

A Hobby was seen plucking prey on a fence post near the Obs.

A Turtle Dove and a Cuckoo were in the Top fields early on and a Short-eared Owl seen.

The Little Owl still present in a nearby quarry.

200+ Swifts seen throughout the day.

Another good passage of Swallows, probably around 5000, along with 100+ House Martins and 10+ Sand Martins seen.

3 Yellow Wagtails,9 Redstarts, 50+ Wheatears, 8 Whinchats, a Stonechat seen and a Ring Ouzel in the fields up to Southwell.

Chiffchaffs, Willow Warblers, Whitethroats and Blackcaps made up the most of the warbler passage, also 2 Garden Warblers, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 4 Sedge Warblers and 2 Reed Warblers.

Also 2 Spotted Flycatchers and 3 Pied Flycatchers seen.

2 Raven also seen in the afternoon flying down to the bill.

At 16:50 this afternoon all the Gulls  at the bill took to the air and an Osprey was seen coming in off the sea, a quick phone call to the warden who was at home managed to get a photo of it as it dropped lower as it moved up the island and was seen to be carrying a fish!

18:16, just four of us sat in the Obs lounge when a “ringtail” Hen Harrier flew in heading west!
                                  Yellow Wagtail


                                        Pied Flycatcher

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Portland, day 4

A quieter day than yesterday with lower numbers and diversity of birds on either land or sea, except for one species, however, still a reasonable movement of migrants on both.

As the garden was fairly quiet, I went down to the bill for a sea watch with some of the local birders and others staying at the Obs.

A Great Northern Diver seen flying west and a couple of flocks of Common Scoter totalling 34 birds.

At around 07:30 Swallows were seen coming in from the sea and continued for most of the day. Personally, I saw around 1000+ Swallows today and it was estimated that there could have been up to 20,000 (maybe even more) Swallows pass through Portland today on their journey north. A bit later House Martins started to arrive with around several hundred seen, also several Sand Martins still coming in.

We also had a Yellow Wagtail, 3 Willow Warblers and a Pied Flycatcher come in off the sea looking rather exhausted but they made it!

A total of approximately 150 Bar-tailed Godwits passed the bill and a Whimbrel.

Other species were a Purple Sandpiper, a Common Sandpiper, 2 Shelduck, and a Peregrine Falcon whilst sea watching.

On the land, there were a few Willow Warbler, Chiffchaffs, Whitethroats and Blackcaps into double figures and up to 50 Wheatears, also saw a Redstart that was trapped and ringed. Around 200 Swifts also seen throughout the day making their way in.

Later in the day another Peregrine Falcon was seen, also a Hobby and a Grey Heron late on.

At 19:25 we received a tweet about a Kentish Plover at Ferrybridge so we decided to shoot down to see it! Also at Ferrybridge were Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Sanderling, 3 Whimbrel, a Curlew and a Red Knot, and a flock of 40 ish Bar-tailed Godwit flew over.

And so ended a quiet day at Portland!
                                 Hobby (courtesy Joe Stockwell)

                            Redstart, ringed then released.

                                  Great Tit

                 Kentish Plover (courtesy Joe Stockwell)

                    Kentish Plover (courtesy Joe Stockwell)

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Portland day 3, 1st May

Wall to wall sunshine!
Woke at 05:00 to pouring rain, in a way I thought great, can get a lie in but woke again at 05:30 to hear a Chiffchaff singing just outside the window and it had stopped raining! Out on the Obs garden patio by 06:00 with a mug of coffee and the garden and surrounding area was heaving with migrants.

Ideal conditions for a fall of migrants, rain at dawn and no wind. After about 3 hours, the migrants had mostly moved through the lower area at the bill and moved on up the island so a walk around the top fields was in order after a brief sea watch.

Still lots of birds in the top fields for most of the day then back to the Obs for a couple of brief sea watches and a few walks around the area.

The following is a selected list of species I saw/heard today.

Red-breasted Merganser – 2 flew overhead,

Red-throated Diver – 1,

Fulmar – a light passage on the sea,

Manx Shearwater – a light passage of c20,

Balearic Shearwater – 1 flew east,

Gannet – a steady flow all day,

Sparrowhawk – 1,

Ringed Plover – 1 flyover,

Black-tailed Godwit – 1 flyover,

Whimbrel – 3,

Common Snipe – 1 flyover,

Great Skua – 3,

Pomarine Skua – 3,

Arctic Skua – 14,

Little Gull – 1,

“Commic” Tern – 40+,

Turtle Dove – 3,

Swift – 100+,

House Martin – 40+,

Sand Martin – 10+,

Swallow – passage most of day, 500+,

Tree Pipit – 1,

Yellow Wagtail – 3,

Nightingale – 1 heard singing in a crop of Kale,

Redstart – 20+,

Wheatear – 100+,

Whinchat – 20+,

Garden Warbler – 10+,

Blackcap – 80+,

Whitethroat – c80,

Lesser Whitethroat – 6,

Sedge Warbler – c15,

Grasshopper Warbler – 4,

Reed Warbler – 3,

Willow Warbler – c350,

Chiffchaff – c150,

Wood Warbler – 3,

Goldcrest – 1,

Spotted Flycatcher – 1,

Pied Flycatcher – 2,

Redpoll – 1,

Serin – 1 flyover.

And so ended a really busy and fulfilling day!

More @


                                  Turtle Dove


Portland, day 2, 30th Apr

Certainly, a better day than yesterday, the rain stopped by about 06:00, the wind was quite blustery and there was a heavy sea state but around 10:30 (ish) both began to moderate.

Shortly after that, Swifts started to arrive, counted approx 200+ coming in of the sea and by midday, Hirundines started to feature with c500 Swallows, c20 House Martins and a few Sand Martins.

Land-based migrants were thin on the ground with 20+ Wheatear, including 2 seen coming in off the sea. A few Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs, a Redpoll and 2 Whitethroats around the Obs area, also 2 Hobbys in off the sea.

Resident species of note seen were Sparrowhawk, Raven and Little Owl.

Sea watching was the better option today with high numbers of Gannets, Fulmars, Manx Shearwaters and a supporting cast of Kittiwakes, 6 Sandwich Terns, 2 Great Northern Divers, 1 Red-throated Diver and a few “Commic” Terns.

Guillemots and Razorbills were also prominent flying to and from the breeding area on the west cliffs to feed off the bill area.

There was also a fair Skua passage with 16 Arctic Skuas, 3 Pomarine Skuas and 6 Great Skuas (Bonxies).

A Basking Shark was seen off the bill around 17:30.

It then started raining again at 18:00!

                                  European Shag
                                  Gannet and Arctic Skua
                                  Arctic Skua
                                   Pomarine Skua
                                   Little Owl