Monday 5th August – Portland   Leave a comment

With force six winds ringing was out of the question and searching for migrants was going to be hard work. The best option seemed to be seawatching at Portland, something I haven’t done since the spring. On arrival I found the wind was more  westerly than south-westerly and only a few distant birds could be seen.

Even from the north side of the observatory the 'white horses' can be seen on the sea.

A single Bonxie (Great Skua) Sooty and Balearic Shearwaters were seen along with 20+ Manx Shearwaters. Photographing seabirds at this distance and this light would be impossible so I have included a few taken elsewhere / from the internet

The kleptoparasitic Great Skua is more often known by its vernacular Shetland name of Bonxie. Lyme Bay September 2007


Sooty Shearwaters breed exclusively in the subantarctic, many 'winter' off the Grand Banks of Labrador and can be seen in the UK as they return in our autumn to the southern hemisphere. Photographed off West Bay September 2009


Balearic Shearwaters are closely related to Manx but are duskier below and slightly larger. Breeding in the islands of the same name, they are critically endangered due to predation by introduced mammals, but can often be seen post breeding in the Channel. Photo from the Internet.


Opposite the observatory are the Crown Fields, managed as a bird friendly habitat, larks, Linnets, finches Wheatears and wagtails are attracted to the area.


At this time of year migrant Pied Wagtails will be joined by White Wagtails from Iceland and Scandinavia. Adults are easy enough to ID but first years can be tricky (at least to my eyes). Pale flanks may indicate a White Wagtail but the black rump showing between the inner two tertials point towards a Pied.


For comparison: an adult White Wagtail photographed in Oman in November 2007


Posted September 6, 2011 by gryllosblog in Uncategorized

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