27th – 28th March – Durlston and Portland   Leave a comment

On the 27th we had a ringing attempt at Durlston. This time we tried the Goat Plots as this would allow us to keep an eye on passing seabirds, however we only caught three birds and one was a retrap Blue Tit! In spite of the lack of migrants, it was quite enjoyable sitting watching the sea in glorious warm sunshine, a pair of Peregrines kept us entertained and the three Greylags flew west. It would be nice to think that the Greylags were wild birds on their way back to Iceland but they probably just came from Poole Park.

The cliffs at Durlston

A pair of Peregrines. Note the female on the left is larger than the male.



During the evening I attended the Dorset Bird Clubs AGM at the Methodist Church in Wareham. About 30 members attended and after the AGM Shaun Robson gave a talk on ‘midnight seawatching and other  Arctic adventures’ detailing the voyage that he, partner Marie and Sue and Roger Howell made around northern Norway. Shaun introduced a new term to the birding lexicon, ‘PSA,’ not the biochemical test that men of my age dread, but ‘pre-sighting anxiety’ to describe Roger’s behaviour as he fretted about dipping on the way to each new bird! Several of us gathered at the Duke of Wellington for a post meeting drink.

I didn’t set off too early on the 28th, so I thought I’d just have a potter around the Weymouth reserves of Radipole and Lodmoor. I was nearly there when I got the news of a Hoopoe at Portland so I drove straight there, however it appeared to have gone (someone saw it later in the afternoon). In the company of Nick Hopper and his partner Claire we searched the west cliffs, a few Meadow Pipits, Sand Martins and Swallows  passed through, quite a few Chiffchaffs hopped around the bushes and I had my first Willow Warbler of the year.



The view from the west Cliffs over the Chesil Bank, Portland Harbour and Weymouth.

This Peregrine put on a great show ....

... and circled below me several times.

A male Stonechat, a local breeder.

Migrant Chiffchaffs fed alongside the footpaths.

At Portland Buzzards only used to be seen on migration but now there are a couple of breeding pairs.

Nick and Claire at stone arch on the west cliff coast path

Nick told me that he is trying a for a big year list as well, but he intends to photograph every one of them!

This female Kestrel posed nicely as I drove away from the Bill.

As I returned home there was a flock of 200+ Black-headed Gulls over Lytchett Minster that I presumed were after flying insects. This behaviour is more typical of hot summers afternoons, but there again we are experiencing summer temperatures. In with the Black-heads were at least 10 Mediterranean Gulls, a recent colonist of this area. As I have never seen this species from my garden and the flock was heading east I headed home and was able to scope at least one from the front bedroom.

Adult summer Mediterranean Gull over Lytchett Minster....

.... and another one.

Posted March 29, 2012 by gryllosblog in Uncategorized

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