Portland Heights Special Interest Breaks
Friday October 5th - Sunday October 7th 2007

click here for the weekend's list of species

Saturday October 6th
Weather: Mostly overcast with occasional sunny intervals in a fresh easterly breeze.

Kingbarrow Quarry 0900
No sign of the Little Owl but we did see plenty of overhead migration with numerous flocks of Linnets, Siskins, Goldfinches and Pied Wagtails flying over. Grounded migrants were limited to a few Chiffchaffs and Wheatears.

Tout Quarry 1030
Again mostly overhead migration with a couple of Tree Pipits to add interest. Swallows and House Martins were heading north and east into the wind in large numbers by now. A female Sparrowhawk was disturbed with its prey, probably a Blackbird. Leaving the quarry we found 2 very smart Wheatears.

Southwell 1200
The resident Peregrines were here as usual as were both Kestrel and Sparrowhawk. Lunch was taken in very scenic conditions next to the cliff path overlooking the East Weares and Weymouth Bay.

Ferrybridge 1330
A very pleasant hour was spent here drinking coffee and watching the waders move closer on the incoming tide. Dunlin and Ringed Plovers made up most of their numbers with a few Turnstones for good measure. A Sandwich Tern was with the gulls and the highlight was when 3 Dark-bellied Brent Geese arrived from the east.

Radipole RSPB Reserve 1430
Mediterranean Gulls were the star turn here with at least 4 being seen. The North Hide showed us a few new species including Shoveler and Gadwall and particularly fine views of a Buzzard. The Wheatear was not a new species although it was probably of the rare Greenland race judging by the brightness of its colours. Returning to the car park we found a Ruff which we must have overlooked earlier.

Sunday October 7th
Weather: mainly overcast with one prolonged sunny spell midday with a cool NE wind.

Portland Bill 0930
Another non-show for the Little Owls but the Bird Observatory warden made up for it when he showed us a Chiffchaff in the hand. See the Portland Bird Observatory web site at www.portlandbirdobs.org.uk for news of the latest sightings.

Verne Naval Cemetry, 1100
Although we were mainly here to spy on the visiting nuclear submarine HMS Tireless, we did see a few good birds, the star of which was a splendid male Ring Ouzel sat uncharacteristically quietly in the bushes. The pair of Ravens were also a splendid sight presumably nest-prospecting on the cliff-face high above us.

Ferrybridge, 1130
Stopping for a quick cup of coffee we added Curlew and Kingfisher to the list and had good views of another Raven as it sat calling on Chesil Beach.

Langton Herring, 1230
As we arrived at this beautifully secluded spot the sun came out and gave us a wonderfully warm couple of hours in which to enjoy our lunch by the shores of The Fleet. Sadly no waders were to be seen but we did find a first-year Mediterranean Gull and another Kingfisher. Overhead we were watched by up to 5 Buzzards whilst out on the water several thousand Wigeon were nervously watching the Buzzards!

Lodmoor RSPB Reserve 1530
At last some waders in the shape of 5 Black-tailed Godwits and 3 gorgeous Little Stints, probably the best birds of the weekend. The supporting cast were pretty good too, being made up of Bearded Tits in the reedbeds, close views of Cetti’s Warblers in flight and a Hobby catching dragonflies overhead.

Lodmoor photo by Lynn Fordham, others by Bob Ford

On this hopeful note we returned to the hotel well pleased with our list of 94 species and equally pleased with our Heights Hotel cream tea!

Hoping to see you all again soon,