Portland Heights Birdwatching Breaks
Friday October 19th – Sunday October 21st 2007

reports archive

A great weekend's birdwatching with Mediterranean Gulls and Dartford Warblers - and Bottle-nosed Dolphins as well!.

click here for a list of species seen over the weekend

Saturday October 20th
Weather: Mostly overcast with occasional sunny intervals in a cold northerly breeze.

Westcliffs - Tout Quarry 0900
From the start there was plenty of overhead migration with numerous flocks of birds flying north including mostly Wood Pigeons, Starlings, Linnets, Siskins, Goldfinches and Chaffinches with singles of Brambling and Redpoll. Now and again a late Swallow would appear, also flying north.

Portland Bill 1100
A short sea-watch here produced little more than a few Gannets and a single Common Scoter but we were extremely fortunate to see a group of Bottle-nosed Dolphins pass close inshore. Walking on to the Bird Observatory we were in luck again, being just in time to see a Goldcrest in the hand. The warden’s moth trap produced a fascinating variety of specimens including a fine Beautiful Gothic. See the Portland Bird Observatory web site at www.portlandbirdobs.org.uk for news of the latest sightings.


Ferrybridge 1400
As usual a good selection of birds here at lunchtime the highlight of which were the 6 Mediterranean Gulls (see below) resting on the mud with the Black-headed Gulls. Waders included Dunlin, Ringed Plover and Curlew with a few Turnstones for good measure. 2 Dark-bellied Brent Geese were a surprise arrival as we enjoyed our coffee (and chips!).

Radipole RSPB Reserve 1400
Mediterranean Gulls were again the star turn here with at least 12 being seen. A walk around the Buddleia Loop to the North Hide showed us a few new species including Shoveler and Gadwall and a fleeting glimpse of a pair of Bearded Tits flying over the reeds.

Sunday October 21st
Weather: much sunnier than yesterday with more or less unbroken sunshine all day with a more gentle NE wind.

Arne RSPB Reserve, 1000
Our walk out to the Shipstall Point hide was punctuated by the sound of stag Sika deer calling out their strange territorial squeak. Birds were hard to find but we did eventually manage to locate most of the woodland species even if the woodpeckers were only heard in the distance. A pair of Fieldfares were the first of the autumn for most of us and it was very interesting to see them alongside a pair of Mistle Thrushes for comparison.

Reaching the hide we added Pintail and Wigeon to the list, along with some distant Yellow-legged Gulls. Walking back to the car park we came across a particularly fine Hornet that was sleepy enough to risk a close-up shot.

After lunch we walked out to Middlebere Lake where we were treated to the sight of 100 or more Avocets feeding in the bright sunshine. A group of Roe Deer out in the reed beds were an interesting comparison to the Sikas seen earlier. Settling down in the hide we found a few more waders including some Grey Plovers and a pair of sleepy Greenshank.

Our final walk back to the car park was made in near calm conditions and in warm afternoon sunshine, with the added bonus of an adult Dartford Warbler sat up on a gorse bush with a youngster. A fitting end to a most enjoyable weekend!

Hoping to see you all again soon,