Friday, 27 October 2017

Portland, Dorset - 27th October

I arrived at Portland at 07:30 just as the sun was rising and overhead Meadow Pipit, Sky Lark, Alba Wagtail and Linnet called. During a coffee before setting off and waiting for the sun to rise I spotted a couple of thrush in the scrub along the West Cliffs, chacking calls gave them away as Ring Ouzel so I set-off to get better views. I eventually had fairly good views of a male and female as they fed on Blackberries and Privet berries on the scattered scrub. I birded the west cliffs for a while before dropping down to the observatory. Woodpigeon passed in good numbers overhead and Brambling and Redpoll could be heard calling as they passed over. I birded the Hut Fields and then along the East Cliffs before heading up to Culverwell the highlights being two Firecrest, four Yellowhammer and two Golden Plover. At Culverwell, the southern edge of the scrub was bathed in sunlight and there were good numbers of insects, there were at least three Chiffchaff and a few Goldcrest. I then picked-up what looked to be a fairly pallid Acrocephalus and my immediate impressions were that it was simply a pallid looking Reed Warbler. Other birders approached and it became apparent that there was a rumour that the bird was a Marsh Warbler, this identification morphed into Blyth's Reed Warbler and as the crowd swelled to around 30 this identification took hold. I however was a little sceptical, to me it simply looked wrong in tone being too warm and seemed to have the wrong jizz - I couldn't put my finger on it but it just didn't feel right for a Blyth's Reed. Still I watched the bird for an hour or so before heading back to the car and home. When home I quickly looked at my images of the Acrocephalus and became more certain of my doubts so emailed some images and thoughts to Martin Cade - a little later that day the bird was captured and its identity as a Reed Warbler confirmed.  Martin's account of the day can be read on the Portland Bird Observatory website here.

Ring Ouzel - West Cliffs, Portland

Migrating Woodpigeon - Portland Bill

Little Owl - Observatory Quarry, Portland

Meadow Pipit - East Cliff, Portland

Reed Warbler - Culverwell, Portland Bill

Reed Warbler - Culverwell, Portland Bill

Long-tailed Tit - Coastguard Cottages, Portland

Mornings Totals:
Golden Plover - 2
Lapwing - 1
Woodpigeon - 350
Ring Ouzel - Male and female West Cliffs, on heard at Obs
Redwing - 8
Chiffchaff - 8
Firecrest - 2
Long-tailed Tit- 8 
Reed Warbler - 1
Blackcap - 3 (2 male and a female)
Stonechat - 35
Brambling - 5
Redpoll - 6
Siskin - 35
Reed Bunting 6
Yellowhammer - 4