You are here

Twitter

Sightings - Monday 22nd October 2018

Dorset Bird Club - 33 min 39 sec ago
Cattle Egret - 7 Abbotsbury Swannery, 1 StoboroughGreat Egret - 1 Longham LakesSpoonbill - 26 Brownsea Island lagoonLesser Yellowlegs - 1 LodmoorAvocet - 500 Brownsea Island lagoonShort-eared Owl - 7 Portland Bill (yesterday)Fieldfare - 40 MiddlebereRedwing - 7 Christchurch HarbourYellow-browed Warbler - 1 Hengistbury Head, 1 Portland Obs
Possible wildlife crime at RSPB Lodmoor Nature Reserve –
Dorset Police alerted the RSPB to the presence of five males who have known links to wildlife crime at RSPB Lodmoor nature reserve on the 17th October. They were seen with a large net and drove a black Suzuki Vitara. It’s not known what their intentions were but their behaviour was clearly suspicious and was logged by the Police. A further possible incident took place 21st October when two males were seen lifting a ‘cage’ from the sluice along Preston Beach Road but again there’s no suggestion of their intention. Due to these incidents please look out for anything suspicious at RSPB Lodmoor and report it to the Police via 101 and if you see a crime taking place please do not hesitate to ring 999. More eyes looking the better!











Categories: Timeline, Twitter

24 Apr 18 - Atlantic Odyssey - Day Twenty Six: Ascension Island Band-rumped Storm-petrels

There was one final Seabird I wanted to see around Ascension Island: the Ascension Island population of Band-rumped Storm-petrels. I had seen a few Band-rumped Storm-petrels on the day before we reached Ascension Island. However, as we were around 150 nautical miles from the island, there is no certainty they were from the Ascension Island population. A few Birders had seen some around Boatswainbird Island on the first visit, but they they were brief sightings & none were seen from the bridge wing where I was standing. Therefore, as we were weighing anchor to leave Ascension Island, I headed back to the bridge wing with a fresh mug of coffee & with no intention of leaving my vantage position until I seen some Band-rumped Storm-petrels or it got dark. There were none around Boatswainbird Island, but fortunately, I picked up the first of at least eight as we were finally sailing away from Ascension Island.
Band-rumped Storm-petrel: Like the St Helena population, they show a slightly forked tail, a prominent clean-cut white rump & prominent pale wingbarBand-rumped Storm-petrel: The white rump extends well down the sides of the rumpBand-rumped Storm-petrel: Another view of the same individualBand-rumped Storm-petrel: Another view of the same individualBand-rumped Storm-petrel: A better view of the sides of the rumpBand-rumped Storm-petrel: An underwing shot of the same individualBand-rumped Storm-petrel: A final underwing shot of the same individual
Band-rumped Storm-petrel taxonomy is complex. A few years ago, Band-rumped Storm-petrels were understood to breed on islands in the Tropical Atlantic & Pacific Oceans, including the Portuguese Berlengas Islands, Madeira, Canaries, Azores, Cape Verde, Ascension Island, St Helena, as well as, the Galapagos, Hawaii & islands belonging to Japan. In the last decade, studies into the breeding times of year, DNA, vocalisation & morphology have identified that there are probably three additional species which breed on the Tropical North Atlantic islands. Studies of the Band-rumped Storm-petrels which breed on Ascension Island & St Helena are only just starting, but there must be a reasonable chance of additional splits of these populations once these studies have been completed. We had had good views of many Band-rumped Storm-petrels on St Helena & now we had seen & photographed individuals from the Ascension Island population.Band-rumped Storm-petrel: The second individual didn't come very closeBand-rumped Storm-petrel: Another photo of the second individual showing the extensive white sides to the rump
The third Band-rumped Storm-petrel was a heavily worn individual.
Band-rumped Storm-petrel: Note, the worn plumage & active wing moultBand-rumped Storm-petrel: This was a much tattier & worn individualBand-rumped Storm-petrelBand-rumped Storm-petrel: Note, the wing moultBand-rumped Storm-petrel: It didn't show the crisp clean markings of the first two individualsBand-rumped Storm-petrelBand-rumped Storm-petrelBand-rumped Storm-petrel: A final show of the third individual disappearingThere were also a few Leach's Storm-petrels. They were longer-winged & had a variable dark band through the centre of the white rump.
Leach's Storm-petrel: This individual has a very distinctive black band through the centre of the rumpLeach's Storm-petrel: The tail is deeper forked than the Band-tailed Storm-petrelsLeach's Storm-petrel: The feet also project beyond the tail in this one photoLeach's Storm-petrel: Another photo of the same individualLeach's Storm-petrel: The upper wing bar is also very obviousLeach's Storm-petrel: The white sides to the rump are not as obvious as on the Band-tailed Storm-petrelsLeach's Storm-petrel: A final view of this first individual showing that the wings are longer, the white on the sides of the rump are less extensive & the tail is deeper forked than the Band-rumped Storm-petrelsFinally, some photos of a second Leach's Storm-petrel.
Leach's Storm-petrel: Superficially this looks like a Band-rumped Storm-petrelLeach's Storm-petrel: However, it looks longer-winged & shows a dark bar across this centre of the white rumpLeach's Storm-petrel: Unusually, this individual doesn't appear to have a forked tailLeach's Storm-petrel: The white is less extensive on the sides of the rump
Categories: Blogs, Timeline, Twitter

21st October

Portland Bird Observatory - Sun, 10/21/2018 - 23:12
With barely a sniff of a change in the conditions it was no surprise that the birding remained very samey, with 2 Yellow-browed Warblers at both the Obs and Southwell School, 2 Ring Ouzels at the Verne, singles of Black Redstart at the Bill and Blacknor, and singles of Firecrest and Yellowhammer at the Bill providing some pretty low-key highlights around the island. Grounded totals included 25 each of Chiffchaff, Goldcrest and Reed Bunting at the Bill, whilst 500 Wood Pigeons overhead there was as good as it got on the visible passage front.

A miscellaneous selection of other natural history interest included a Vagrant Emperor dragonfly and 4 Red-veined Darters seen in the Cheyne Weare/Church Ope Cove area during the afternoon, another 2 Radford's Flame Shoulders trapped overnight at the Obs and a Brown Long-eared Bat caught at dawn in a mist-net at the Obs.
*If Steven Guy happens to look in on the blog do please get in touch as we'd very much like to share your photos of the Vagrant Emperor here*
There was a time when bats were caught quite frequently in the Obs garden mist-nets but that certainly hasn't been the case for some years so it quite a novelty when this Brown Long-eared Bat was trapped there at dawn; we have several old records of this species having been caught at the Obs and it'll be interesting to see if the static bat detector deployed there provides evidence that they're resident or just strays/migrants © Martin Cade/Fergus Henderson:
Categories: Timeline, Twitter

Sightings - Sunday 21st October 2018

Dorset Bird Club - Sun, 10/21/2018 - 21:03
Ring-necked Duck - 1 Lodmoor
Cattle Egret - 4 Abbotsbury Swannery
Great Egret - 1 Lytchett Fields
Osprey - 1 over Char Valley near Wooton
Lesser Yellowlegs - 1 Lodmoor
Short-eared Owl - up to 4 Stanpit Marsh
Wryneck - 1 Longham Lakes
Jackdaw - 2180 over West Bay
Black Redstart - 1 Blacknor
Yellow-browed Warbler - 1 Charmouth, 1 Ballard Down, 1 Osmington Mills, 1 Durlston CP, 1 Blacknor, 2 Reap Lane
Wryneck Longham Lakes copyright David Foster

Categories: Timeline, Twitter

20th October

Portland Bird Observatory - Sat, 10/20/2018 - 23:11
It's not often that you get to moan that the weather was too nice during October but from the birding point of view that was likely the case today, with the cloudless sky and shirt-sleeves warmth hardly conducive to dropping migrants in quantity; that said, the trees were certainly busier with Chiffchaffs and 'crests than has been the case for a few days and the balmy conditions made it a pleasure to spend time working through them. The Chiffchaff tally from the centre and south of the island was well into three figures, whilst Goldcrests - that have hitherto been conspicuously thin on the ground throughout - reached an autumn peak to date of 30 at the Bill; other worthwhile totals included 15 Reed Buntings and 8 Long-tailed Tits at the Bill. Quality on the ground was sadly lacking, with Yellow-browed Warblers at Southwell School (2) and the Grove the best on offer; 4 Ring Ouzels were still scattered about the north of the island and 3 Black Redstarts were at the Bill/Southwell. Visible passage was a bit of an anti-climax - were they all too high or just taking a different route today? - with seasonable fare all represented but only sparsely at best.

The warmth of recent days has seen plenty of insects on the wing, amongst which today were at Red-veined Darter at the Verne and well into double figure totals of both Clouded Yellow and Painted Lady.

In places the purges of recent years on invasive cotoneaster maybe went a little too overboard and grubbed out swathes of the plant (whose berries are so loved by migrant thrushes) from traditional Ring Ouzel haunts; fortunately the inaccessible slopes of the Verne Citadel retain a fair bit of this pernicious alien and continue to be an ouzel hot-spot © Dave Foot:

The Obs after dark this evening © Martin King:
Categories: Timeline, Twitter

19th October

Portland Bird Observatory - Fri, 10/19/2018 - 23:00
It looked today as though many of the migrants that had wanted to move on after the dreary start to the week did so at the first opportunity yesterday - today's even more glorious conditions tempted far fewer birds into the sky and certainly didn't prompt many to drop in. Visible passage was best recorded at the north of the island where 1222 Linnets topped an otherwise fairly undistinguished tally amongst which 90 Siskins were of most note; a Woodlark was the best on offer amongst the generally lower numbers logged over the Bill. It was never busy on the ground but interest came in the form of single Cetti's Warblers at the Bill and the north of the island, single Yellow-browed Warblers at Avalanche Road and Old Hill and totals of 7 Ring Ouzels, 4 Black Redstarts and 4 Firecrests dotted about.
Categories: Timeline, Twitter

24 Apr 18 - Atlantic Odyssey - Day Twenty Six: Bottlenose Dolphins At Ascension Island

Birding in Poole Harbour and Beyond - Fri, 10/19/2018 - 19:00
While we were around Boatswainbird Island as we were leaving Ascension Island, we saw our first pod of Bottlenose Dolphins for the Atlantic Odyssey. Even better they were in a playful mode & were keen to get involved in some bow-wave action. Unfortunately, we were hardly moving as we were close to the island. But they hung around & as a result, we enjoyed some close views of this widespread Dolphin species.
Bottlenose Dolphin: The water was very clear allowing us to follow them underwater. Bottlenose Dolphins are one of the larger Dolphins with relatively a uniform grey appearance, a short, stout beak and a tall & sharply curved dorsal finBottlenose Dolphin: Two more coming in to the PlanciusBottlenose Dolphin: The first of the two breaks the surfaceBottlenose Dolphin: This is the dorsal fin of the second individual which has distinctive vertical scars on it
Bottlenose Dolphin: A close crop of the vertical scars Bottlenose Dolphin: A clearer view of the short, stout beak and tall & sharply curved dorsal finBottlenose Dolphin: A better view of the short, stout beak & the distinctive crease between the beak & the headBottlenose Dolphin: There is a minimal blow as this individual breaks the surfaceBottlenose DolphinBottlenose Dolphin: It quickly starts to dive againBottlenose Dolphin: Cetaceans can be separated from Sharks, Tuna & other Fish by their tail fins which are horizontal on Cetaceans & vertical on species of FishBottlenose Dolphin: This individual has a distinctive curved dorsal fin
As we were heading towards Boatswainbird Island, we had a brief encounter with an Atlantic White Marlin. This is one of the Billfish & can reach up to 2.8 metres long, so it is a similar size to a Dolphin, but it is much slimmer with a distinctive long bill.
Atlantic White Marlin: It leapt out of the water on a few occasions showing its distinctive billSmall Clearwing: I saw at least 500 Small Clearwings during the afternoon as we left Ascension Island. The collective name for Small Clearwings should be a Confusion of Small Clearwings
Categories: Blogs, Timeline, Twitter

18th October

Portland Bird Observatory - Thu, 10/18/2018 - 21:51
A complete change in the weather saw crystal clear skies greet the expectant dawn risers and it was quickly apparent that, not unexpectedly, overhead passage would feature prominently. The usual late autumn suspects - Wood Pigeons, Skylarks, Swallows, Meadow Pipits and a variety of thrushes and finches - dominated and were at times tricky to full quantify since movement was taking place over such a broad front; cumulatively, the most numerous constituents amounted to a nearly five figure total, whilst quality was provided by a minimum of 3 Woodlarks and a Hawfinch. It was noticeably quieter on the ground than it had been on the drearier days earlier in the week but a/the Little Bunting was spotted briefly in Top Fields, a Yellow-browed Warbler was at Southwell, 4 Ring Ouzels, 3 Black Redstarts, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, a Firecrest and a Corn Bunting were scattered about and there was a decent late-ish total of 50 Wheatears at the Bill.

One of the Woodlarks over the Bill this morning © Martin Cade:

Just for a bit of fun we combined last night's 5 new Radford's Flame Shoulders from the Obs moth-traps (the highest ever single night total there) with the 5 we already had potted from previous nights for a double-figure assemblage photo - and to think that as recently as ten years ago the all-time British total had only just crept over 20 © Martin Cade:
Categories: Timeline, Twitter

Sightings - Thursday 18th October 2018

Dorset Bird Club - Thu, 10/18/2018 - 20:06
Great Egret - 5 past Abbotsbury, Charmouth and West Bexington, 1 past West Bay, 1 Lodmoor
Cattle Egret - 2 Frome floodplain Wareham, 1 Abbotsbury Swannery 
Spoonbill - 66 from Shipstal Arne
Osprey - 1 Langton Herring
Merlin - 3 Hengistbury Head
Hen Harrier - 1 Milborne St Andrew
Lesser Yellowlegs - 1 Lodmoor
Water Pipit - 1 Stanpit Marsh
Skylark - 2000 over Abbotsbury Swannery, 2230 over West Bay
Siberian Chiffchaff - 1 Kinson Sewage Works
Yellow-browed Warbler - 3 Ringstead Bay, 1 Reap Lane Portland
Ring Ouzel - 1 Ringstead Bay, 1 Top Fields Portland, 1 Blacknor
Lapland Bunting - 1 Hengistbury Head, 1 Abbotsbury Swannery 

Hengistbury Head vis mig
1 Hawfinch, 730 Chaffinch, 35 Redpoll, 730 Chaffinch, 750 Siskin, 2800 Linnet, 3200 Goldfinch, 530 albaWagtail, 1700 Meadow Pipit, 435 Skylark, 111 Starling


West Bay vis mig 5 GW Egret, Merlin, 3 Woodlark, 2 Corn Bunting, 5 Brambling, Lapwing, 3 Bullfinch, 2230 Skylark, 1525 Chaffinch, 1230 Wood Pig, 20 Stock D 1355 Linnet, 560 Goldfinch, 510 Starling, 88 M Pipit, 46 alba, 34 Siskin, 21 Reed Bunt, 13 Greenfinch, 3 Redpoll, 2 Swallow
Categories: Timeline, Twitter

24 Apr 18 - Atlantic Odyssey - Day Twenty Six: Boatswainbird Island Revised

Birding in Poole Harbour and Beyond - Thu, 10/18/2018 - 19:00
There was a final treat for our prompt departure from Ascension Island & that was another stop at Boatswainbird Island. All the decks were crammed with people enjoying the spectacle around the island.
Boatswainbird Island: Named using the old sailors name for the breeding TropicbirdsVolcanic rock There are two species of breeding Boatswainbird or Bosunbird: White-tailed Tropicbird & Red-billed Tropicbird.
White-tailed Tropicbird: AdultWhite-tailed Tropicbird: AdultWhite-tailed Tropicbird: AdultWhite-tailed Tropicbird: AdultRed-billed Tropicbird: Adult. Note, the heavier, red bill, lack of a black secondary band, more extensive black leading edge to the primaries, scaly mantle & lesser wing coverts in separating it from White-tailed TropicbirdMasked Booby: Adult
Masked Booby: Subadult Brown Booby: Adult
Brown Booby: Juvenile Red-footed Booby: AdultRed-footed Booby: This juvenile briefly appeared right next to the Plancius
Categories: Blogs, Timeline, Twitter

Wild half term events in Dorset

Dorset Wildlife Trust - Thu, 10/18/2018 - 16:13

This October half term, Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT) has some spooky wild events to get children out into nature at our visitor centres and nature reserves in Dorset.

Categories: Twitter

17th October

Portland Bird Observatory - Wed, 10/17/2018 - 20:47
A bit of a soggy one today with super fine rain that never failed to drench any birder who dared venture out into the field. Yesterday's Little Bunting was relocated in the Top Fields feeding away in the drizzle. The rain did not deter some of the commoner migrants with another strong showing from Chaffinches, Linnets, Goldfinches and Skylarks. It was another good day for Black Redstarts with two at the Bill and two near Portland Castle. A Firecrest at the obs and a Goldcrest in Culverwell were the only crests located throughout the day and a single Yellow-browed Warbler was at the Grove.

Despite being a relatively unmarked bird, the Little Bunting in the top fields was definitely the highlight of a very wet day ©Matt Ames

Categories: Timeline, Twitter

Sightings - Wednesday 17th October 2018

Dorset Bird Club - Wed, 10/17/2018 - 20:38
Great Egret - 2 Lodmoor, 1 Littlesea Studland
Cattle Egret - 3 past Abbotsbury Swannery
Ring Ouzel - 1 Durlston CP
Black Redstart - 1 Durlston CP, 1 Abbotsbury Swannery
Yellow-browed Warbler - 1 Thumb Lane Portland
Hawfinch - 1 over Durlston CP
Little Bunting - 1 Top Fields Portland
Categories: Timeline, Twitter

16th October

Portland Bird Observatory - Tue, 10/16/2018 - 23:27
On the nicest birding day for some while the middle of the island was veritably hopping with birds, with 5 Yellow-browed Warblers and singles of Ring Ouzel, Siberian Chiffchaff, Firecrest and Hawfinch the pick amongst high counts of a wide variety of thrushes, warblers and finches. The Bill was something of the poor relation but did chip with the rarity of the day when a Little Bunting that appeared over the Crown Estate Field during the afternoon eventually dropped in and was duly trapped there; also at the Bill, 3 Bramblings overhead were the first of the autumn, 500 Swallows and 250 Skylarks were worthy visible passage totals and scarcities included 2 Black  Redstarts, 2 Ring Ouzels and a Yellow-browed Warbler.

Maybe not surprisingly, our crops in the Crown Estate Field have become something of a Little Bunting hotspot in recent years and today we were able to watch the effectiveness of Joe Stockwell's 'ticking bunting' sound-lure that we've employed there in recent late autumns (we knew it was effective because, apart from Little Buntings, we've had the good fortune to stumble across Pine Bunting and Rustic Bunting in nets beside it in the last couple of years!). We happened to be in the field doing a net round when we first heard today's bird calling high overhead and we watched as it did several circuits over the field before plunging into the maize not far from the lure; on this occasion it didn't fly straight into a net but it wasn't long before it made its way toward the lure and was trapped © Martin Cade:  

In much calmer conditions overnight mothing at the Obs was considerably more rewarding than of late, with 2 more Radford's Flame Shoulders the best of the scarcer immigrants. Our highlight though was the long, long overdue first Clifden Nonpareil for the island - not much more than a decade ago this would have been a noteworthy capture anywhere but such has been the remarkable change in their status that, latterly, Portland has been one of the few regularly trapped sites in Dorset not to have had a record © Martin Cade:
Categories: Timeline, Twitter

Shetland: part the first

Peter Moores Blog - Tue, 10/16/2018 - 22:14
At the turn of last month, David Bradnum, Howard Vaughan, Bob Vaughan and I reprised our 2017 Shetland adventure with a week based on Muckle Roe, in the west of Mainland.
Woodchat Shrike at Barns NessWoodchat Shrike at Barns NessI don't think I could face writing a day-by-day account, let alone subject you poor innocents to it, so I'll try to wrap it up in just a few posts. Not that there weren't many highlights - there were plenty, and we saw a selection of birds that, had they been seen over the course of a week anywhere else in the country would have represented an excellent haul. But by Shetland's high standards it would be a lie to say that it wasn't just a wee bit anti-climactic.
The American White-winged Scoter at Musselburgh, flanked by two drake Velvet ScoterWhite-winged Scoter (left) has a pink bill (yellow in Velvet) and a more prominent white 'uptick' over the eyeThe main culprit for this was westerly winds: an almost constant stream of them preceded our arrival and they remained the dominant influence in the weather throughout our stay, depriving Shetland of the famous easterlies which have delivered so many beasts from the east over previous autumns.
One of a pair of Ringed Plover sheltering in tyre tracks on the beach near Busta House HotelAnd here's the other one of the pairBut I'm getting ahead of myself: first we had to get there. This involved me heading over to the east of the country to meet the rest of team who are London/Essex/Kent based. Our planned departure time of mid-morning gave me a couple of hours of daylight to head first to the Thames Estuary to scan for the Beluga Whale located a couple of days before. I failed to find it but it re-appeared an hour after I left - an inauspicious start.
A wind-swept Pied Flycatcher at SwiningA ditch-bound Common Snipe - one day it will be a Great!There wasn't too much to divert us on the long road north - a Grey Phalarope at the well-appointed RSPB reserve at Old Moor and a party of Willow Tits on the Northumberland coast were barely a detour from the main drag, and we reached our first overnight stop in Berwick at a sensible hour. The following morning the Lothian coast offered a little more promise, with a Woodchat Shrike and Rose-coloured Starling at Barns Ness, plus a Pectoral Sandpiper and the long-staying American White-Winged Scoter at Musselburgh. We saw them all in beautiful light, the latter being my second encounter of the year with this bird after I caught up with in on a Scottish trip back in March.
This was the bird we initially identified as an Icterine Warbler based on the lead -grey legs......and apparent pale panel in the wing (we didn't get a good view of the primary projection)A surprisingly calm crossing on MV Hrossey ended in a familiar sight: horizontal rain lashing the rock armour of Lerwick Harbour, though within minutes we had seen our first Otter and only Purple Sandpipers of the trip. Much of the rest of the day was a bit of a wash-out so we checked out our (plush) self-catering accommodation and gave the kettle its first workout of the week.
Later in the week we re-visited the re-identified Melodious WarblerWith better views the diagnostic short primary projection was more apparentMelodious Warbler, LunnaUndaunted we ventured out again later in the day to the picturesque Lunna Kirk, where we found what we took to be an Icterine Warbler. It was later re-identified as a Melodious - an even rarer bird for Shetland, making it a good if not entirely competent start to our birding week!
Howard channels Jesus at Lunna Kirk
Categories: Blogs, Timeline, Twitter

Sightings - Tuesday 16th October 2018

Dorset Bird Club - Tue, 10/16/2018 - 19:58
Great Egret - 1 Abbotsbury
Spoonbill - 45 Shipstal Point
Lesser Yellowlegs - 1 Lodmoor
Cuckoo - 1 Hartland Moor
Redstart - 1 Hartland Moor
Wheatear - 1 Portland Bill
Black Redstart - 1 Portland Bill
Firecrest - 1 Durlston
Yellow-browed Warbler - 4 Grove Sports Stadium, 1 Easton YMCA Portland, 1 Ballard Down, 2 Lyme Regis
Chiffchaff - 40 Christchurch Harbour
Brambling - 1 Christchurch Harbour
Linnet - 400 over Christchurch Harbour
Siskin - 180 over Christchurch Harbour
Little Bunting - 1 Portland Obs

Black-tailed Godwits Hengistbury Head copyright Clinton Whale








Categories: Timeline, Twitter

Sightings - Monday 15th October 2018

Dorset Bird Club - Mon, 10/15/2018 - 21:12
Great Egret - 2 Radipole Lake
Hobby - 1 Portland Bill
Ring Ouzel - 2 Suckthumb/Coombefield, 3 Crown Estate Fields Portland Bill, 1 Middlebere, 1 Christchurch Harbour
Black Redstart - 1 Portland Obs
Yellow-browed Warbler - singles at PC World Drain, Abbotsbury Swannery, Portland Obs, Suckthumb/Coombefield
Chiffchaff - 45 Christchurch Harbour
Siberian Chiffchaff - singles at PC World Drain and Suckthumb/Coombefield
Firecrest - 1 Hartland Way
Categories: Timeline, Twitter

15th October

Portland Bird Observatory - Mon, 10/15/2018 - 20:50
Today finally felt like a traditional autumn, cold, wet and breezy with bushes full of birds and a feeling of potential. Although the 'biggie' never materialized there was a good amount of variety and numbers of common migrants. Blackcaps were the most common migrants of the day with just under 200 individuals recorded; Chaffinches put in their highest count of the autumn with 80 birds around the bill area and Swallows had a late flurry with 104 birds over the East Cliffs. On the more unusual front there were three Yellow-browed Warblers (2 at the obs and 1 at thumb lane), the first double figure count of Reed Buntings of the autumn, 6 Ring Ouzels, 3 Black Redstarts and a lone Mute Swan. In the theme of the past few days we also witnessed some migrants slightly on the tardy side including 4 Swifts, 2 Whitethroats and a Common Sandpiper.

Linnets provided the biggest spectacle of the day with estimates of around 3,000 birds cumulatively in the Crown Estate and the top fields © Martin Cade 

A common bird just across the sea but Black Redstarts are always a pleasure to see in the hand © Martin Cade/Erin Taylor:


The third Yellow-browed Warbler trapped this autumn, still a way off the record year ringing total of 11 set in 2016 © Trevor Wilkinson:

The recent spell of exceptionally mild weather that now looks to be behind us had huge potential on the moth front but, since it remained ragingly windy throughout, will chiefly be remembered by us as something of a damp squib. A few routine southern scarcities - Olive-tree Pearls, Vestals, Gems and the like - put in appearances but the killer rarities remained stubbornly absent from our traps. Despite a huge dip in the overnight temperature there were still a few morsels of interest on the wing last night, including the fifth - and least rubbed so far - Radford's Flame Shoulder of the autumn © Martin Cade: 
Categories: Timeline, Twitter

24 Apr 18 - Atlantic Odyssey - Day Twenty Six: Passengers Behaving Badly

Birding in Poole Harbour and Beyond - Mon, 10/15/2018 - 18:00
We had a great guided trip on 23 Apr on Ascension Island (see earlier Blog Posts). But the day wasn't over. After dinner, we were back into the zodiacs to go ashore to look for Green Turtles on Long Beach. The Conservation Dept team were back out again to guide people. After a presentation, while they were looking for egg-laying female Green Turtles, we were led in groups of around 15 along the road at the back of the beach. We were asked to wait on the road, until a female was found so that a group could be taken to see the egg-laying. Unfortunately, few Green Turtles were found that night & the group I was in stayed on the road. We did see a Green Turtle from the road, but not up close & personal. Apparently, once they start egg-laying, having a group of quiet people appear up close will not disturb them, providing there are no white lights & obviously no flash guns going off.
Green Turtle: While everybody else was misbehaving on the beach, I spotted this Green Turtle that had been overlooked in the darkness. I took a few photos & quickly left her, hoping others wouldn't see her. Unfortunately, a few others did see her & then insisted of standing around like prats talking & photographing her, including one well known UK Birder who should have known better. He is not one of the passengers whose mugshot appears on my BlogWe still had the following morning & I was up early enough to ensure I was on the first zodiac, with all zodiacs departing in the dark. However, that didn't help as once we were ashore, we were all kept on the quayside until everybody had made it. A second problem quickly became obvious that only three members of the Conservation Dept had arrived to guide everybody. Perhaps not surprising as they had all worked a very long day with the guided tour & then being out late on the evening guided tour. Like us, the few who appeared had only had a few hours sleep. There were few Green Turtles on the beach just before first light. As a result, the decision was made that just about everybody was going to be allowed to see one Green Turtle. Consequently, everybody stood no further than ten metres from this poor Green Turtle in three quarter circle. I had knelt down to present a lower profile, but the reality is nobody else thought to follow this action. Not surprisingly this large group of people spooked the Green Turtle which hadn't started egg laying & she tried moving back towards the sea. Next thing, one of the European non Birders decided that he had to stand in the middle of the open part of the circle and block the route for the Green Turtle to the sea. That was something we had been told explicitly not to do, but I guess if you are a prat, you are excluded from doing what you are told to do. A few people must have told him to move, but soon after he was replaced by another prat in the same place. I can't believe it not stressful for a Green Turtle to be surrounded by such a large group of people. She left & briefly attempted to try another nesting hollow, but was pursued by virtually everybody. I was disgusted by the uncontrolled behaviour of the group & returned to the back of the beach, to find just one other passenger had also walked away. With the posse following close to the Green Turtle, she ended up abandoning egg-laying & returned to the sea. By this time, it was light, so perhaps she was too late to have got ashore & successfully lay eggs, but I still don't think that gives the other passengers the right to act inconsiderately to the Green Turtles.
Just a small part of the posse who pursued the Green Turtle to the water: Albeit, as she got closer they finally lined up at right angles to the water, rather than in a broad line a few metres behind the Green TurtleWhat I think should have happened is while we were on the quayside, we were asked to split into two groups based on who had been successful in being led to a Green Turtle the previous night or not. Then formed up into a line to go the beach, with those who hadn't been successful at the front of the line. Once a Green Turtle had been found, then a group of 15 could have been led off to spent a few minutes up close with a Green Turtle, before being asked to return to the road, while the next group were led up. That would have given everybody a fairer chance at seeing a Green Turtle up close. Secondly, the Expedition staff should have been asked to help organise this, given few of the Conservation Dept had been able to return. The smaller groups would have been more manageable & if anybody didn't want to behave, then they should have been told by the Expedition staff to return to the quayside. I got the impression that we had a larger number of passengers than the Conservation Dept were used to dealing with & they were not used to having to deal with large groups. If any of the Conservation Dept are reading this, then perhaps this will help deal with large groups in the future. I'm not having a go at the Conservation Dept staff, as they still had to head off to do their normal day jobs that morning, but I'm trying to provide some suggestions for the future. While everybody else was behaving badly, I ended up staying at the back of the beach & photographed passing Ascension Island Frigatebirds. It was a very frustrating start to the morning.
Categories: Blogs, Timeline, Twitter

14th October

Portland Bird Observatory - Sun, 10/14/2018 - 22:04
An erratic day of weather with heavy showers for most of the morning hampering most birding efforts. As the rain cleared, however, some birds were noticeably moving and in some good numbers. Counts of Blackcap and Chiffchaffs neared 100, Chaffinches were also more evident with 47 birds in total. Phylloscopus warblers were prominent within the obs garden and amongst the flitting Chiffchaff flocks lingered a pair of unringed Yellow-browed Warblers (another bird was also recorded at Wakeham). The Cetti's Warbler frequenting Culverwell was still present this morning along with a lone Firecrest, a pair of Goldcrests and a Snipe.
Ferrybridge was back on form this afternoon with 82 Brent Geese (including a pale-bellied individual), 270 Mediterranean Gulls, 14 Turnstone, 7 Ringed Plover, 42 Dunlin and singles of Oystercatcher and Bar-tailed Godwit
Categories: Timeline, Twitter

Pages

Subscribe to The Nature of Dorset  aggregator - Twitter