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8 Oct 18

Martin Adlam - Mon, 10/08/2018 - 14:46
Broadcroft Quarry Lane and Horse Paddocks

A grey start to the day and a fresh south-westerly coming across the island.

Main highlights today were singles of Great Spotted Woodpecker and Song Thrush, 2 Blackcaps and 6 Chiffchaffs along  Broadcroft Quarry Lane

In the lower and upper horse paddocks there were fewer Meadow Pipits and Pied Wagtails than yesterday, and no sign of the Stonechats.

Overhead 2 Skylarks, 2 Siskins, 25 Linnets and 12 possibly more House Martins.

As I returned home there were 2 Goldcrests calling from the back garden. As I was looking for them a Kestrel dive-bombed the bird feeder and then proceeded to sit in the neighbours Sycamore overlooking the garden.

Photos from this morning:

As I was photographing this ship on the horizon (it was to far out to identify for my ships today) I realised there were dozens of House Martins flying over Penn's Weare.
One of the few Pied Wagtails......... the lower horse paddock.
Quite a few Robins about now. This one was in the lower horse paddock.
In the top right hand corner a Kestrel looks over my back garden.
It had already had one failed attempt at grabbing a bird of the feeders. Its not just Sparrowhawks that visit bird feeders!

The local Kestrel looks out for a meal from the neighbours Sycamore.
Birds Recorded this morning: 1 Sparrowhawk, 2 Kestrel, Herring Gull, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 2 Skylark, 12+ House Martins, 25+ Meadow Pipit, 15 Pied Wagtail, 1 Grey Wagtail, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, 1 Song Thrush, 2 Blackcap, 6 Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, 23 Starling, House Sparrow, 5 Chaffinch, 25+ Linnet, 2 Siskin and Goldfinch.

Ships Today

This is the Portuguese General Cargo vessel "Indi", on its way from Belfast to Shoreham. More on this vessel Here.
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DWT helps introduce a world first in seafood labelling to Dorset

Dorset Wildlife Trust - Mon, 10/08/2018 - 14:31

Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT) has been working local fishermen to demonstrate responsible standards whilst caring for the marine environment in Poole Harbour.

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Sightings - Sunday 7th October 2018

Dorset Bird Club - Sun, 10/07/2018 - 21:58
Brent Geese - 22 Shipstal Pt, 10 briefly Stanpit Marsh
Cattle Egret - 2 Wareham Causeway, 1 Coward's Marsh
Great White Egret - 3 Radipole RSPB, 2 Lodmoor RSPB, 1 Rodden Hive, 1 Little Sea
Spoonbill - 39 Arne RSPB
Osprey - 1 Radipole RSPB, 1, Lodmoor RSPB
Ruff - 1 Lodmoor RSPB
Lesser Yellowlegs - 1 Lodmoor RSPB
Little Gull - 1 Durlston Bay
Turtle Dove - 1 Abbottsbury Swannery
Short-eared Owl - 1 Middlebere
Woodlark - 2 Shepaerd's Dinner West Wears Portland, 1 over Durlston CP.
Skylark - 347E 69W West Bexington, 15 NE Stanpit, 6 NE Swineham Pt.
Swallow - 170E 1W West Bexington
House Martin - 45E West Bexington
Yellow-browed Warbler - 2 The Grove by old engine shed
White Wagtail - Holton Lee
Alba Wagtail - 334E 3W West Bexington
Meadow Pipit - 129E 4W West Bexington
Brambling - 1 West Bexington
Linnet 400 E West Bexington
Goldfinch - 100E 6W West Bexington
Kestrel - Stanpit Marsh © Clinton WhaleRuff - Lodmoor RSPB © David Wareham
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7th October

Portland Bird Observatory - Sun, 10/07/2018 - 21:52

PBO membership standing ordersAs Obs members will be aware, earlier this year our charitable status changed when we became a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO); as part of this change we were required to open a new current bank account. We are in the process of closing our old bank account and request that members who have a membership subscription standing order in our favour transfer this to the new account. For those with online banking facilities this transfer may be readily accomplished via your banking app - our new account details are: Account name Portland Bird Observatory; Sort code 09-01-29; Account No. 19754723Those without online arrangements will require a new standing order form that can be requested from the Obs or downloaded here  - this form should be filled in and returned to us for forwarding to your bank or sent direct to your bank. Apologies for the inconvenience and many thanks for your help with this important matter.

Today saw the commencement of the inter-bird observatories bird race and as such we can tell you that an average to poor day on Portland Bill will earn you a species list of around 80 birds. The morning started with a flurry of common migrants with 44 Chiffchaffs trapped and large flocks of Siskins and Pied Wagtails overhead. Highlights of the day included: the first Yellow-browed Warblers of the year, a pair of obliging Woodlarks at Shepherds Dinner (I didn't know that was a place either), the first Redwings and Fieldfares of the autumn and the third Cetti's Warbler of the autumn.

Only the second and third Woodlarks of the autumn showing off all the features... © Erin Taylor

The first Redwings of the year proved tricky to catch and this one had us waiting until the very last net round of the day © Martin Cade:

...and with this Mistle Thrush and a Fieldfare also on the list it made for the first five thrush day of the autumn © Keith Pritchard: 

A couple of late Sandwich Terns lingering in the harbour © Joe Stockwell:

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More Nocturnal Sounds over Lytchett Bay

Two Owls Birding - Sun, 10/07/2018 - 17:19
Well, I've had the recorder on over seven nights during September the most productive were the last nights of the month. In total 26 species were recorded many of which can be considered as local species, by that I mean I record them on every night I record.  But a handful I only record in spring or autumn or on the very odd occasion.

Moorhen, Coot, Snipe, Skylark and Dunlin I only recorded a few times, though Moorhen and Coot seem to be on the increase.  Moorhen are in the bay so might be moving around in the dark, Coot are scarce though are recorded in spring and autumn as are Snipe and the latter occasionally on winter nights.
A species that Paul Morton (BoPH) and Nick Hopper (Sound Approach) have both recorded on occasions around Poole Harbour is Golden Plover but they seem to have avoided my listening station here at Lytchett Bay.  Until now as this September I've recorded four individuals flying over and one recording (below) must of been very close or even over our Bungalow.
Below is the Spectrogram/Sonogram and recording of the Golden Plover calling as it passed over close to our Bungalow.
Sonogram of Golden plover and call below
Autumn is all about the winter thrushes moving in from northern Europe and it's alway nice to record the first of the year, but then once the migration get fully underway I spend so much time counting all the contacts on the recording it become a little bit of a labour of love rather than enjoyment.  In saying this September recordings not only produced the first Song Thrush, Blackbird and Redwing the latter flew by on 29th at 05:00hrs in the morning, it also produced Wigeon, Snipe, and the first Skylark also on the morning of the 29th at 02:59hrs.
Below is the sonogram and recording of that first Redwing of the autumn.Sonogram of Redwing above, Call below

I've recorded a number of animal sounds and in the autumn Sika Stag are always recorded usually a number of time throughout the night, and I've often thought I should compare the bellows to see if there are any differences.  So today I compared two as they sounded obviously different indeed the sonogram backed this up. In fact the first you hear would only bellow once every so often the second animal would always put in a series of three in a row then take a break.  It seems to me that the first may be more senior in rank maybe, so doesn't need to sound off as much? So it could be I can identify individual stags by their sound and get an idea of how many Stags are vying for the doe's in the Lytchett Bay recording area.

Below is the sonogram of the two different stags the first sound is the one I think is possibly the senior animal the second sound is usually giving in a group of three seperate calls.

Below is the recording of both stags

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7 Oct 18

Martin Adlam - Sun, 10/07/2018 - 17:07
Broadcroft Quarry Lane and Horse Paddocks

The rain and gale force winds of yesterday and last night, eventually moved away to leave a sunny but cooler day. No sign of the Hoopoe, no doubt it used the northerly winds to get itself over the channel and onwards to warmer climes.

There was an increased number of Pied Wagtails this morning and they were everywhere, in the lower horse paddock, in the upper horse paddock and flying about overhead. In amongst them were lots of Meadow Pipits and Linnets.

In the lower paddock there were 2 Stonechats and a Chiffchaff.

Away from the fields there were 4 Chiffchaffs and 3 Blackcap along Broadcroft Quarry Lane. I was hoping for Yellow-browed Warbler as there were reports of two on Portland. Not this morning though, but it wont be long I'm sure.

A different call overhead today was the sound of Skylarks heading north, with at least 5 individuals recorded. Heading in the opposite direction were 3 House Martins and 2 Swallows, making their way down to The Bill and beyond.

Here are a few images from this morning:

A different day today. You can actually see the sea down Broadcroft Quarry Lane, unlike yesterday.
A Chiffchaff picks away at the insects along the lane.
There were 4 here today, hopefully in the next week or so they will be joined by a Yellow-browed and Pallas's Warblers.
Its a wasp I know, but they are really distinctive markings on the abdomen.
Probably just a Common Wasp!!
In the horse paddocks plenty of Meadow Pipits and linnets.
A Meadow Pipit in flight.
And one of the many Pied Wagtails in the lower horse paddock.
Birds Recorded: 1 Sparrowhawk, 2 Kestrel, Herring Gull, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, 5 Skylark, 3 House Martin, 2 Swallow, 50+ Meadow Pipit, 80+ Pied Wagtail, 1 Grey Wagtail, Dunnock, Robin, 2 Stonechat, Blackbird, 3 Blackcap, 5 Chiffchaff, Long-tailed Tit, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, 30+ Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, 20+ Linnet and Goldfinch.

Also recorded: 3 Red Admirals and several wasps sp.
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Sightings - Saturday 6th October 2018

Dorset Bird Club - Sat, 10/06/2018 - 21:09
Balearic Shearwater - 1 past Portland yesterday
Cattle Egret - 2 next to road on Wareham to Stoborough causeway
Great White Egret - 2 Lodmoor, 1 Radipole Lake
Spoonbill - 1 Brownsea
Osprey - 1 Lodmoor
Spotted Redshank - 1 Lytchett Fields
Greenshank - 12 Lytchett Fields
Lesser Yellowlegs - 1 Lodmoor
Green Sandpiper - 1 Holton Lee
Firecrest - 1 in trees opposite Bournemouth Arts University building

Hobby copyright Joe Kaplonek
Lesser Yellowlegs copyright Joe KaplonekOsprey copyright Joe Kaplonek

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6th October

Portland Bird Observatory - Sat, 10/06/2018 - 20:22
No matter how much effort we put in today the elusive Yellow-browed Warbler never showed, probably due to the howling gale and thrashing rain. Other than a pair of Brent Geese heading west and 15 Golden Plovers overhead, variety was mostly confined to those migrants who didn't leave before the onslaught of the weather. A small flock of 12 House Martins marked the beginning of the end of the Hirundine movement for the year.
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23 Apr 18 - Atlantic Odyssey - Day Twenty Five: Ascension's Boatswainbird Island

Birding in Poole Harbour and Beyond - Sat, 10/06/2018 - 18:00
Another early start as we were arriving at Ascension Island at first light. We probably arrived close to Ascension Island well before it got light, with the ship's crew leaving the final approach to the morning as it would be more interesting for the passengers. There was no point in arriving at the Georgetown harbour in the dark as there would be no opportunity to land early as we would have to wait for the island officials to come on board to check the Plancius's papers & everybody's passports. There are a number of nationalities that are not allowed to land at Ascension Island & one nationality is Russian. This isn't too surprising as the island hosts both UK & US military bases. We had one Russian passenger on the Plancius, but he was one of the four passengers who departed at St Helena to fly home.
Ascension Island in the early morning lightWe heard from the Expedition staff as we approached Ascension Island, that we would be making a short stop at Boatswainbird Island. This is a small island just offshore from the main island which crucially has not had any problem with Rats or other introduced predators on it. Therefore, it has been a very important breeding island for the Seabirds. Obviously, this was a big highlight for most of the passengers. The island got its name from the sailor's old name for Tropicbirds which was Boatswainbird or Bosunbird. The bosun was one of the Petty Officers on a ship & often responsible for giving commands with his piercing whistle. The calls of the Tropicbird reminded the sailors of the bosun's whistle.
Boatswainbird Island: Boatswainbird Island is close to the main islandA closer view of Boatswainbird Island: The white colour is due to decades of guano
Most people were on deck to experience Boatswainbird Island
Martin from the Expedition staff
Kirk Zufelt (Seabird fanatic) & Bob Flood (filming for his next Seabird book?)
Jemi getting ready to take another of her 360 degree photos of people on the lower deckAs the Plancius got closer, it was clear that the top of Boatswainbird Island was filled with breeding Masked Boobies.
Masked Booby colony on the top of Boatswainbird IslandA close up of part of the Masked Booby colony
There was also another large Masked Booby colony on the mainland
A closer view of the Masked Booby colony
Masked Booby: Adult. This is the nominate dactylatra subspecies of Masked Booby which breeds on Ascension Island, as well as, in the Caribbean and on islands as far South as the Brazilian coastMasked Booby: AdultMasked Booby: AdultWe also saw the other two species of Booby that breed on Ascension Island: Brown Booby & Red-footed Booby.
Brown Booby: Adult. This is the nominate leucogaster subspecies which breeds on Ascension Island, as well as, the Gulf of Mexico and the CaribbeanBrown Booby: AdultRed-footed Booby: Adult. This is the nominate sula subspecies which breeds on Ascension Island, as well as, the Caribbean and Fernando de Noronha & Trindade Islands off the Brazilian coastRed-footed Booby: AdultRed-footed Booby: Subadult The only White-tailed Tropicbird I had the chance to photograph was this juvenile on its first flight. Unfortunately, it clearly jumped too early in its life & ended in the sea. I didn't keep watching it, but suspect that it was probably feeding an Ascension Island Frigatebird chick soon after I took this photo.
White-tailed Tropicbird: JuvenileWhite Tern: This is the nominate alba subspecies which breeds on Ascension Island & St Helena, as well as, Fernando de Noronha & Trindade Island
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Vietnam part 3: Cuc Phuong, Tam Dao and Sa Pa: 23rd – 31st March 2018

Gryllos Blog - Sat, 10/06/2018 - 15:48

Apologies for the delay in posting the third part of my Vietnamese saga.

A while ago I upgraded my account to gain more storage space. I quickly used up the allocated storage (by uploading photos at too high a resolution). I was under the impression that my annual subscription would give me that much space every year. In late August I was debited $99 as expected but no extra storage was allocated. It transpired that the extra storage was a one-off and the $99 was how much I had to pay per year to access it. Either that or don’t pay and the blog disappears! WordPress want me to upgrade to ‘business class’ at $300 per year to give me more storage which at the moment I have declined to do.

So I now have the choice of limiting what I upload or deleting old posts, something that I find hard to do, as it’s my personal history.

Anyway whinge over, time for some more travel pics.


This third post on my Vietnam trip covers the sites of Cuc Phuong and Tam Dao in former North Vietnam. We didn’t visit Ba Be, however there was an extension to Sa Pa and Fansipan mountain in the far north-west which is not shown on this map (follow a line 30 degrees NW from Hanoi to the Chinese border if you want to know where it is).


Here in the north there were many more reminders of the Communist past. Vietnam, remains a socialist republic, although free trade rather than a state monopoly is the order of the day.


We spent two nights at Cuc Phuong NP.


We had two  excellent morning here and saw some excellent birds like Malay Night Heron, Red-collared Woodpecker and Limestone Wren-babbler but for the much of the time it was very overcast and dull (useless for photography) and the late mornings and afternoon were birdless. In spite of it being a national park locals still use it to graze their water buffalo.


We visited a cave which was used by people as a shelter some 7,500 years ago. This time period in Europe is known as the Neolithic and is characterised by the start of farming but I don’t know if this time period in Asia would still be characterised as the Mesolithic. All that walking and climbing is taking its toll of some of the participants knees, as can be clearly seen in this photos.


There might not have been many chances to photograph birds in Cuc Phuong was we did see some remarkable insects such as this bug …


… a lovely butterfly in flight …


… or this stunning dragonfly …


Cuc Phuong also has a captive breeding centre for local primates. These are usually individuals seized from the illegal pet trade that are being rehabilitated for release in the wild. I have already uploaded photos of Black-shanked and Grey-shanked Douc Langurs taken in the wild earlier on the tour. I didn’t get a decent shot of the third species, Red-shanked Douc Langur so here are some more Grey-shanks.


We also paid a couple of visits to Van Long marsh. Surrounded by rugged limestone hills it would have been very scenic had it not be for the persistent grey skies.


It is quite a tourist hot spot and many take a boat trip on the lake, however we just scoped from the shore.


If you look at the cliffs in the last photo then you will see how far away these monkeys really are. These are Delacour’s Langurs, another endemic and critically endangered species, showing off their white shorts.


We headed north towards the capital Hanoi. Traffic congestion increased as did the incidence of dodgy driving and overtaking on blind corners.


We only passed through the outskirts of the city but even there the traffic was dreadful.


We eventually reached our hotel at Tam Dao. It seemed like we were the only people staying but we still ended up with rooms as far up the hill from the restaurant and parking lot as possible. It was a bit of a trek every time you need to go back to your room but I suppose it was training for the rigours of Fansipan mountain in a few days time. The hotel, although well equipped was characterised by an almost complete lack of visible staff.


Thick fog and overcast skies continued …


… great birds like Grey Laughingthrush and Short-tailed Parrotbill were seen but not photographed on this trail.


In the afternoon we visited some forest near a Buddhist temple which seems to have been set up in this hanger.



An unexpected find was this migrant Rufous-bellied Woodpecker.



Early the next morning we climbed these steps to another temple, seeing more laughing thrushes and other forest birds. On our way down we came across these lads who were already ‘Brahms and Liszt’ in spite of the time of day.


At the base of the steps local traders had set up stalls and we were able to stock up on Vietnamese candies.


It was then the long drive to Sa Pa. This was an optional extension but everyone on the trip had decided to take it, which was great as we didn’t have to go back to Hanoi to drop anyone off at the airport and so gained extra time in this lovely location. Although the weather remained overcast I have to say that this was the most enjoyable part of the entire trip.


Sa Pa is located next to this lake and surrounded by mountains.


The area is full of western tourists and tired locals.


The narrow streets with their stalls selling everything imaginable are a pleasure to see.


There is a great birding location right in the town, Ham Rong Gardens gave us great views of a wide range of species.


The local inhabitants originate from hill tribes with their own traditional costumes. Many Vietnamese tourists buy these outfits and then get photographed wearing them in the park.


Away from the town were a number of scenic areas, birds like Little Forktail, Blue Whistling Thrush, White-capped and Plumbeous Redstart were seen by this waterfall …


… and the seldom seen Pale-throated Wren-Babbler showed brilliantly a few miles further along the road. Photo by tour leader Craig Robson. Copyright Craig Robson/Birdquest.


A number of hiking trails can be found in the area, some like this one just visit local waterfalls, others ascend Fansipan mountain and require a guide and three days to complete.


Along the trail we saw this Brown-breasted Flycatcher, an unexpected ‘write-in’ for the trip. Breeding in southern China and wintering in S India and Sri Lanka this might have been a migrant returning to its breeding area or perhaps its breeding range extends to extreme northern Vietnam.


We also sw this White Wagtail of the race leucopsis. Clearly a first year male with very bleached primaries and contrast between moulted and unmoulted coverts visible in the field.


We walked though some lovely forest …


… alongside a river …


… up and down multiple steps …


… before reaching the ‘Love’ Waterfall.


We were amused by this information board back at the park HQ. Clockwise from top left, Red-winged Laughingthrush, a bird that occurs in north Vietnam but we didn’t get a sniff at, Common Pheasant judging by the habitat probably an introduced bird photographed elsewhere, Great Hornbill which only occurs in the south in Vietnam and a photo of an American Bald Eagle captioned with the scientific name of Western Marsh Harrier! Sorry about the funny angle it was necessary to prevent the photo being ruined by reflections of the flash.


On our second day full at Sa Pa the weather improved somewhat and we took the opportunity to go to the top of Fansipan Mountain. Not having three days to climb to the summit, we took the cable car. The service holds two Guinness World Records for the longest non-stop three-rope cable car in the world, spanning 6.3 km and the greatest elevation difference by a non-stop three-roped cable car for the 1,410 m  difference in elevation between the termini (taken from Wikipedia)


We were soon crossing the valley and looking down at the rice paddies far below …


… and back at the terminus.


As we climbed we left the open areas behind and soared over the forest …


Eventually we reached the summit, 1.4 km higher than where we had started. The mountain is 3,143m asl and is the highest point in Indochina. Half the group opted to stay around the summit visitor centre and descend at their convenience, the other half plus the leaders set off on an arduous hike towards the best birding areas.


The views of the surrounding mountains were spectacular and I certainly felt that this was the best day of the trip.


We dropped a fair way the started climbing again to pass this saddle then descended further on the other side before returning the same way.


Some of the rock outcrops were crossed by a series of steps bolted to rock, others required climbing ladders and a good head for heights.


I only took my pocket camera, wishing to reduce the weight I had to carry but tour leader Craig Robson got a great photo of one of the targets, ‘Tonkin’ Fulvetta, a potential split from the Chinese and Himalayan White-browed Fulvetta. Other highlights included Bar-winged Wren-Babbler, Slender-billed Scimitar-Babbler, Scaly-breasted Cupwing and Chestnut-headed Tesia. Photo copyright Craig Robson/Birdquest.


By the time we had returned to the cable car terminus the mist had rolled in.


Knackered but happy (though local leader Quang who did the entire hike in sandals is hamming it up a bit).


The other end of the cable car might be 6.3 km away but with a modern camera it can seem to be within touching distance.


The day on Fansipan mountain was the highlight of the trip, the combination of great birds, great scenery and the sense of achievement when you push your physical abilities to the limit combined to make a day I will never forget.

Since I originally started work on this post I have received the official report from Birdquest and a CD of Craig Robson and local leader Quang Hao Nguyen photos. The majority are better versions of birds that I uploaded in posts 1 and 2 but the following are worth adding. Note all are from locations that were visited in post 2.


Black-crowned Fulvetta photographed at Bi Doup Nui Ba NP. Photo copyright Craig Robson/Birdquest.


Stripe-throated Yuhina was seen at Ngoc Linh. Photo copyright Craig Robson/Birdquest.


Pygmy Cupwing at Bi Doup Nui Ba NP. Photo copyright Craig Robson/Birdquest.


Black-headed Sibia of the race kingi which may be split as ‘Brownish-backed Sibia’ at Ngoc Linh. Photo copyright Craig Robson/Birdquest.


Chestnut-eared Laughingthrush at Mang Cahn. Copyright Quang Hao Nguyen/Birdquest.


Silver Pheasant of race annamensis at Bach Ma NP. Copyright Quang Hao Nguyen/Birdquest.


I’ll conclude this account of my trip to Vietnam with another photo of the mountain scenery at Fansipan.

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6 Oct 18

Martin Adlam - Sat, 10/06/2018 - 08:41
Broadcroft Quarry Lane and Horse Paddocks

There are times when you just you hate it when the weatherman gets it spot on, especially when the forecast is rain. With heavy rain forecast for 8:00am I decided to get up early and head off to the lower horse paddock in the hope of seeing the Hoopoe.
I was out of the door for precisely 7:20 and in the paddock 2 minutes later. I spent a good 20 minutes here without any luck and decided to head off to Broadcroft Quarry Lane. Sadly just the 1 Chiffchaff here and a couple of Robins.
So it was back to the paddock for one last look as the first drops of rain began to fall. Still no sign of the Hoopoe and the only real highlights here were 3 Song Thrushes and a Grey Wagtail.
By 8:15am the rain was really hammering down, so it was back to the cottage and hoping that the weatherman has got it right when he said the rain will clear by late afternoon. We will see.
A miserable start to the day and no sign of the Hoopoe.
No better down Broadcroft Quarry Lane with the weather closing in.
A Meadow Pipit braving the elements.
Birds Recorded: 1 Kestrel, 5 Herring Gull, Wood Pigeon, 3 Collared Dove, 20+ Meadow Pipit, 10+ Pied Wagtail, 1 Grey Wagtail, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, 3 Song Thrush, 1 Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch and Linnet.
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5th October

Portland Bird Observatory - Fri, 10/05/2018 - 23:13
If we'd have known just how many thrushes and Robins had been passing over during the hours of darkness - overnight recordings later revealed a steady passage that included the first Redwings of the autumn - we might have been even more geared up for the day that we were at dawn when it soon apparent that there were plenty of Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps about at the Obs. Sadly, however, it proved to be one of those days when pretty well everything left as soon as the sun got up and later toil turned up nothing in numbers and, the lingering Moorfield Road Hoopoe aside, nothing of quality. The hitherto also lingering Turtle Dove at Culverwell only showed once at dawn , with 3 Snipe were the only other even faintly less regular migrants to report from the Bill. Elsewhere, 2 Redstarts were at Wakeham and another Snipe passed over at the Grove. The only sea news was of a lone Balearic Shearwater through off the Bill.

Despite another impressive large catch of moths at all sites immigrants remained rather less numerous as might have been hoped given the conditions, with singles of Gem and White-speck the best of the scarcities at the Obs.
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Sightings - Friday 5th October 2018

Dorset Bird Club - Fri, 10/05/2018 - 20:08
Spoonbill - 25 Brownsea, 2 Stanpit
Osprey - 1 Lodmoor, 1 Abbotsbury
Red Kite - 2 over Blandford Forum
Merlin - 1 Milborne St Andrew
Spotted Redshank - 1 Lytchett Bay
Lesser Yellowlegs - 1 Lodmoor
Yellow-legged Gull - 1 Mudeford Quay
Turtle Dove - 1 Hengistbury Head
Hoopoe - 1 Portland, from the end of Moorfield Road, later seen at Bumpers Lane
Yellow Wagtail - 2 Sunnyside
Redstart - 2 Portland at Broadcroft Quarry
Redwing - 2 heard north of Poole Harbour last night
Firecrest - 2 Hengistbury Head
Grasshopper Warbler - 1 Lytchett Heath

Meadow Pipit, Stanpit Marsh copyright Clinton Whale

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22 Apr 18 - Atlantic Odyssey - Day Twenty Four: A Messy Eater

Birding in Poole Harbour and Beyond - Fri, 10/05/2018 - 18:00
The highlight of the final day at sea between St Helena & Ascension Island were not the Seabirds including the first Ascension Island Frigatebird or the Cetaceans seen & other Sealife, but some messy eaters were saw as we passed them. They were four Leatherback Turtles, the first Leatherback Turtles we saw on the Odyssey.
Leatherback Turtle: The large size & lack of any plates on the body leaves Leatherback Turtle as the only candidate. They have five long ridges on their backLeatherback Turtle: It was on view for the best part of a minute, before it finally divedI had mixed emotions when I initially saw this first Leatherback Turtle. While it was good to have only seen my second Leatherback Turtle (the first being on the Pompey - Bilboa ferry in Aug 1999 of the French coast), I thought it was tangled in some pink debris hence my mixed feelings. I had been mainly looking through the camera & unable to fully see what the pink debris was. After we were discussing the Leatherback Turtle, somebody pointed out that what we had actually seen was a Leatherback Turtle feeding on one of its favourite foods: Salp. Salp is a long barrel-like floating planktonic 'Jellyfish', however, it strictly not a Jellyfish. Salp feed on phytoplankton. Within 45 minutes, we had seen our second Leatherback Turtle of the day.Leatherback Turtle: The second sighting started in a similar way to the firstLeatherback Turtle: This time the head started to appear as Sea Turtles need to breathe airLeatherback Turtle: This is one of my favourite photos from the OdysseyLeatherback Turtle: A close up of the head & back which shows four of the five ridges on the backLeatherback Turtle: Having breathed in & probably checked us out, it was time to disappearLeatherback TurtleLeatherback Turtle: The third individual was thirty minutes later & not as close. It also didn't have any SalpLeatherback Turtle: The final individual was picked up in front of the Plancius on the starboard side, but rapidly divedIt had been a great morning.
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5 Oct 18

Martin Adlam - Fri, 10/05/2018 - 13:08
Broadcroft Quarry Lane and Horse Paddocks

An evening walk to see what was about. The Hoopoe has somehow found its way down to the bottom of the lower horse paddocks and is now feeding next to Bumpers Lane. Eventually after being harassed by a Magpie and then spooked by walkers it landed in a conifer next to the Old Stone Firms Office Here.

Still plenty of Chiffchaffs along Broadcroft Quarry Lane with at least 10 birds now. Only one Blackcap seen, but 2 others heard. And was that a Firecrest I heard, it only called once and despite my efforts to locate it, it had gone!!

Here are a few images from this evening:

The local Magpie wasn't to happy about this Hoopoe being on its patch.

Just when it thought it was safe from the Magpie.............
.........2 walkers put it up and it then decided to call it a night.
Bumpers Lane gate and the old Stone Firms Office on the right. In the centre the conifer where......
.....the Hoopoe has decided to rest up for the night.
Along Broadcroft Quarry Lane this evening this.........
.........Linnet was singing away.
Also here several Chiffchaffs.
A late morning walk and I was rewarded with another good sighting of the Easton Hoopoe in the Horse Paddock. The Hoopoe is getting a lot of disturbance from visitors wanting to get a closer look, fortunately it's a very confiding bird and once left alone comes back to its regular feeding spot here.

Other highlights were down Broadcroft Quarry Lane where there were 3 Robin, 2 Common Redstart, Blackbird, 5 Blackcap, 6 Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, and 8 Chaffinch.

Overhead plenty of Meadow Pipits, Pied Wagtails, 2 Siskins and 5 Ravens.

Here are a few images from this morning:

You don't have to go walkabout in the paddock to see the Hoopoe.
This Hoopoe is really confiding and if you wait patiently at the end of Moorfield Road it will come to you.
The Hoopoe returning to its its favoured spot once the "walkers" had vacated its "patch"

The Easton Hoopoe into its 4th day here on Portland.
Its not just twitchers watching the Hoopoe but even the quarry men in their trucks having a look.
Overhead 2 Ravens............
.........make that 5 with these 3 close behind.
One of the 4 Stonechats in the lower horse paddock
Pleased with this, one of the two Common Redstarts in Broadcroft Quarry Lane Here
Birds Recorded: 2 Kestrel, 3 Herring Gull, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, 1 Hoopoe, 40+ Meadow Pipit, 20+ Pied Wagtail, 1 Grey Wagtail, Dunnock, Robin, 4 Stonechat, 2 Common Redstart, Blackbird, 5 Blackcap, 6 Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, 5 Raven, Starling, House Sparrow, 8 Chaffinch, 6 Linnet, 2 Siskin and 3 Goldfinch.
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4th October

Portland Bird Observatory - Thu, 10/04/2018 - 21:37
Heavy cloud, a drop in temperature and a change in wind direction had everyone scouting for a rare. Unfortunately the only uncommon species we were treated to were the long staying Turtle Dove and the equally obliging Hoopoe. Today saw a second consecutive increase in Blackbird numbers along with the first couple of Song Thrushes. The most numerous migrants within the obs garden were undoubtedly the Chiffchaffs with 36 trapped throughout the day and dozens more recorded across the island, our first Phyllosc fall of the autumn. A Tree Pipit over the 'Hoopoe paddocks' was potentially the last of the year and three Great Spotted Woodpeckers was the highest day count of the year. Other than this, migration trudged by as normal with only the commonest fly-over migrants putting in any big numbers.

The lingering Turtle Dove afforded some close views at times ©Matt Ames

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Sightings - Thursday 4th October 2018

Dorset Bird Club - Thu, 10/04/2018 - 20:29
Great White Egret - 1 Lodmoor
Spoonbill - 35 Shipstall Point
Grey Phalarope - 1 Lodmoor
Spotted Redshank - Middlebere
Greenshank - 1 Wytch Lake
Osprey - 1 Lodmoor flew west
Marsh Harrier - 2 Hartland Moor
Merlin - 2 Hartland Moor, 1 Milbourne St Andrew
Great Skua - 1 off Portland
Hoopoe - 1 Portland from the end of Moorfield Road, Easton
Turtle Dove - 1 Portland at Culverwell Stables
Firecrest - 1 Bournemouth at Manor/Gervis Road
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22 Apr 18 - Atlantic Odyssey - Day Twenty Four: From Big To Small

Birding in Poole Harbour and Beyond - Thu, 10/04/2018 - 18:00
We had already had a good selection of Seabirds & Flying Fish on the Atlantic Odyssey on the final day at sea before reaching Ascension Island. However, it was a bit of a frustrating day for Cetaceans. Before breakfast we had a pod of distant Dolphins that were too distant & the views too poor to figure what they were. Later, while everybody else was at lunch, I picked up a logging Surfboard, either a Pygmy Sperm Whale or Dwarf Sperm Whale, about a half mile in front of the ship. Unfortunately, it close to dive before I could get any photos. Again, the views were too brief to be able to identify it to a species & I was the sole observer. Fortunately, we were more successful with our first party of Striped Dolphins which appeared at the end of breakfast & were around for a few minutes. Having got used to a quick breakfast, I had been back on deck for some time, but a number of people were still eating breakfast & missed them. Still that was their choice to have a leisurely breakfast.
Striped Dolphin: They have a habit of these high jumps as I've also taken photos in Biscay of one doing a similar jumpStriped DolphinStriped Dolphin: The thin black stripe is one of the key features for Striped Dolphins. It looks like the back individual is a youngsterAfter lunch, we were told that we would be passing over a sea mount during the early afternoon. This is effectively an island that never made it to the surface & while the top was probably a few hundred metres below the surface, it was a prominent seabed feature given the seabed would typically be at least two or three kilometres deep. Mountains on land are generally windy & turbulent places. Seamounts are similar with the turbulent sea conditions produce upwellings which bring food & nutrients to the surface. The food & nutrients will attract Fish & other sealife, which in turn provides food for Cetaceans. Around 14:00 we encountered a distant blow of a large Whale, but again it was too far to be sure about its identity. Finally, couple of hours later, two Sperm Whales were found logging (floating & in no hurry to dive) on the surface. Their presence was probably related to the seamount.
Sperm Whale: One of two Sperm Whales that were logging on the surface a few hundred metres from the PlanciusSperm Whale: Having had the superb close encounter with the Sperm Whales on the previous day, the Expedition Staff decided we would not stop for another close encounterSperm WhaleSperm Whale: The small dorsal fin is just visible at the right-hand sideIt was good to see this Sunfish next to the Plancius. It was close to the surface when I picked it up, but it went into a crash dive as the camera was raised.
Sunfish: Honest. I only saw three on the Odyssey & this was the best photo. If you want to see a photo of what they should look like here is a Sunfish I photographed later in the summer on the Portsmouth - Santander ferry One of the other new highlights seen today was my first Portuguese Man-of-war Jellyfish. I carried on seeing a few roughly every other day until we reached Madeira. They are a bizarre Jellyfish with a large pale pink floating sac, with the tentacles dangling under the water.
Portuguese Man-of-war: The first of two seen during the day. The tentacles are clearly visible on this individualPortuguese Man-of-war: Water on the sac can catch the light & cause them to glisten which allowed me to pick one up later in the trip at 400 metres in front of the Plancius, even though the sac is only a few inches long
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4 Oct 18

Martin Adlam - Thu, 10/04/2018 - 12:16
Broadcroft Quarry Lane and Horse Paddocks

A misty morning with low cloud and a fine drizzle coming down. More birds in the lane this morning with 3 Robin, 7 Blackbird, 3 Blackcap, 3 Chiffchaff, 1 Goldcrest, 2 Great Tit, 2 Blue Tit and 5 Chaffinch.

In the top horse paddock 4 Herring Gull, 8 Pied Wagtails, 2 Magpie and 5 Jackdaw.

The lower paddock was busy with Meadow Pipits and Pied Wagtails, with a Kestrel looking on. After scanning the field for a good 10 minutes the Hoopoe dropped in at 9:38am and remained until it flew off and landed in a Sycamore tree Here. It stayed her for a good 20 minutes resting and preening before flying back to its favoured feeding spot here.

Overall a very good morning with increased numbers of warblers, wagtails, thrushes and crests.

Here are a few images and videos from this morning:

A Meadow Pipit in the grounds of the building site at Bumpers Lane
Along Broadcroft Quarry Lane one of the 3 Chiffchaffs Here.
At the end of Moorfield Road the arrow points to the Hoopoes favoured feeding area.
A close-up view of the paddock.
And the Hoopoe......
......which is in its 3rd day here.
If its not feeding its sat in the local Sycamores.

Birds Recorded this morning: Kestrel, 4 Herring Gull, Wood Pigeon, 4 Collared Dove, 1 Hoopoe, 400+ Swallow, 30+ Meadow Pipit, 20+ Pied Wagtail, 1 Grey Wagtail, Dunnock, Robin, 10 Blackbird, 4 Blackcap, 5 Chiffchaff, 4 Goldcrest, 2 Great Tit, 5 Blue Tit, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Starling, House Sparrow, 5 Chaffinch and Goldfinch.

Also recorded 1 Red Admiral.
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Sightings - Wednesday 3rd October 2018

Dorset Bird Club - Wed, 10/03/2018 - 23:14
Velvet Scoter - 4 Durlston flew west
Wigeon - 381 Holes Bay
Cormorant - 200+ - Lytchett Bay
Black-necked Grebe - 1 Bowleaze Cove
Great White Egret - 2 Lodmoor
Bittern - 1 Lodmoor
Spoonbill - 3 Arne
Marsh Harrier - 1 Stanpit, 1 Lodmoor
Hobby - 1 Lodmoor
Avocet - 150+ Arne
Grey Phalarope - 1 Lodmoor
Spotted Redshank - 2 Arne
Curlew Sandpiper - 1 Arne
Ruff - 1 Lodmoor
Knot - 1 Holes Bay
Yellow-legged Gull - 1 Stanpit, 4 Lytchett Bay
Short-eared Owl - 1 Lodmoor flew east
Hoopoe - 1 Portland from edge of Moorfield Road, Easton
alba Wagtail - 650 roosting at Lytchett Bay
Yellow Wagtail - 1 Stanpit
Whinchat - 1 Stanpit
Yellow-browed Warbler - 1 unconfirmed Durlston
Firecrest - 1 Lytchett Heath
Redpoll - 4 Hengistbury Head
Hawfinch - 1 Durlston
Great White Egret, Lodmoor, copyright Clive and Rosemary HargreavesHoopoe, Portland, copyright Roger HewittRinged Plovers and Dunlin at Hengistbury Head,copyright David Wareham 
Ruff, Lodmoor , Clive and Rosemary Hargreaves

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