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5 Nov 18

Martin Adlam - Mon, 11/05/2018 - 15:52
Broadcroft Quarry Lane, Pools, Bumpers Lane, The Cuttings, Rufus Castle, Penns Weare, Church Ope Cove, St Andrew's Church and Penns Wood.

Wow, well I wasn't expecting that as I was walking up Broadcroft Quarry Lane. From absolutely nowhere I could hear Woodlarks calling and then 5 flew over my head. Before I could get the camera on them they were gone. Quite why they were heading northwest I have no idea, but the direction they were heading would have taken them across the playing fields at The Grove, just east of the Fire Station.

Hearing one is quite special, but when you have a few them calling its very special. Here are a couple of examples of Woodlark calling on Xeno-canto Here and Here.

I'm not sure how I was expected to top that and to be honest I didn't for the rest of my walk, but what was different about my walk were the number of Long-tailed Tit flocks now mobile. The flock in the lane and pool area consisted of 4 birds with a Chiffchaff, 1 Blackcap, 2 Great Tits and a Blue Tit, another flock was below The Cuttings and a third one at the back of Church Ope Cove.

Other birds of interest were a Redwing in the lane along with 2 Blackbirds, 3 Chaffinches and 2 Greenfinch.

Overhead, other than the Wood Lark was light passage of Meadow Pipits heading north.

Elsewhere very quiet, but with the Long-tailed Tits out and about, who knows what else might tag along with them in the future.

Here are a few images from today, sadly not of the Wood Larks.

A Buzzard is being escorted away from the local corvid patch.
No sign of any Ivy Bees, but dozens of wasps making the most of the Ivy still in flower.
No shortage of Harlequin Ladybirds........
.......with several in Penns Wood.......
.......with different variations of colour and pattern.
And a flower to ID.
Another one of those that looks familiar!!
Birds Recorded: Buzzard, Kestrel, Herring Gull, Wood Pigeon, 5 Woodlark, 20+ Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, 1 Redwing, 1 Song Thrush, 1 Blackcap, 1 Chiffchaff, 14+ Long-tailed Tit, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Goldfinch and 2 Greenfinch.

Also recorded: 50+ wasps, 4 Harlequin Ladybirds and a Ladybird sp.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------On this day..........2017
Today's Sightings Here

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4th November

Portland Bird Observatory - Sun, 11/04/2018 - 21:54
The first day of heavy rain and wind for quite some time saw little in the way of passerine migrants but some action on the sea. The first Leach's Petrel of the year was accompanied by a pair of Little Gulls, a lone Great Northern Diver, 90 Kittiwakes, 9 Mediterranean Gulls, 2 Black-headed Gulls and a Common Gull. Perhaps the most unusual record of the day was a Moorhen frequenting Culverwell, although not uncommon on our nocturnal recordings, it is not a common species on the deck. 
Elsewhere, the wintering flock of Brent Geese at Ferrybridge saw a dramatic increase to 2100 Dark-bellied and 5 Pale-bellied as well as a single Bar-tailed Godwit but the highlight came from a fly-by Ruff at the Harbour. 
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Sightings - Sunday 4th November 2018

Dorset Bird Club - Sun, 11/04/2018 - 21:47
Brent Goose - 2100 Ferrybridge
Pale-bellied Brent Goose - 5 Ferrybridge
Black Brant - 1 Wareham Channel
Greater Scaup - 3 Radipole
Ring-necked Duck - 1 First winter drake Radipole off Tennis Courts
Mandarin - 1 drake Poole Park Lake
Storm Petrel - Unspecified good number seen in Lyme Bay
Leach's Storm Petrel - 1 past Portland Bill
Cattle Egret - 20+ Abbotsbury, 1 Longham Lakes, 1 East Holme
Great White Egret - 1 Longham Lakes
Spoonbill - 31 Wareham Channel, 1 Lytchett Bay
Avocet - 1 Sherford Pools
Red Kite - 1 Wyke Down
Marsh Harrier - 1 Stanpit
Little Gull - 2 past Portland Bill, 1 First winter Charmouth
Kittiwake - 38 past Portland Bill, 1 past Hengistbury Head
Short-eared Owl - 5 Abbotsbury Swannery

Rock Pipit at Hengistbury Head copyright Clinton Whale
Cattle Egret, Longham Lakes copyright David Foster
Cattle Egret, Abbotsbury copyright Sue Wingett
Short-eared Owl copyright Sue Wingett

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29 Apr 18 - Atlantic Odyssey - Day Thirty One: Entering Western Palearctic Waters

Birding in Poole Harbour and Beyond - Sun, 11/04/2018 - 18:00
Today was a day of mixed emotions as it was our last day at sea on the Atlantic Odyssey as tomorrow we would be just offshore from Praia at first light: Praia is on Santiago Island & is the capital of the Cape Verde Islands. Most of the passengers would be departing, including a number of good friends I had made over the last month. However, some of the Wildwings punters were staying on for the follow-on West African Pelagic, so I would still have some good company for the following two weeks. As a result of it being the last day, then there were a number of tedious admin tasks to complete such as settling bills with the Plancius & finalising the plans for our run ashore the following day. There was also the pleasant task of saying goodies to all the friends who were leaving. There was also the important discussion with Mike & Glenn of the top three annoying passengers over the last month, but we agreed to give awards to five passengers as there was such strong competition. Just one candidate failed to get into the top five passengers, along with a couple of others who put in a good effort. Thus, around a hundred had been pleasant to excellent company. I guess that is pretty good going after a month together. In addition, we were losing nearly all the Expedition staff & Doc Laura, the ship's medic: all of which had been excellent company & had been essential to making the trip a success. Only Marijke was staying on for the follow-on West African Pelagic. For the passengers, it had been a month at sea, but most if not all of the Expedition staff had been in Antarctica before we joined the Plancius. For some this final day was a chance to wind down as it was all over.
Belgium Birder Filiep was caught being a bit more relaxed that about his last day of BirdingArgentinian Seba & Christophe (right) sharing a mug of the South American drink mate: Seba had been the Expedition Leader and had done a sterling job behind the scenes to make the trip a success. Both were probably looking forward to the chance to return to their respective families
However, for many of the British & European Birders we crossed the two hundred nautical miles line to the Cape Verde Islands & thus we were in the WESTERN PALEARCTIC at first light. Around Cape Verde we were now in range of the next batch of Seabird Ticks: Cape Verde Shearwater, Boyd's Little Shearwater, Fea's Petrel & Cape Verde Storm-petrel. Additionally, a number of other Seabirds we had been watching for the last few days were now potential Western Palearctic Ticks. So, the keen Birders were aiming to make the most of the last day running into the Cape Verde Islands, albeit we would still be around ninety nautical miles from Praia at dusk. I take my Western Palearctic List semi-seriously and so the next couple of weeks had potential to add between fifteen & twenty Ticks including a number of far more serious World Ticks.
Cory's Shearwater: This is the borealis subspecies of Cory's Shearwater which is the Atlantic breeding subspecies. They have more extensive grey in the hand of the underwing. They are larger and heavier than Cape Verde Shearwaters & have a pale yellow bill with a dark subterminal band Cory's Shearwater: Another view of the same individual Cory's Shearwater: Another view of the same individual. They have paler secondaries compared to the primaries Red-billed Tropicbird: This & Bulwer's Petrel were the two Western Palearctic Ticks seen during the day. I also saw my first Cape Verde Shearwater, but didn't manage to get any presentable photosFrustratingly, the sea, which had been calm since leaving Ascension Island, had changed & the sea was distinctly choppy. This didn't help with trying to pick up Cetaceans on this final day at sea. I was also looking hard for Seabirds given the potential Ticks. I only managed to see & photograph Leach's Storm-petrels, but without good photos I would have been reluctant to identify a Cape Verde Storm-petrel this far out from Cape Verde from a Band-rumped Storm-petrel.
Short-finned Pilot WhaleClose to lunchtime we ran into a large pod of Short-finned Pilot Whales. We carried on as we had had a number of excellent encounters with Short-finned Pilot Whales over the previous few days. But there was time to grab a few photos before we were past the pod.
Short-finned Pilot Whale: A tail flipper of this diving individualShort-finned Pilot Whale: This individual's tail flippers looked much thinner (but it is just the wrong angle to the camera)Short-finned Pilot Whale: A spyhopping individualThe Short-finned Pilot Whales were accompanied by a small pod of Bottlenose Dolphins. Both the Pilot Whales species tend to be messy eaters, so perhaps the Bottlenose Dolphins were sticking with them for scraps.
Bottlenose Dolphin: A mere beginner compared to the Spinner Dolphins & Clymene Dolphins seen on recent days
I had the most frustrating near sighting of the Odyssey in the late morning. There was a Cetacean shout from the starboard side when I was on the port side. I quickly got across to the other deck & got put onto a distant breaching Beaked Whale. Several times I saw the splash, but I didn't see the Beaked Whale itself. Hans & Glenn did & their photos confirmed it was a True's Beaked Whale. This is one of the rarer Beaked Whales & it was very annoying to scrutinise my photos later & confirm I had missed it.
True's Beaked Whale splash: Given its rarity, then there is a fairly good chance this will be as close as I every get to a True's Beaked Whale One of the main highlights of the day was seeing another Loggerhead Turtle.
Loggerhead Turtle: The initial view didn't give away too many identification featuresLoggerhead Turtle: Flippers out, but no great help with identificationLoggerhead Turtle: Coming up for airLoggerhead Turtle: A close up of the head pattern. There are two pairs of scales at the front of the head. This rules out Green Turtle which only has one long pair of scales. The head shape would be more pointed & thinner if it was a Hawksbill Turtle. The overall colouration makes it a Loggerhead Turtle & rules out Olive Ridley's TurtleLoggerhead Turtle: It's caught its breath & is off. Unfortunately, I failed to get any good photos of the scales on the shellWe also saw the first Jellyfish species.
Apparently this is a Medussa Jellyfish
This flag & buoys may indicate that a long liner fishing vessel has deployed miles of fishing lines in this area
There was a final farewell from the Captain & some celebratory drinks in the Observation lounge in late afternoon. But like a few other keen Birders, I skipped the offer so I could spend a bit more time on deck on the final afternoon. It had been a fantastic trip with 5 species of Penguins, 8 species of Albatross, 25 species of Shearwaters & Petrels, 6 species of Storm-petrels, 2 species of Tropicbirds, my final species of Frigatebird & 3 species of Boobies. Additionally, there were a number of other endemic species seen on the various islands we visited. The only landing or zodic cruise that we had hoped to make & didn't was to Nightingale Island in the Tristan da Cunha group. Very few people ever get the chance to land on or zodiac alongside Inaccessible Island, so I never expected that to be a possibility. Many Birders I know think that being away for a month on an expensive trip & coming back with only 22 World Ticks is not cost effective. However, this for me trip was more than just a chance to see a few Ticks. It was the overall experience of a Seabird extravaganza, along with 22 species of Cetaceans (nearly 25% of the total species), 4 of the 7 species of Sea Turtles, excellent memories of Whale Sharks, the days of Flying Fish & many other sealife. Additionally, there was the opportunity to spend some time visiting some of the most remote British Overseas Territories. All this with some great company & experienced Expedition staff. Overall, it was one of the best trips I have ever been on. I was not ready to come home yet. Fortunately, I wouldn't have to as I had another two weeks on the Plancius after we left Praia as we sailed back to Holland on the follow-on West African Pelagic.
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4 Nov 18

Martin Adlam - Sun, 11/04/2018 - 13:20
Out and About

A right miserable day with rain and low cloud becoming worse as the day carried on.

This morning 5 Greenfinches, 4 Chaffinch, 3 Goldfinch, Great Tit, Blue Tit and House Sparrow on the feeders in the back garden. Overhead more finches and 2 Redwing heading north west.

Later as I drove into Weymouth there were at least 300 Brent Geese on the Fleet and a dozen or more large waders. On the way back 2 hours later, just 1 Brent Goose and 11 Great Black Black-backed Gulls.
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Sightings - Saturday 3rd November 2018.

Dorset Bird Club - Sat, 11/03/2018 - 21:59
Whooper Swan - 1 juvenile Longham Lakes.
Barnacle Goose - 25 Rodden Hive.
Goosander - 7 Ferrybridge.
Great Northern Diver - 1 on the sea off Christchurch Harbour.
Cattle Egret - 37 Abbotsbury Swannery area.
Red Kite - 1 Wyke Down.
Merlin - 1f Milborne St. Andrew.
Great Skua - 1 past Portland Bill.
Pomarine Skua - 1 past Portland Bill.
Glaucous Gull - 1 1w S through Chesil Cove, seen later off Portland Bill.
Black Redstart -2 Church Ope Cove.

Whooper Swan juv. with Mute Swan – Longham Lakes ©Chris Roughley.

Whooper Swan Juvenile – Longham Lakes ©Chris Roughley.
Juvenile Whooper Swan – Longham Lakes ©Lorne Bissell.
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3rd November

Portland Bird Observatory - Sat, 11/03/2018 - 20:15
In the words of George R.R. Martin, "Winter is coming", and with it some interesting birds. Today saw the first Glaucous Gull of the year, first sighted in Chesil Cove it swiftly made a loop past the Bill to Culverwell then down the East Cliffs and was finally relocated in Portland Harbour. The impressive swell on the sea produced a pretty decent seawatch with a good passage of auks and Kittiwakes, a Bonxie and a Pomerine Skua. On the land side of things, migration was pretty slow but a male Crossbill briefly pitched in Culverwell was an excellent addition to the day totals, 2 Black Redstarts were at Chesil Cove and a Firecrest lingered on at the Obs.
The North end of the island continued the theme of wintering birds with a Red-breasted Merganser, 7 Goosanders and a Great Crested Grebe at Ferrybridge. The Harbour, on the hand, was stuck firmly in early autumn mode with a late Arctic Tern showing nicely. 
The first-winter Glaucous Gull was kind enough to do a lap of the island allowing itself to get photographed at various stages of its journey © Roger Hewitt: 

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28 Apr 18 - Atlantic Odyssey - Day Thirty: A Frustrating Cetacean Day

Birding in Poole Harbour and Beyond - Sat, 11/03/2018 - 18:00
On the fourth day at sea between Ascension Island and Cape Verde, we started the day with some close views of Cymene Dolphins & more distance views of Pantropical Spotted Dolphins. Additionally, there had been good, but short, views of Sea Turtles during the morning. We had a good Cetaceans list by the end of the day, but despite seeing most species, it was a frustrating day for me for Cetaceans. There was been a shout for some Dolphins on the port side of the Plancius. I didn't react immediately as I assumed they were more Clymene Dolphins or Pantropical Spotted Dolphins. Then I heard they were Rough-toothed Dolphins. I headed over to the aft side of the top deck & had brief bins views of the small pod heading rapidly down the side of the ship. I had seen them, but briefly. It was the only ones I saw on the Odyssey & there weren't any seen on the follow-on West African Pelagic. Some of the others who were better positioned managed to get some decent photos of the pod. Late morning, there were a couple of Orcas seen at long range on the port side: one of which was breaching. Again, I saw them with the bins, but failed to get any photos other than the splash the breaching Orca made.
Splash from the breaching OrcaJust before lunchtime, we had views of a couple of Dwarf Sperm Whales. One was logging on the surface, while the second slowly surfaced next to it. Again, it was good to get some photos of them, but the views weren't fantastic.
Dwarf Sperm Whale: A second individual starts to surface to the left of the logging individual
Dwarf Sperm WhaleDwarf Sperm WhaleDwarf Sperm WhaleDwarf Sperm Whale: A close crop of the right hand individualDwarf Sperm WhaleWhile everybody was at lunch, I was heading down to the Observation lounge to top up on coffee & biscuits, when I ran into Marijke & several of the Expedition staff who appeared from the staff mess room. Apparently, there was a shout of a close Whale. There wasn't time to head back to the bridge wing, so I headed out to one of the forward decks to see a couple of Short-finned Pilot Whales right next to the bows. There was time to grab a few photos, before we were sailing past them. I then headed back to get the coffee & biscuits. After lunch, Marijke explained the full story. She had gone to the opposite side of the Plancius to me & also seen a Short-finned Pilot Whale go down her side of the Plancius, followed by a large pool of blood. Apparently, some of the Birders who were at the bows had also seen a close Orca, which both Marijke & I had missed. What Marijke thinks is that one of the Short-finned Pilot Whale calves became separated from the rest of the pod and was attacked by the Orca. I ended up getting a good close photo of one of the Short-finned Pilot Whales going down the starboard side. But it was frustrating & sad to hear of the demise of one of the pod.
Short-finned Pilot Whale: This photo shows the blunt head shape and the right-hand flipper can be seen. This is shorter in length than the overall length of the dorsal fin. Long-finned Pilot Whales have a flipper length that is similar to the overall dorsal fin lengthIn late afternoon, we had brief views of a Gervais's Beaked Whale.
Gervais's Beaked Whale: Quite a few people managed to miss this completely, so getting a record shot photo was doing better than many. Fortunately, Hans or Marijke managed to get decent photos to confirm the identification
Overall, it had been a fairly frustrating day with generally poor photos of the Whales, not to mention the unfortunate Short-finned Pilot Whale.
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3 Nov 18

Martin Adlam - Sat, 11/03/2018 - 17:56
Broadcroft Quarry Lane, Grove Sports Stadium, East Weare, The Cuttings, Rufus Castle, Church Ope Cove, St Andrew's Church and Penns Wood.

A long walk this afternoon which sadly didn't provide any Autumn warblers apart from a single Blackcap in East Weare. The only other highlight was a large gathering of 150+ gulls just off the beach at Church Ope Cove, which consisted of mainly Herring Gull and Great Black-backed Gulls.

Here are a few images from today's walk.

Birds Recorded: 2 Buzzard, 3 Kestrel, 150+ Herring Gull, 11 Great Black-backed Gull, Wood Pigeon, 2 Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, 1 Grey Wagtail, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, 1 Blackcap, 12 Long-tailed Tit, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch and Goldfinch.

Also recorded a few Harlequin Ladybirds in Penns Wood.

A Long-tailed Tit lands right next to me.
As did this one in Broadcroft Quarry Lane.
From the cliff top, a view of the gulls feeding in the surf off Church Ope.
There were probably in the region of 150+ Herring Gull..........
......with a fair few Great Black-backed Gulls in amongst them.
In Penns Wood the Harlequin Ladybirds are still about.
Here is a slight variation of colour and pattern to the one above.

The Tawny Owl was still here in Wakeham last night. This time calling from around Penns Wood at 11:30pm.

This morning the feeders in the back garden were alive with birds, with the following maximums: 3 Great Tit, 2 Blue Tit, 2 House Sparrow, 2 Goldfinch and Greenfinch outnumbering them all with 4.

Great Tits, Greenfinch and House Sparrow
Ships Today
This the American Container Ship "Maersk Iowa" on its way from Norfolk, USA to Antwerp Belgium. More on this vessel Here.
This the Maltese Tanker "Skaw Provider" just coming out of Portland Harbour and heading.............
.........out into Weymouth Bay to anchor up. More on this vessel Here
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Sightings - Friday 2nd November 2018.

Dorset Bird Club - Fri, 11/02/2018 - 22:31
Whooper Swan - 1 juvenile Longham Lakes.
Brent Goose - 245 Ferrybridge, 66 Christchurch Harbour.
Greater Scaup - 3 juveniles Radipole Lake RSPB.
Eider - 1 Poole Harbour.
Goosander - 4 Ferrybridge, 2 Lytchett Bay.
Black-necked Grebe - 7 Middle Beach, 2 Shell Bay, 1 Poole Harbour.
Great White Egret - 1 Radipole Lake RSPB.
Marsh Harrier - 2 Radipole Lake RSPB, 1 Lodmoor RSPB.
Merlin - 1m Milborne St. Andrew.
Ruff - 1 Lodmoor RSPB
Lesser Yellowlegs - 1 Lodmoor RSPB.
Jack Snipe - 2 Priory Marsh, 1 Bexington.
Yellow-browed Warbler -  4 on Portland.
Great Grey Shrike - 1 Morden Bog.
Crossbill - 15 Canford Heath.
Greenshank – Radipole RSPB © Clive & Rosemary Hargrave. 
Great White Egret – Radipole RSPB © Clive & Rosemary Hargrave.
Pied Wagtail – Poole Park © David Wareham. Dunlin – Hengistbury Head © Clinton Whale. 
Ringed Plover – Hengistbury Head © Clinton Whale. 

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2 Nov 18

Martin Adlam - Fri, 11/02/2018 - 20:24
Broadcroft Quarry Lane

So different than last year when there were Yellow-browed Warblers, Firecrests, Goldcrests, Chiffchaffs and even a Palls's Warbler down the lane. This Autumn no sign of any of these and today just 3 Chaffinches, a Blackbird and a Robin.

Last night the Tawny Owl was heard again, this time along the track opposite the Alessandria Hotel. After a couple of loud "bangs" it moved away and was possibly the same bird heard at Southwell at 3:00am this morning. Will it back tonight at 11:00pm!!!
The Tawny Owl calling last night. Hopefully it hasn't been scared off by the bangs that were going off and will return tonight!!
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2nd November

Portland Bird Observatory - Fri, 11/02/2018 - 18:31
A day of tranquillity with clear blue skies, not a breathe of wind and none of those pesky migrants to bother us. That's perhaps a little harsh for a day that produced four Yellow-browed Warblers but it was otherwise another day of scraping the barrel as far as visible migration went. Despite the appearance that all movement (however minimal) had ended by 10am, the day produced a couple of oddities later on including a pair of fly-by Velvet Scoters, a very tardy Swallow, and the first Bullfinch at the southern end of the island for the autumn. Finches were the only common migrants showing in any numbers with 23 Bramblings, 73 Chaffinches, 7 Redpolls and 24 Siskins.

At the Northern end of the island winter was rearing its ugly head with the beginnings of the wintering harbour birds with three Black-necked Grebes at Sandsfoot. Ferrybridge also had a distinctly wintery feel with 245 Brent Geese, 4 Goosanders and a Grey Plover.

At least one of the pair of Yellow-browed Warblers at the Reap Lane barns was obliging enough for a photo © Matt Ames: 

The four Goosanders at Ferrybridge were also accompanied by 9 Red-breasted Mergansers © Pete Saunders: 

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28 Apr 18 - Atlantic Odyssey - Day Thirty: Two More Turtle Species

Birding in Poole Harbour and Beyond - Fri, 11/02/2018 - 18:00
Another early morning start on the Plancius wondering what would be seen during the day. The early morning Clymene Dolphins & Pantropical Spotted Dolphins had got things off to a good start. It was another hot & sunny day. With only a couple of days before we reached the Cape Verde Islands, there was anticipation of an increase in Seabirds as we were now closer to Cape Verde, than Ascension Island. However, we would be in deep water until we were very close to the islands. In the end, the day turned out to be similar to the previous day for Seabirds with a few Bulwer's Petrels, Cory's Shearwaters, Red-footed Boobies, Long-tailed Skuas & Arctic Terns. Around half the Seabirds seen were Leach's Storm-petrels. The highlight was my only Pomarine Skua of the Odyssey. There was also a Storm-petrel sp. that I didn't get to photograph. It could have been a Band-rumped Storm-petrel or my first Cape Verde Storm-petrel. Cape Verde Storm-petrels have been recently split off from Band-rumped Storm-petrel & without photos, it would have been tricky to be sure.
Three more of the good company from the Odyssey: Chris Gladwin, Chris Keher & Mark NewsomeWith the Birding being uninspiring again, it was down to the sea to provide the main interest to keep us on the decks. Fortunately, the sea came up trumps with Sea Turtles. The Sea Turtles were tricky to get onto as they are so low in the water that they needed to be much closer than a hundred metres to stand a chance of seeing them. But at that distance, when they realised they were right next to the Plancius, their immediate thought was to dive & try & get away from us. Therefore, even when we were lucky to see a Sea Turtle it was generally diving by the time it was level with the bridge wings. You also needed to be close to the finder, as there wasn't time to move closer to an observer, as they were already thinking of diving as they were spotted. We saw two Loggerhead Turtles & an Olive Ridley's Turtle in the morning. Fortunately, I managed to see & photograph both species. Just getting to see a Sea Turtle was tough, given the brevity of views but we generally needed to get photos to confirm the identification. A useful identification chart can be downloaded from the Sea website.
Loggerhead Turtle: The shell is not circular, but is longer than it is wide. The have five or 6 costal scutes (which are the segments along the side of the upper shell). I seem to remember Marijke saying that Loggerhead Turtles were very prone to having Barnacle encrustaceans on their shellsLoggerhead Turtle: The first coastal scute touches the nuchal scute (which is the narrow segment on the shell immediately behind the head). Unfortunately, my photos do not show either of the key features associated with the scutes, but other people managed to get better photos allowing Marijke to confirm the identification of both Turtle species seenOlive Ridley Turtle: This was the smallest Sea Turtle we saw & had this distinctive shaped shell which was far more rounded than the other Sea Turtles we saw. The shape was still noticeable even when it was underwaterOlive Ridley Turtle: The only other Sea Turtle with a similar shell shape is Kemp's Ridley Turtle, but that is restricted to the Gulf of Mexico & Atlantic coast of the US. Olive Ridley's Turtles occur in the Pacific and Indian Oceans & South Atlantic (& just into the North Atlantic as we crossed the Equator the previous day)
Olive Ridley Turtle: It was great to see it pop its head out of the water for a breather. They have six or more costal scutesOlive Ridley TurtleOlive Ridley Turtle: Having got its breath, it was quickly offWith just seven species of Sea Turtles in the world, we had managed to see four species on the Atlantic Odyssey & today's species were both Ticks. There was a realistic chance of seeing a Hawksbill Turtle on either the Odyssey or the follow-on West African Pelagic. However, we were unlucky not to see one. But we had seen more Sea Turtles species than any of the previous Odyssey trips, so I can't complain too much about not seeing a Hawksbill Turtle.
Marine rubbish: Fishing floatMarine rubbish: Oil barrelIt was depressing that we were still two days sailing before we reached the Cape Verde Islands & we hadn't seen any ships since we left Ascension Island two days earlier. But even this far out in the Atlantic, we still encountered evidence of human rubbish.
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Sightings - Thursday 1st November 2018.

Dorset Bird Club - Thu, 11/01/2018 - 21:43
Whooper Swan - 1 juvenile Hampreton Meadows.
Eider - 1 Poole Harbour, 1 drake past Portland Bill.
Black-necked Grebe - 2 Poole Harbour.
Great White Egret - 2 Radipole Lake RSPB.
Cattle Egret - 4 High Tor, Wareham/Wool Road. 1 over north lake Longham Lakes.
Marsh Harrier - 2 Middlebere.
Hen Harrier -1f Hartland Moor, 1 Holton Lee.
Merlin - 1m Hartland Moor.
Purple Sandpiper - 4 Lyme Regis.
Lesser Yellowlegs - 1 Radipole Lake RSPB.
Jack Snipe - 1 Longham Lakes.
Short-eared Owl - 1 Portland.
Black Redstart - 1 Portland.
Ring Ouzel - 1 Stonebarrow, Charmouth.
Yellow-browed Warbler - 1 Chard Junction.
Brambling - 6 Weston Portland.
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1st November

Portland Bird Observatory - Thu, 11/01/2018 - 21:07
An unseasonable bout of warm weather in the mid morning produced todays distinctly non-avian highlight of a helice form of Clouded Yellow above Church Ope Cove. Avian highlights were rather more difficult to procure although a drake Eider past the Bill was an excellent second place. Commoner migrants were limited to single figures but included a lone Black Redstart at Weston, 6 Bramblings, 2 Fieldfares and a Firecrest.

Thanks to plenty of practise around the world it didn't take Richard Newton long to last night spotlight us the Tawny Owl; it had remained doggedly silent through the initial hours of the night but after 11pm it became quite vocal and was relatively easy to follow about the Wakeham/Pennsylvania Castle area - it's spotlighted here in the grounds of the latter © Martin Cade/Richard Newton:

In an autumn of pretty well across the board below average numbers Great Spotted Woodpecker has bucked the trend and continued its seemingly inexorable increase; this one pitched up in the Obs garden but they've become a familiar autumn/winter sight and sound throughout the island these days © Martin Cade:

An undreamt of sight not so long ago but something that'll likely become routine before long - Oak Rustic, Flame Brocade and Radford's Flame Shoulder from the Obs moth-traps this morning © Martin Cade:
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1 Nov 18

Martin Adlam - Thu, 11/01/2018 - 20:51
Broadcroft Quarry Lane and Broadcroft Quarry Butterfly Reserve

A quick walk today as we had planned a sea fishing trip in and around Portland Harbour later in the afternoon. A Song Thrush and 2 Blackbirds were the main highlights in the lane.

At the top of the lane on the left, the Dorset Butterfly Club were strimming and cutting back the grass and brambles. From what I could see they were doing a fantastic job and hopefully their efforts will mean more butterflies here next year.

Here are a few images from this morning:

One of the 2 Robins in the lane.
And Molly and Holly
Birds Recorded: 5 Herring Gull, Wood Pigeon, 2 Meadow Pipit, 2 Pied Wagtail, Dunnock, Robin, 3 Blackbird, 1 Song Thrush, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Starling, House Sparrow, 2 Chaffinch, Goldfinch and Greenfinch.


5:15am the Tawny Owl was still calling from around Glen Caravan Park. As per Tuesday night it was calling around 11:00pm and as I was recording it a Redwing called as it flew over.

If this has worked here's a sound recording of the Tawny Owl and a Redwing.
Ships Today
This is the British Cable Layer "C S Sovereign" on its way out from Portland. More on this vessel Here.
This is the Danish Oil Tanker "Cathy Theresa", on its way from Stanlow to Fawley. More on this vessel Here.

This is the British Military Ops Vessel "RFA Tidesurge" in Weymouth Bay. More on this vessel Here
This is the British Sailing Vessel "Tenacious" on its way to Poole. More on this vessel Here.
This the Maltese Tanker "Skaw Provider" just anchoring up in Weymouth Bay. More on this vessel Here
This the Dutch Chemical Tanker "Coralwater" just coming into Portland Harbour. More on this vessel Here.
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28 Apr 18 - Atlantic Odyssey - Day Thirty: Dolphin Dawn

Birding in Poole Harbour and Beyond - Thu, 11/01/2018 - 18:00
Soon after first light on the last but on day at sea between Ascension Island & Cape Verde we encountered the first of several pods of several hundred Dolphins. I saw around three hundred Pantropical Spotted Dolphins, along with another forty of more Clymene Dolphins.
The first pod of Clymene Dolphins appeared at 06:45: They were on the side of the Plancius with the poor lightClymene Dolphin: They are also called Short-beaked Spinner Dolphins for reasons that will become apparentClymene DolphinClymene Dolphin: This photo is the right way up & one of my favourite Cetacean photos from the tripClymene DolphinClymene DolphinClymene DolphinClymene Dolphin: Entering the water the right way up would be dullClymene Dolphin: I've cropped & rotated the upside down photo to allow a field guide view of this individualPantropical Spotted Dolphin: Some of the several hundred Pantropical Spotted Dolphins. Unfortunately, none came close to the PlanciusPantropical Spotted Dolphin: A close crop to show the distinctive markings & short beak
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Sightings - Wednesday 31st October 2018.

Dorset Bird Club - Wed, 10/31/2018 - 22:13
Whooper Swan - 1 juvenile Hampreston Meadows.
Black Brant - 1 briefly Ferrybridge then flew to Pirate's Cove.
Red-throated Diver - 1 off Christchurch Harbour.
Great White Egret - 2 Radipole Lake RSPB, 1 Poole Harbour.
Marsh Harrier - 4 Poole Harbour.
Hen Harrier - 1 Poole Harbour, 1m  Maiden Castle.
Rough-Legged Buzzard - 1 over Portland Bill.
Merlin - 1f  Poole Harbour.
Golden Plover - 290 Maiden Castle.
Ring Ouzel -2 Kingbarrow Portland.
Goldcrest - 25 Wick/Hengistbury Head.
Firecrest - 10 Hengistbury Head.
Marsh Tit - 2 Langton Matravers.

Golden Plovers – Maiden Castle © Trevor Wilkinson.
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31 Oct 18

Martin Adlam - Wed, 10/31/2018 - 18:34
North Screen, Radipole RSPB Reserve

I had a good hour at the North Screen this afternoon, watching a Great White Egret, a Lesser Yellow-leg and a Marsh Harrier. Also on the south pool here were 3 Black-tailed Godwit, which took off, only to be replaced by 17 and a "white-headed" Ruff.

As the godwits landed so the Ruff joined the Lesser Yellowlegs. It appears these two have a bond which started at Lodmoor last month. The two would feed close together and so it appeared today, that is until the godwits took off and the Ruff with them.

Also about a Chiffchaff, lots of Teal, a few Grey Herons and 1 Snipe.

Here are a few images from this afternoon:

One of the 2 Great White Egrets at Radipole today.
17 Black-tailed Godwits drop in.........
........for a quick feed.
With them the "white-headed" Ruff joins the Lesser Yellowlegs.
A few minutes later the godwits and Ruff were gone just leaving the Yellowlegs.
Broadcroft Quarry Lane

Another quiet walk with just 2 Song Thrushes, 3 Blackbirds and a Great Spotted Woodpecker around the lane. Overhead 2 Common Buzzards, sadly not the Rough-legged Buzzard which passed over 40 minutes earlier and I missed. A photo of it Here on Twitter

Sadly not the Rough-legged Buzzard, but one of the local Common Buzzards.
Molly is going to miss Holly's freebies when she returns home on Friday.
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31st October

Portland Bird Observatory - Wed, 10/31/2018 - 18:05
Today we were rescued from writing a blog much the same as we have for most of the autumn by a wandering Rough-legged Buzzard that graced our shores (albeit briefly) this morning, before it shot off towards the Purbecks. A Black Brant at Ferrybridge also added a little variety to the mix of an otherwise distinctly average day. There was also belated news of a confirmed Tawney Owl in Wakeham from the previous night. In terms of common migrants, we were thin on the ground once again with the exceptions of a good passage of Auks and Mediterranean Gulls at sea, 4 Purple Sandpipers around the Bill and a miniscule influx of Goldcrests.

It's a shame that none of the observers had a camera over their shoulder when the Rough-legged Buzzard first appeared overhead at the Obs - it had presumably just arrived in off the sea - since by the time these record-photos were taken after a mad dash to the top of the Obs driveway it was already hundreds of metres away and leaving rapidly to the north. A short while later it was picked up from Bill Hill heading off very high northeast over the centre of the island and we'd guess it would next have made landfall somewhere over the Purbecks. The only previous Portland record occurred during one of the largest influxes ever recorded in Britain when one flew in off the sea at the Bill on 22nd October 1974 © Martin Cade:

The Black Brant at Ferrybridge, possibly one of the returning 'winterers' first recorded in 2006 © Debby Saunders

Three of the four Purple Sandpipers today back in their classic spot to ride out the winter storms © Roger Hewitt: 

There was a time when Tawny Owls were resident on the island but as far as we're aware the last confirmed breeding record was at the Grove Stadium in 1989 since then the only reports have been of isolated calling birds - many unconfirmed and none of which appear to have lingered. Earlier this autumn we followed up reports from non-birders of a calling bird at St Peter's Church at the Grove but drew a blank so it was great to get a fully confirmed record from last night at Wakeham © Martin Adlam portandwey.blogspot:
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