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5th September

Portland Bird Observatory - Wed, 09/05/2018 - 20:49
As the season moves on we start to witness the change in numbers of certain birds and today marked the beginning of the end of Tree Pipit passage as the Meadow Pipits will begin taking over. Although today's count of 18 Tree Pipits was the highest for a few days, the tally of 99 Meadow Pipits was the highest of the autumn so far. The Wagtails also put in a good display with 59 Yellow Wagtails (including a good number pitching in the neighbouring fields), 16 Grey Wagtails and 9 Alba Wagtails (including 2 definite White Wagtails). Sylvia warblers were seen in good numbers for the first time within the obs area with 16 Blackcaps and 4 Garden Warblers. Other notable counts included: 114 Wheatears, 600+ Swallows, 10 Sedge Warblers, 2 Reed Warblers and 5 Redstarts including a British controlled bird. Singles of Pied Flycatcher, Merlin and Greenshank rounded off the days land-based totals. A brief evening sea watch was rewarded with 16 Manxies, 8 Balearic Shearwaters and 1 Sandwich Tern.

Elsewhere on the island, the Ortolan Buntings showed early doors for a few lucky birders at Fancy's Farm.  A Hobby was reported over Barleycrates Lane and Ferrybridge maintained its steady course with: 1 Grey Wagtail, 7 Wheatears, 1 Yellow Wagtail, 1 Sanderling, 48 Dunlin, 65 Ringed Plover, 18 Turnstone and 1 Sandwich Tern.

A massive thank you to Martin King for this fantastic selection of photos including this Araneus Sp. © Martin King:

Martin spent a while this afternoon photographing our pond life (and occasionally having a snooze in the sun) and has produced some excellent shots of Common Pond Skaters, including the moment an unfortunate Marmalade Hoverfly strayed too close to the voracious predator © Martin King:

Unfortunately, earlier this autumn our resident male (and very nicely marked) Sparrowhawk hit a window and died. Fortunately he successfully managed to produce a minimum of 3 offspring this summer and these progeny, along with the resident female, have been putting on an excellent display throughout the obs area © Martin King

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5 Sep 18

Martin Adlam - Wed, 09/05/2018 - 19:26

A relaxing day gardening and also cutting the lawn for only the third time this year. For several weeks there was no grass to cut, but after recent rain, the rejuvenated grass was a good 4 inches.

The pond had a make over as it was was full of blanket weed, and as I pulled it out, there were dozens of Common Darter nymphs trapped in amongst it. Having freed them all, I placed them back into the pond. The ones I missed made their own way back. Just amazing how they knew where the water was! Also lurking in the pond were 2 Frogs.

Also about were dozens of Common Wasps coming down to the pond for a drink, and with them a Honey Bee.

Away from the pond there was a Chaffinch, Robin, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Dunnock and a juvenile Greenfinch in and around the back garden, whilst overhead there were a few Swallows and House Martins making their way south.

Here are a few images from this afternoon:

One of the many Common Darter nymphs.......
.......making their way back to the pond.
Follow my lead.......
........and in we go.
Dozens of Common Wasps......
....were visiting the pond as well.
And another.
Not just the wasps but also a Honey Bee after refreshments.
A juvenile Frog looks on.
Lurking in the the neighbours Buckthorn a shy Robin.
Well maybe not that shy.
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30 Aug 18 - Another Sign Of Autumn: Spotted Flycatchers

Birding in Poole Harbour and Beyond - Wed, 09/05/2018 - 18:00
Another great time in the Autumn for me is when the Spotted Flycatchers are on the move in numbers as there are usually one or two that are happy to pose for photos. This individual was on the top of Ballard Down.
Spotted Flycatcher: Juv: It was good to be able to look down on this individual. Generally, I've only managed to photograph Spotted Flycatchers above my head
Spotted Flycatcher: Juv. Given the fresh plumage this individual is going to be only a month or two old
Spotted Flycatcher: Juv
Spotted Flycatcher: Juv
Here is another Spotted Flycatcher, which is one of several seen at Greenlands Farm on the Studland patch a few days earlier.
Spotted Flycatcher: Juv. It's a pity this individual was sitting deep in the shade for this photograph (25 Aug 18)Spotted Flycatcher: Juv (25 Aug 18)Spotted Flycatcher: Juv. It finally came out of the shade, but wasn't as close (25 Aug 18) 
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Alpine mammals

Peter Moores Blog - Tue, 09/04/2018 - 22:27
In an earlier post I rashly promised a future piece on Alpine mammals - I like to keep my promises but it feels like very old news so I'll keep it brief, for all our sakes. Fortunately it was a case of quality over quantity as there weren't too many species to be seen but Marmot, Ibex and Chamois were all pretty high on my list.
Alpine IbexIbex are famously nimble around the precipitous slopes of the Alps - but seeing them up close it was clear this was no lightweightI hadn't seen Ibex before this trip so was hopeful of changing all this when we headed up into the mountains at Col de la Colombiere, scene of two close encounters with Lammergeier. Our first trip drew a blank but on the second, as George and I headed up to a higher altitude, within half an hour a young Ibex startled us as it ran past at speed down a steep rock face.
This presumed male was a real unit - and blinged up to the eye-balls with four ear tags, three neck tags and what looked like a satellite tracking necklace!An impressive set of antlers, one of the reasons this species was hunted almost to extinctionAs we climbed higher we came across another group of three, then a second group of half a dozen. Most of these were tagged for what we assumed was a conservation monitoring scheme. Reading up on the status of the species on returning home, I discovered that, rather like the Lammergeier, Ibex are only present in the French Alps today thanks to a re-introduction scheme after being shot to local extinction in the 19th century.
Typical scree-slope habitat for the IbexAn incredibly sure-footed animalThe Alpine Ibex has recovered from a low of just a few hundred to over 30,000 individuals with all those living today descended from a population in the Gran Paradiso National Park in the Italian Alps.
Wider angle view of the Ibex habitatMont Blanc from Col de la ColombiereWhen a planned trip part-way up Mont Blanc via cable car was called off due to bad weather, we pawned all the non-essential organs of our first born to pay for the toll to enter the Mont Blanc tunnel. We emerged skint and blinking 7 miles later on the Italian side of the border to radically different architecture, substantially stronger coffee and even higher mountain passes than we had been visiting in France.
Alpine Marmot - this one appeared to be acting as sentry for the colonyMarmot bolting for its burrowThe road to the highest of these - Col du Petit Saint Bernard, at a wheeze-inducing 2,188m - featured in The Italian Job, and while the switch-backs were impressive, we felt quite safe thanks to the substantial barriers which the Italians seemed to have over-engineered by comparison to their French counter-parts.
On duty againNative to the Alps, and reintroduced to the Pyrenees in the 1940sThe weather was better than it had been in rainy Chamonix but still overcast, but I headed up from the car park at the Col anyway to check our the alpine habitats nearby. Not far from the car it became clear that this was THE place to see Alpine Marmots - while we had heard them at other locations, we had yet to see them, but at this site there were good numbers, several of which allowed for a close approach.
Marmot fat is coveted as it is said to cure rheumatism when rubbed on the skin. Eugh.Adult Marmot with youngster
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Reports of interest, Tuesday 4th September 2018.

Dorset Bird Club - Tue, 09/04/2018 - 21:57
Marsh Harrier - 1 Stanpit, 1 Wick.
Whimbrel - 2 Stanpit.
Knot - 20 Hengistbury sandspit.
Common Sandpiper - 1 Longham Lakes.
Spotted Redshank - 1 Hengistbury Head.
Yellow-Legged Gull - 1 Mudeford Quay.
WRYNECK - 1 Wick.
Yellow Wagtail - 10 Christchurch Harbour.
Redstart - 1 Portland.
Whinchat - 3 Fancy's Farm (Portland), 2 Stanpit.
Pied Flycatcher - 1 Portland Bill.
Spotted Flycatcher - 2 Christchurch Harbour, 5 Portland.
ORTOLAN - 2 Fancy's Farm (Portland).

Stonechat on Hengistbury © Clinton Whale
Turnstone at Hengistbury Head © David Wareham
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4th September

Portland Bird Observatory - Tue, 09/04/2018 - 21:51
Yet another dramatic switch in our fortunes as thick cloud that rolled in early yesterday afternoon remained all night and resulted in very little movement throughout the morning. The benefit of this cloud cover was that the Ortolan Buntings, located last night at Fancy's farm, were still on display for most of the morning. Although not as dramatic as yesterday, the passage of Hirundines continued with over 200 Swallows and 60 House Martins (likely a large underestimate). Other migrants of note included: 21 Yellow Wagtails, 7 Grey Wagtails, 2 Spotted Flycatchers, 1 Pied Flycatcher, 2 Redstarts, 34 Wheatears, 4 Whinchats, and 2 Reed Warblers. The highlight of a rather dismal seawatch was 7 Teal. Notable by their absence were Willow Warblers with a modest 4 recorded throughout the day.

Elsewhere on the island, a Golden Plover flew over the Ortolan Buntings at Fancy's Farm as well as 2 Whinchats, 17 Yellow Wagtails, 2 Tree Pipits and a Spotted Flycatcher. Southwell also saw its share of the Hirundine passage with large numbers of both Swallows and House Martins, as well as: Redstart, 5 Spotted Flycatchers, Blackcap and Lesser Whitethroat.

After a run of brief fly-bys and sound recorded nocturnal migrants it was good to finally clap eyes on a couple of settled Ortolans © Duncan Walbridge (top) and Clive - oops, do remind us of your surname when you're here next! (bottom)

The Obs garden lingering Pied Flycatcher was putting on a good show for the guests © Paul Ward:

After reports of a dreadful breeding season in at least one part of their summer range it's been good to see that at least some of the Sanderlings showing up at Ferrybridge are juveniles © Debby Saunders:

Small Heaths are having a stunning second generation on the island and most are looking as stunning as this one from today © Martin King:

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30 Aug 18 - The Autumnal Orchid

Birding in Poole Harbour and Beyond - Tue, 09/04/2018 - 18:00
It's that time of the year again when the last local Orchid, Autumn Lady's Tresses appear. They are one of my favourite local Orchids. If it is a slow day of migrant Birding, then they help to keep me going. These photos are from another colony I found on Ballard Down within my Studland patch. There were 53 in a quick scan, but I'm sure a more careful scan would have produced more. But as this colony is next to some good-looking bushes, then after a few photos I was back to looking for migrant Warblers.
Autumn Lady's TressesAutumn Lady's Tresses: There seemed to be a better percentage of taller Autumn Lady's Tresses this year, so perhaps they have benefited from the warm weather
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Abbotsbury Swannery Bird Sightings - June 2018

Swannery Steve - Tue, 09/04/2018 - 15:14

Highlights...There were no rarities this month but noteworthy sightings included singles of Long-tailed DuckCurlew SandpiperWood SandpiperRoseate Tern and Black Tern.

Roseate Tern, Abbotsbury Swannery, June 2018 © Joe StockwellBlack Tern, Abbotsbury Swannery, June 2018 © Steve Groves

The Month's Bird News In Full...More details of the above highlights and the rest of this month's sightings...

Fulvous Whistling Duck... Two very confiding obvious escapes arrived on the 24th and at least one was still present to the 28th. One was found dead on the 29th however and presumably the other individual had already suffered the same fate. This exotic species was last seen at The Swannery back in the 1980's when a pair of captive origin nested and hatched young.
Fulvous Whistling Duck, Abbotsbury Swannery, June 2018 © Steve GrovesFulvous Whistling Ducks, Abbotsbury Swannery, June 2018 © Charlie Wheeler

Canada Goose... Present throughout with 900 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 17th. Several pairs nested.
Barnacle Goose... One that arrived on the 9th was then present for the rest of the month.
Greylag Goose... One that arrived on the 9th was then present for the rest of the month.
Black Swan… Two were present for much of the month.
Mute Swan... Present throughout with 765 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 17th. 120 pairs nested.
Whooper Swan... A second calendar year was released at The Swannery on the 5th having been in care for several weeks. It had originally arrived at nearby Bride Valley Fish Farm on the 8th April and it had resided there until the 12th May when it became entangled in netting, resulting in several injuries. It was then taken to The Swannery for treatment and after being rehabilitated it stayed throughout the month, although it also visited nearby Rodden Hive...

Above three images the Whooper Swan (a 2nd calendar year)
Abbotsbury Swannery, June 2018 © Steve Groves

Common Shelduck... Present throughout with 28 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 17th. Several broods seen.
Mandarin Duck… Singles were seen on the 12th, 28th and 30th...
 Mandarin Duck ('Eclipse' drake), Abbotsbury Swannery, June 2018 © Joe Stockwell
Northern Shoveler… Early in the month there were two on the 5th and one on the 10th. From the 22nd however there were regular sightings with a peak of six on the 27th...
Northern Shovelers, Abbotsbury Swannery, June 2018 © Joe Stockwell
Gadwall... Up to three individuals were present from the 11th to the 15th, whilst two were seen on the 29thand 30th.
Eurasian Wigeon... A single drake, presumably the bird present throughout May, returned briefly on the 29th.
Mallard... Present throughout with 200 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 17th. Many broods seen.
Northern Pintail... The female with wing damage remained all month...
Northern Pintail (female), Abbotsbury Swannery, June 2018 © Steve Groves
Eurasian Teal... The lingering drake remained until at least the 24th when it was joined by at least three others. Numbers then slowly increased with at least 26 present on the 29th.
Common Pochard... Present throughout with 23 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 17th.
Tufted Duck... Present throughout with 30 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 17th.
Long-tailed Duck... An unseasonable drake (presumably a second calendar year) was present on the 7th and 8th...
Long-tailed Duck (1st? summer drake), Abbotsbury Swannery, June 2018 © Joe Stockwell
Red-legged Partridge... One on the 8th.
Common Pheasant... Present throughout. Several broods seen.
Little Grebe... Regular from the 12th with a peak of three on the 28th.
Great Crested Grebe... Present throughout with 18 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 17th...
Great Crested Grebe, Abbotsbury Swannery, June 2018 © Charlie Wheeler

Grey Heron... Seen regularly with at least three present on several dates.
Little Egret... Present throughout with eight counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 17th.
Great Cormorant... Present throughout with around 20 roosting nightly.
Western Osprey... One on the 9th.
Eurasian Sparrowhawk... Singles on the 11th, 19th and 26th.
Western Marsh Harrier... Singles were seen regularly.
Red Kite... Singles on the 4th and 7th.
Common Buzzard... Present throughout. A few pairs nested in the vicinity.
Common Moorhen... Present throughout. Several pairs nested.
Eurasian Coot... Present throughout with 115 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 17th. Several pairs nested.
Eurasian Oystercatcher… Present throughout with a peak of 15 on the 17thwhich included three nesting pairs...
(Juvenile & adult) Eurasian Oystercatchers (with a 2nd calendar year 
Black-headed Gull & a Eurasian Coot), Abbotsbury Swannery, June 2018 
© Charlie Wheeler
Northern Lapwing... The first two returning individuals arrived on the 5th and numbers then slowly rose through the month with at least 10 present by the 29th.
Grey Plover... One on the 8th.
Common Ringed Plover... One on the 2nd and at least two on the 9th.
Little Ringed Plover... Singles on the 22nd and 25th; two on the 30th...
 A well camouflaged Little Ringed Plover, Abbotsbury Swannery, June 2018 
© Steve Groves
Whimbrel... One on the 4th.
Eurasian Curlew... Singles on the 17th and 29th.
Bar-tailed Godwit... One on the 4th and five on the 10th.

Black-tailed Godwit... Seen regularly with a peak of seven on the 4th.
All were of the Icelandic form...
Black-tailed Godwit (Icelandic juvenile), Abbotsbury Swannery, June 2018 © Joe Stockwell

Ruddy Turnstone... Two on the 7th, three on the 9thand one on the 13th.
Two Ruddy Turnstones, two Sanderlings & a Dunlin, Abbotsbury Swannery, 
June 2018 © Joe Stockwell

Curlew Sandpiper... One on the 28th...
 Curlew Sandpiper (Adult summer), Abbotsbury Swannery, June 2018 © Joe Stockwell

Sanderling... Two on the 9th.
Dunlin... Seen regularly with a peak of nine on the 2nd...
  Dunlin, Abbotsbury Swannery, June 2018 © Steve Groves
Common Snipe... The first returning individual was seen on the 30th.
Common Sandpiper… The first returning individual was seen on the 7th and there were then regular sightings for the rest of the month with a peak of four on the 30th.
Green Sandpiper… The first two returning individuals were seen on the 17th and there were then regular sightings of one or two for the rest of the month...
 Green Sandpiper, Abbotsbury Swannery, June 2018 © Steve Groves
Common Redshank... None were seen until the 20th but there were then regular sightings for the rest of the month with a peak of six on the 22nd.
Wood Sandpiper... One was present on the 22nd/23rd...
 Wood Sandpiper, Abbotsbury Swannery, June 2018 © Steve Groves
Black-legged Kittiwake…An unseasonal second calendar year was seen on the 8th.
Black-headed Gull... Present throughout with 53 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 17th. Several pairs nested.
Mediterranean Gull... Seen regularly with a peak of at least six on the 21st...
 Mediterranean Gull (2nd calendar year), Abbotsbury Swannery, June 2018 © Steve Groves
Common Gull (Mew Gull)... One on the 5th, two on the 8thand one on the 26th.
Great Black-backed Gull... Present throughout with five counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 17th.
European Herring Gull... Present throughout with four counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 17th.
Sandwich Tern... Seen regularly with a peak of at least four on the 21st.
Little Tern... The two on the 27th and the five on the 28th were the first since May 2017...
Little Terns, Abbotsbury Swannery, June 2018 © Joe Stockwell
Roseate Tern... One was seen on the 25th...

Roseate Tern, Abbotsbury Swannery, June 2018 © Joe Stockwell

Common Tern... Present throughout with 180 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 17th. At least 50 pairs nested.
Nesting Common Terns & Black-headed Gulls reacting
to the close proximity of a Great Black-backed Gull
Abbotsbury Swannery, June 2018 © Charlie Wheeler

Black Tern... One was seen on the 1st...
Black Tern, Abbotsbury Swannery, June 2018 © Steve Groves

Rock Dove... Feral/Domestic birds were seen regularly.
Stock Dove... Seen regularly with at least five seen on the 22nd.
Common Wood Pigeon... Present throughout. Several pairs nested.
Eurasian Collared Dove... Present throughout.

Western Barn Owl... There were regular sightings of single adults but a recently fledged juvenile was also seen on the 28th, so presumably a pair nested...
Western Barn Owl (juvenile), Abbotsbury Swannery, June 2018 © Steve Groves
Tawny Owl... One was heard on the 27th but it is highly likely that there were some present throughout and at least one pair presumably nested.
Common Swift... Seen regularly with a peak of over 1,000 on the 5th.

Common Kingfisher... The first returning individual was seen on the 27th.
Great Spotted Woodpecker... Seen regularly, with at least one pair nesting...
Great Spotted WoodpeckerAbbotsbury Swannery, 
June 2018 © Charlie Wheeler
European Green Woodpecker... Seen regularly and presumably nested in the vicinity.

Common Kestrel... One or two were seen regularly and presumably nested in the vicinity.

Peregrine Falcon... Singles were seen on the 12th and 29th.
Eurasian Magpie... Present throughout and presumably nested in the vicinity.
Western Jackdaw... Present throughout and several pairs nested in the vicinity.
Rook... Present throughout and several pairs nested in the vicinity.
Carrion Crow... Present throughout and a few pairs nested in the vicinity. 
Coal Tit... The first returning bird was seen on the 1stand there were then regular sightings throughout the month.
Eurasian Blue Tit... Present throughout and several pairs nested.
Great Tit... Present throughout and several pairs nested.
Eurasian Skylark... Present throughout and several pairs nested.
Sand Martin... The first returning birds were seen on the 21stand there were then regular sightings, with a peak of 200 on the 28th.
Barn Swallow... Present throughout and a few pairs nested.
Common House Martin... Seen regularly, with a peak of over 100 on the 17th.
Cetti's Warbler... Present throughout and several nested.
Long-tailed Tit... Present throughout and at least one pair nested.
Common Chiffchaff... Present throughout and a several pairs nested.
Sedge Warbler... Present throughout and at least one pair nested.
Eurasian Reed Warbler... Present throughout and many pairs nested.
Eurasian Blackcap... Present throughout and several pairs nested.
Lesser Whitethroat... Up to three singing males were heard regularly to the 19th but not subsequently.
Common Whitethroat... Present throughout and several pairs nested.
Goldcrest... Present throughout and at least one pair nested.
Eurasian Wren... Present throughout and several pairs nested.
Eurasian Treecreeper... Present throughout and at least one pair nested.

Common Starling... Seen regularly from the 8th, with over 100 roosting nightly by the end of the month.
Common Blackbird... Present throughout and several pairs nested.
Song Thrush... Present throughout and a few pairs nested.
Spotted Flycatcher... Singles were seen on the 5th, 6thand 13th...
Spotted Flycatcher, Abbotsbury Swannery, June 2018 © Joe Stockwell

European Robin... Present throughout and several pairs nested.
House Sparrow... Present throughout with several pairs nesting in the vicinity.
Dunnock... Present throughout and several pairs nested.
Pied Wagtail (White Wagtail)... Present throughout and at least one pair nested...
Pied Wagtail (juvenile), Abbotsbury Swannery, June 2018 © Steve Groves

Common Chaffinch... Present throughout and several pairs nested.
Eurasian Bullfinch... Seen or at least heard regularly and at least one pair nested.
European Greenfinch... At least one pair successfully nested. A welcome return to form!
Common Linnet... Present throughout and several pairs nested in the vicinity.
European Goldfinch... Present throughout and several pairs nested.
Common Reed Bunting... Present throughout and several pairs nested...
Common Reed Bunting (male), Abbotsbury Swannery, June 2018 © Steve GrovesCommon Reed Bunting (juvenile), Abbotsbury Swannery, 
June 2018 © Charlie Wheeler

... And that's it for this month except to say thanks to my work colleagues for additional sightings and additional images, particularly Joe Stockwell and Charlie Wheeler but also Kev Butler, Phil Jenks and Jonny White. Also thanks to the WeBS counters ... Alan Barrett and Nick Urch.

I'll leave you with a few of Joe Stockwell's June 2018 dragonfly images from The Swannery...

Black-tailed Skimmer, Abbotsbury Swannery, June 2018 © Joe Stockwell

Above two images Golden-ringed Dragonfly, Abbotsbury Swannery, June 2018
© Joe Stockwell

July's sightings to follow shortly.
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4 Sep 18

Martin Adlam - Tue, 09/04/2018 - 10:45
Fancy Farm

A tweet sent out this morning at 8:00am was that there were 2 Ortolan Buntings at Fancy Farm, so it was a quick wash and out the front door to see if I could catch up with them. When I arrived at 8:20am there were several cars parked up alongside the fence, but no sign of any birders.

So having no idea where to go, I decided to head to the southern end of the Farm and walk along the track here. I'm glad I did, as I met up with Paul Ward who had already seen both birds along the track I was walking Here. In fact as we chatted one of the Ortolans appeared on the path I'd just walked along and the other flew up onto the fence in front of us.

I managed a quick and absolutely awful photo of one of the birds and was feeling very jealous of the wonderful shot Here which Paul had taken just before I got there.

Unfortunately there were a lot of dog walkers about and a fair bit of noise coming from the farm, which sadly pushed the buntings to the south of our position. Despite an extensive search, along with several other birders, the last time I saw them was at 8:35am.

Other birds here for a short time (they all moved south over the next hour or so) were approximately 12 Wheatears, 4 Whinchats, 3 Common Whitethroat, 2 Blackcap, 5 Yellow Wagtails and 9+ Meadow Pipits.

Here are a couple images from this morning including probably the worse photo I have ever taken of a bird.

Honest this is one of the Ortolan Buntings. Here's a better shot which Paul took - Photo
One of the 4 Whinchat heading south.
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Reports of interest, Monday 3rd September 2018.

Dorset Bird Club - Mon, 09/03/2018 - 23:32
Spoonbill - 7 Brownsea Island.
Red Kite - 1 Lytchett RSPB.
Osprey - 2-3 Lytchett RSPB.
Hobby - 1 Hengistbury Head.
Grey Plover  - 1 Durlston NR.
Whimbrel - 1 Stanpit.
Curlew Sandpiper - 1 Brownsea Island.
Common Sandpiper - 1 Ferrybridge.
Greenshank - 8 Brownsea Island, 2 Hengistbury Head, 3 Lytchett RSPB, 1 Stanpit.
Spotted Redshank - 1 Brownsea Island.
Little Stint - 1 Brownsea Island.
STONE CURLEW - 1 Durlston area.
Yellow-Legged Gull - 1 Brownsea Island.
WRYNECK - 1 Portland Bill.
Yellow Wagtail - 9 Christchurch Harbour, 2 Durlston NR, 2 Ferrybridge, 50+ Forston, 1 St Aldhelms's Head.
Redstart - 2 Ashley Chase, 14 Durlston NR, 1 Martinstown, 2 St Aldhelms's Head.
Whinchat - 1 Ashley Chase, 5 Martinstown, 2 St Aldhelms's Head.
Pied Flycatcher - 1 Durlston NR.
Spotted Flycatcher - 9 Ashley Chase, 4 Durlston NR, 1 Wick.
Wood Warbler - 1 Portland Bill.
ORTOLAN - 1 Ferrybridge, 2 Fancy's Farm (Portland).

Note: The elevated number of Osprey in Poole Harbour at present is due to the Osprey translocation scheme which is being carried out by the Birds of Poole Harbour charity and The Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation.  For more information on this project follow the link below.
Greenshank at Holloways Dock, Hengistbury © Clinton Whale
Oystercatcher at Hengistbury Head © David Wareham
Reed Bunting on Hengistbury © Clinton Whale
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3rd September

Portland Bird Observatory - Mon, 09/03/2018 - 22:49
Today had that inexplicable feeling of excitement that something could turn up at any time. The autumn appears to be dragging its feet along slightly where numbers are concerned but todays species totals were much more like a typical Portland September. Despite only catching 18 birds during the course of the mornings trapping session, this consisted of 13 species including 1 Wood Warbler, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 2 Redstarts, 1 Pied Flycatcher, 3 Grey Wagtails and 2 Yellow Wagtails. Other avian highlights included a magnificent passage of Hirundines with 600+ Swallows reported in 2 hours from Ferrybridge and a similar number at the Bill accompanied by 300 House Martins and a handful of Sand Martins. The mornings excitement didn't stop there however, as a Wryneck shot between the Hut fields and the Obs garden eluding almost everyone but the lucky few in the right place at the right time, this happening concurrently with the arrival of the resident Great Spotted Woodpecker meant, unusually, that there were two species of Woodpecker in the garden at once. Ortolan Buntings also put in a brilliant display with 2 showing at Fancy's farm near dusk and a single flyover at Ferrybridge in the morning. Another impressive spectacle was the passage of 53 Grey Wagtails over the morning period, far outstripping the total of just 18 Yellow Wagtails.  The sea passage of 14 Balearic Shearwaters was overshadowed by the presence of many other species of commoner migrants such as Spotted Flycatchers, Pied Flycatchers, Redstarts, Whitethroats, Lesser Whitethroats, Sedge Warblers and Reed Warblers.

Today we also received Nick Hoppers report from the night of 1st/2nd September which included another 2 Ortolan Buntings, Pied Flycatcher, 2 Yellow Wagtails, 4 Robins, 3 Tree Pipits, Redshank and 2 Common Sandpipers.

Such has been the dearth of immigrant moths in the last few weeks that a relatively modest overnight arrival qualified as a really worthwhile event. Obs totals of 11 Rush Veneer, 8 Dark Sword Grass, 7 Silver Y, 4 each of European Corn-borer and Rusty-dot Pearl, 3 each of Diamond-back Moth and Delicate, and singles of Marbled Piercer, Convolvulus Hawkmoth and Dark Spectacle were hardly impressive on their own, but that the fact that this lowly assemblage were accompanied by a Passenger certainly made the night a memorable one; elsewhere, 2 more Convolvulus Hawkmoths were at the Grove and a single Delicate was caught during a mobile trapping session at Ferrybridge.

Ferrybridge had a cracking day, not only on the Bunting front, but also with a record count of 43 Canada Geese (perhaps not exciting anywhere else but a good record here!). A flock of 9 Pochard flying East were another great species to add to the day list. The Sparrowhawks seem to be making a nuisance of themselves across the island with this juv even turning its hands to a spot of wader flushing, we can definitely forgive it when its this photogenic © Pete Saunders (the wildfowl), Edmund Mackrill (Sparrowhawk). 

We made a stupid mistake in not going to check out Charlie Richard's lone Ortolan Bunting at Fancy's Farm whilst the sun was out; it had clearly only temporarily disappeared since we jammed straight into not one but two birds there late in the evening - it might not look like it in this snatched record shot but by then it was nearly dark as well as drizzling steadily and the birds promptly vanished again into the gloom © Martin Cade:

The Wood Warbler was a slightly unexpected capture in the mist-nets set in Crown Estate Field crops © Martin Cade/Erin Taylor:

After their indifferent spring it's been good to log some autumn Hobbys - this one over Southwell today was the third in recent days © Pete Saunders:

Always a good rarity nationally, Portland's been favoured for Passenger records - today's specimen was the fourth for the island © Martin Cade:

It wasn't just a brilliant morning for birds and there's not many places you can get a view like this every morning! © Martin King 
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3 Sep 18

Martin Adlam - Mon, 09/03/2018 - 19:34
Mermaid Track, Rufus Castle, St Andrews Church and Pennsylvania Castle Wood

A bit of a change in the weather as the morning sun gave way to a cloudy afternoon, which in turn turned to rain by the evening. I got the cloudy bit before the rain, which probably accounted to fact that i didn't find too much on my walk. Having said that a Little Owl calling from Penn's Weare was an unexpected surprise. Here's a sound track from Xeno-canto of what I heard - Little Owl.

It was a good day for the Marmalade Hoverfly (Episyrphus balteatus) with dozens flying about along the Mermaid Track and also in Penn's Wood. Other hoverflies recorded were Drone Fly (Eristalis abusivus) and Pied Hoverfly (Scaeva pyrastri).

A few butterflies about with a Meadow Brown, Peacock and male Common Blue found.

A few Bloody-nosed Beetles seen along with a few deceased specimens, and several juvenile Wall Lizards in the grounds of St Andrew's Church again.

Here are a few images from this afternoon:

Below the coast path in Penn's Weare a Little Owl was heard calling.
A male Common Blue showing its upper wings...........
..............and from below.
One of a few Bloody-nosed Beetles trundling along the paths and tracks.
A Wall Lizard on the steps leading down to Church Ope Cove from Rufus Castle.
This one is a youngster and was on the wall of the ruins of St Andrew's Church
If I'm not mistaken this is the Drone Fly - Eristalis abusivus. A species I first saw in the grounds of St Andrew's Church in August last year. It must be its favoured habitat.
Also in the Church grounds a Pied Hoverfly - Scaeva pyrastri.
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28 Aug 18 - Migrant Hawkers At Littlesea, Studland

Birding in Poole Harbour and Beyond - Mon, 09/03/2018 - 19:00
The third & final Post from Littlesea, Studland when I was unsuccessfully looking for the Purple Heron. There were plenty of other wildlife to distract me including a showy Moorhen & an Ashy Mining Bee. I also saw good numbers of male Migrant Hawkers. They spent a lot of time patrolling along the edge of Littlesea, but would hover every now & then for photos.
Migrant Hawker: MaleMigrant Hawker: Male. They weren't perching very often. The brownish eyes & virtually non-existent anti-humeral yellow stripes (the very small yellow stripe on the 'shoulder' on the body) are key features to separate them from Common Hawkers. Common Hawkers have much stronger yellow anti-humeral stripes & blue eyesMigrant Hawker: Male. Another individual taken three days later (31 Aug 18)
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Sightings - Sunday 2nd September 2018

Dorset Bird Club - Sun, 09/02/2018 - 21:44
Pintail - 5 Brand's Bay
Garganey - 3 Abbotsbury Swannery
Manx Shearwater - 1 Portland Bill
Balearic Shearwater - 2 Portland Bill
Great White Egret - 1 Lodmoor RSPB, 1 Radipole RSPB
Spoonbill - 1 Stanpit
Osprey -  2 Lytchett Bay, 1 juv Brand's Bay
Whimbrel - 1 Christchurch Harbour 1 Portland Bill
Curlew Sandpiper - 1 juv still on Brownsea Island lagoon
Sanderling - 2 Ferrybridge
Common Sandpiper - 2 Longham Lakes, 2 Christchurch Harbour, 1 Ferrybridge
Spotted Redshank - 1 Middlebere
Greenshank - 1 Brand's Bay
Short-eared Owl - 1 Portland Bill
Wryneck - 1 Wick Fields (Hengistbury)
Pied Flycatcher - 1 Durlston CP, 2 Portland Bill
Redstart - 3 Durlston CP, 1 Studland
Whinchat - 9 Portland Bill, 4+ Studland
Yellow Wagtail - 4 Portland Bill, 4 Wick, 1 Durlston CP

The elevated numbers of Osprey in Poole Harbour at present is due to the Osprey translocation scheme which is being carried out by the Birds of Poole Harbour charity and The Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation, for more information on this project follow the link below.

Black-tailed Godwit at Stanpit © Clinton Whale
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2nd September

Portland Bird Observatory - Sun, 09/02/2018 - 21:02
With the amount of birding talent present at the obs this weekend, the anticipation was high for something to be turned up. However, much like yesterday, we were struggling to pick up migrants let alone any of rarity value. Migrants recorded included: 1 Short-eared Owl, 1 Whimbrel, 4 Yellow Wagtails, 2 Tree Pipits, 2 Spotted Flycatchers, 2 Pied Flycatchers, 22 Wheatears (4 additional birds at Barleycrates), 9 Whinchats (5 additional birds at Barleycrates), 10 Blackcaps, 8 Whitethroats, and 2 Lesser Whitethroats. Sea watching produced similar numbers to yesterday with: 2 Balearic Shearwaters, 1 Manx Shearwater, 21 Common Scoter, 1 Diver sp., 2 Black-headed Gulls, 2 Dunlin and 1 Ringed Plover.

The highlights of the day came from the insect world in the forms of a Red-veined Darter that showed excellently for most of our guests. The second came from the first Western Conifer Seed Bugs of the year, these distinctive bugs were introduced to Europe in 1999 and have spread across Southern England since then © Martin Cade:

The waders at Ferrybridge continued to perform admirably for the camera and this pair of confiding Sanderlings and agile Common Sandpiper are no exceptions © Debby Saunders (top), © Pete Saunders (Bottom): 

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2 Sep 18

Martin Adlam - Sun, 09/02/2018 - 20:17
Broadcroft Quarry Butterfly Reserve and Bumpers Lane

A quick walk this afternoon just to see if there was anything about. Sadly not, apart from a Common Buzzard and 2 Kestrels, with the latter not to happy to be in the same location as each other.

Here are a few images from this afternoon:

A Common Buzzard over the butterfly reserve.
Also here two Kestrels..........
.......and a bit of scene as the one above didn't seem to happy about the Kestrel below on the branch. 

A bit of gardening and nice to see a Painted Lady in the back garden, just a shame it was only passing through. Also about a male Common Darter, 3 Common Wasps and 6 Common Carder Bumblebees.

Here are few images:

A male Common Darter by the pond and then.......
.......on the fence by the vegetable patch.
I think this is only the third male Common Darter I have come across on Portland, all the others being females.
A Common Wasp comes down to the pond for a drink.
A Common Carder Bumblebee on the Lavender.......
........and also in a Nasturtium.
And Finally
The new housing estate on Bumpers Lane.
A very busy place at the moment..........
............and unfortunately........
..........a very messy one at that.
Such a shame that what use to be a nice walk along Bumpers lane has now turned into a bit of a tip. I did wonder how long it would take before the workman started to forget about the environment they were working in!!!!
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1st September

Portland Bird Observatory - Sat, 09/01/2018 - 23:02
Perhaps we were a little optimistic. The forecast of gentle South-easterlies and clear skies until 5am when cloud would roll in and drop a plethora of migrant on our doorstep was actually reasonably accurate, minus the huge fall of birds. However, there were birds to be seen if not any of particular note. The lowest count of our early morning migrants (just 13 Yellow Wagtails, 6 Grey Wagtails and 3 Tree Pipits) was indicative of the day i.e a good range of species but few numbers of each. Counts of interest included: 6 Whimbrel, 5 Spotted Flycatchers, 3 Pied Flycatchers, 6 Common Sandpipers, 1 Redstart, 11 Blackcaps, 1 Reed Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, the first Golden Plover of the autumn and a good passage of Whinchats with a minimum of 33 birds counted. Common migrants were not seen in any great numbers, Willow Warblers and Wheatears were in particularly low supply. The sea, again, did not provide numbers but some autumnal variation was introduced with 6 Black-tailed Godwits, 7 Wigeon, 1 Great Skua, 5 Common Scoter, 3 Balearic Shearwaters and 1 Manx Shearwater. Vis mig passage over the West Cliffs included: 60 Swallows, 8 House Martins and 15 Sand Martins.

Excepting the count of 13 Knot, numbers at Ferrybridge were consistent with recent findings with: 2 Sanderling, 130 Ringed Plovers, 46 Dunlin, 18 Turnstone, 6 Sandwich Terns, 2 Yellow Wagtails and a Wheatear.

Last night's nocturnal passage report from Nick Hopper: The night never properly got going but in the end a reasonable selection of species was mustered. Highlight an Ortolan Bunting at 02.58; also noteworthy a fairly early Golden Plover, whilst other callers logged were Robin 10, Pied Flycatcher 2, Spotted Flycatcher 1, Yellow Wagtail 2, Tree Pipit 3,Grey Heron 1, Redshank 1, Common Sandpiper 1, Skylark 1 (presumably a local bird) and a few Dunlin and Ringed Plover.

Immigrant moth interest was again pretty minimal but at a local level singles of Pale Eggar and Oak Hook-tip trapped overnight at the Obs were of note - the former constituting only the second record for the island © Martin Cade

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Sightings - Saturday 1st September 2018

Dorset Bird Club - Sat, 09/01/2018 - 22:45
Great White Egret - 1 briefly at Christchurch Harbour, 1 Lytchett Fields RSPB, 1 Lodmoor RSPB
Spoonbill - 19 Brownsea Island, 2 Middlebere, 1 Hengistbury
Osprey -  1 over Weymouth Bay, 1 Lytchett Bay, 1 Brand's Bay
Whimbrel - 2 Brand's Bay
Knot - 13 briefly at Ferrybridge, 4 Brownsea Island
Curlew Sandpiper - 1 juv Brownsea Island
Common Sandpiper - 2 Longham Lakes
Green Sandpiper - 1 Wick
Spotted Redshank - 1 heard at Hengistbury, 1 Brownsea Island
Greenshank - 15 Brownsea Island, 4 Christchurch Harbour ( 3 at Stanpit, 1 at Wick)
Short-eared Owl - 1 Durlston CP
Nightjar - 2 ringed at Durlston CP
Wryneck - 1 Hengistbury Head
Blackcap - 55 ringed at Durlston CP
Grasshopper Warbler - 2 ringed at Durlston CP
Redstart - 5 Greenlands Farm
Whinchat - 13 Wallsend Cove, Portland, 5 Ringstead, 2 Greenlands Farm
Blue-headed Wagtail - a probable at Abbotsbury Swannery briefly this evening
Hawfinch - 1 over Durlston CP

Yesterday: A blue-headed Wagtail trapped and ringed at Hengistbury yesterday evening.

The elevated numbers of Osprey in Poole Harbour at present is due to the Osprey translocation scheme which is being carried out by the Birds of Poole Harbour charity and The Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation, for more information on this project follow the link below.
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1 Sep 18

Martin Adlam - Sat, 09/01/2018 - 19:04
Mermaid Track, Rufus Castle, St Andrews Church and Pennsylvania Castle Wood

Another lovely warm afternoon after a cloudy start this morning. Main highlights today were 2 Hummingbird Hawkmoths (one at Church Ope Cove and the other in the grounds of St Andrew's Church) and 12 juvenile Wall Lizards also in the Church grounds.

A few migrant birds about with Common Whitethroat, Willow Warbler and Blackcap in the Buddleia bushes along Bumpers Lane. Also here several Chaffinches, Blue Tits and Great Tits.

Here are a few images from this afternoon:

A Willow Warbler feeding in the buddleia alongside a Chaffinch.
And another Chaffinch.
At the back of Church Ope Cove around the beach huts this Hummingbird Hawkmoth was feeding on the Buddleia.
Also here a Bloody-nosed Beetle which I picked up to show a couple and their two daughters, to show them its defence mechanism, which was to exude a red solution onto the palm of my hand. I think they were quite impressed, and I was very grateful for the wet wipes they gave me to clean my hands. Thank you......

One of the dozen or so baby wall Lizards out on the stone ruins of St Andrew's Church.
Here are three one above each other. 
And another further up the wall.
On one of the grave stones a Hornet Mimic Hoverfly (Volucella zonaria).
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28 Aug 18 - Ashy Mining Bee

Birding in Poole Harbour and Beyond - Sat, 09/01/2018 - 18:00
I spent another four hours unsuccessfully looking for the Purple Heron around Littlesea, Studland today. However, I was pleased to photograph this Ashy Mining Bee as I was walking back to the car park. I've seen Ashy Mining Bees in large numbers before where I used to work in Hampshire in Mar - May. Their colony was a large area of well mown lawn. They would fly low over the grass on sunny days. They disappeared after early May, so I assumed that was the end of their flying season for the year. So, I wasn't expecting this Mining Bee to be the same species. However, checking the excellent Field Guide to the Bees of Great Britain and Ireland by Falk & Lewington, I was surprised to find that they occur on other habitats, including heathland & can have a partial second generation in Jul - Aug. All of which fit perfectly for Littlesea. This is the first time I've seen them on the Studland patch.
Ashy Mining BeeAshy Mining BeeAshy Mining Bee
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