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19 Apr 18

Thu, 04/19/2018 - 19:14

Busy day gardening and sorting out sheds in very warm conditions. Main highlights from the garden was a Chiffchaff singing this morning and this evening the islands only Green Woodpecker "yaffling" from the bottom of Wakeham, probably on the lawns at Pennsylvania Castle.

A few bugs etc about with Silverfish (Lepisma saccharina), Leopard Slug (Limax maximus), Woodlouse Spider (Dysdera crocata), Light Brown Apple Moth and a moth sp.
Leopard Slug (Limax maximus) More on this slug Here
Silverfish (Lepisma saccharina)
 Woodlouse Spider (Dysdera crocata)
Light Brown Apple Moth
moth sp.
And Ted being Ted, looking for "Roland" in amongst the ivy.
Categories: Blogs, Timeline, Twitter

18 Apr 18

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 15:15
Pennsylvania Castle Wood, St Andrew's Church and Church Ope Cove

Well the promised warm weather certainly arrived this morning and with it wall to wall blue skies. There was that slight southeasterly wind still, but in the sheltered spots it was very warm indeed.

Main highlight today was a wannabee Wood Warbler which turned out to be a very yellow Willow Warbler in Pennsylvania Castle Wood. Initially it was feeding in the shrub area just off the footpath here, but as I walked down towards it, it flew up into the Horse Chestnut tree in the Castle Grounds, where I lost it in the leafs. A little later it reappeared above me but no matter which position I watched it, I was always looking into the sun.

There were also several Chiffchaffs about with at least 3 singing. Other than that apart from 2 Meadow Pipits overhead there were very few birds about.

However on the butterfly front, this was very good with 8 Peacocks, 4 Commas and a male Clouded Yellow. The latter on the south facing slopes at Church Ope Cove, exactly where I saw them last on 24 Nov 17 Here.

In the grounds of St Andrew's Church a couple of Wall Lizards, several hoverflies and a few bees.

Here are a few images:

Not a brilliant photo I know, but a Willow Warbler in Penns Wood.
Also here a Blue Tit.
In the grounds of St Andrew's Church a Comma. There were 3 others here as well.
A Yellow-legged Mining-bee (Andrena flavipes)
Hoverfly - Syrphus torvus
Nursery Web Spider (Pisaura mirabilis)
Wall Lizard
And a close-up
The south facing slopes at Church Ope Cove which was alive with Chiffchaffs, Peacock butterflies and a male Clouded Yellow.
Birds Recorded: 1 Gannet, Cormorant, Herring Gull, Wood Pigeon, 2 Meadow Pipit, 1 Pied Wagtail, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, 7 Chiffchaff, 1 Willow Warbler, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Linnet and Goldfinch.

Also seen: 2 Wall Lizards, 8 Peacock butterflies, 4 Commas, 1 Clouded YellowYellow-legged Mining-bee (Andrena flavipes), Hoverfly (Syrphus torvus) and a Nursery Web Spider (Pisaura mirabilis)
Categories: Blogs, Timeline, Twitter

17 Apr 18

Tue, 04/17/2018 - 15:39
Bumpers Lane, St Andrew's Church, Church Ope Cove, Cheyne Weare, Combefield Quarry and Perryfield Quarry.

A 2 hour walk on the route below was a bit disappointing on the bird front with the only Spring migrants being 3 Chiffchaffs. The Hoopoe seen in Combefield Quarry early this morning was impossible to find, the quarry is huge.

So it was on the reptile front where the main highlights of the day came from, with a Wall Lizard in the grounds of St Andrew's Church and and a Slow-worm in Combefield Quarry.
Where there was shelter from the stiff southerly wind I came across 4 Peacock butterflies and lots of Honeybees.

Here are a few images from today:
Today's Walk
A Linnet keeps a watchful eye on me as I walked along Bumpers Lane. There was a small flock of around 8 birds here, with lots of males singing.

This is Ivy-leaved Toadflax, Cymbalaria muralis and was on the rocky wall by Rufus Castle...........
...........It originates from the Mediterranean region and is believed to have been brought to London in 1640 with imported marble slabs from Italy. It was grown in gardens and has since escaped and become naturalised and very common throughout the UK.

Portland Spurge, Euphorbia portlandica. Who would have thought that living on Portland we would have our own Spurge named after it. However the name came about as it was discovered here. Interestingly enough it isn't that common on Portland, you would have to travel Durlston to find larger concentrations.

Any raptor passing overhead is fair game as this Buzzard found out over Church Ope Cove. It even had a Kestrel attack it.

I believe this a Southern Pill Woodlouse, Armadillidium depressum. There were several on the coastal path between Church Ope Cove and Cheyne Weare.

I can't make up my mind as to whether this is a Common Froghopper (Philaenus spumarius) or Neophilaenus lineatus. The latter would, by virtue of its name, have a pale line running down the outside edge of the forewing. One to ask the experts!!

If you ever find corrugated sheets lying around, there's always a chance of finding a Slow-worm warming up underneath. If you do lift a sheet up and there is one there, please remember to replace it gently.

This is one of the tiniest bees I think I've ever come across and was no more than a few millimetres in length, collecting pollen from inside a Buttercup.........

...... it is possibly a female Bull-headed Furrow Bee, Lasioglossum zonulum. This is a large family of bees, so it could quite easily be one of the other Lasioglossum. However Lasioglossum zonulum are found along the south coast so a good chance.

Poised and ready to spring into action.......
........this Kestrel did just that......
........swooping low and fast...... ponced on a worm.
You do have to ask yourself how on earth did it see that worm!!!!
Across at Southwell something grabbed the attention of these Herring Gulls. There must have been up to 60 birds all milling around the field in front of the houses there. We will never know.

And finally a Honeybee immersed in pollen. I hope she can find the hive with that amount of pollen covering her eyes.

Birds recorded: 1 Buzzard, 3 Kestrel, Black-headed Gull, 60+ Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Wood Pigeon, Pied Wagtail, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, 3 Chiffchaff, Long-tailed Tit, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, 1 Raven, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Linnet and Goldfinch.
Also seen: 1 Wall Lizard, 1 Slow-worm, 4 Peacock butterflies, Honeybees, Common Drone fly, Southern Pill Woodlouse (Armadillidium depressum), Froghopper sp. and possibly a Bull-headed Furrow Bee (Lasioglossum zonulum)
Categories: Blogs, Timeline, Twitter

16 Apr 18

Mon, 04/16/2018 - 10:22
Broadcroft Quarry Lane, Coastal Path, Rufus Castle, Church Ope Cove and Pennsylvania Castle Wood.

An early morning walk started off dry and sunny at 7:00am, but then a couple of showers rolled in, before the sun came back out again. A bit disappointing bird-wise, I had hoped to have seen a few migrants, but the best i could was 5 Chiffchaffs (with one singing), a single Swallow and a chat. as to whether the latter was a Stonechat or Whinchat I couldn't say as the brief view I had of it was to quick to ID properly.

The best of the morning was a Green Woodpecker "yaffling" from Bumpers Lane. The first time I heard it, it appeared to be about here. About 5 minutes later and it called again from around this area, but try as I could I couldn't locate it. It was probably in someones back garden feeding on a lawn.

Here are few images from this morning:

This Herring Gull is not to happy with this Raven..........
.......and eventually drives it off.
A Jackdaw up by The Grove......
......where there were several Herring Gulls in the horses paddock.
A few finches about including this Goldfinch at Church Ope Cove.
And in the grounds of St Andrew's Church this Robin is still collecting nesting material.
He didn't seem to bothered by my presence and just waited until I left.
Black Slugs, Arion ater. on the coastal path. More on this slug here.
Also along the path Garden Snails, Cornu aspersum
A Red-tailed Bumblebee maybe!!
A plant to ID.
As above
And again.
Masses of these in Pennsylvania Castle Wood.
And a close-up of the flowers.
And another plant to ID.
As above.
The sun rising from the east as a rain cloud passes overhead.
Way out on the horizon, I thought I was looking at a boat. And then I realised they were huge rollers heading into Weymouth Bay. I've no idea of the size but they were big!!
The waves crashing into Church Ope Cove.
Birds Recorded: 5 Fulmar, Kestrel, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Wood Pigeon, 1 Green Woodpecker, 1 Swallow, 4 Meadow Pipit, 4 Rock Pipit, Dunnock, Robin, Stonechat/Whinchat, Blackbird, 5 Chiffchaff, Long-tailed Tit, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, 1 Raven, 1 Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Linnet and Goldfinch.

Also seen a bumblebee sp. (Possibly Red-tailed Bumblebee), Black Slugs (Arion ater) and Garden Snails (Cornu aspersum)
Categories: Blogs, Timeline, Twitter

15 Apr 18

Sun, 04/15/2018 - 17:34
Portland Bird Observatory, Crown Estate Fields and Hut Fields

A break in the weather and the miserable rain from this morning drifted away to leave a warm sunny afternoon. I couldn't resist a visit to the Obs and spent a couple hours walking around the local fields and hut area.

One of the Hoopoe's from yesterday was still about and I had amazing views of it feeding in the hut field. Close-by a male Pied Flycatcher had been sighted and I managed a fleeting view of it as it flew along the edge of the Obs Garden wall.
In the Crown estate Fields a Common Redstart had been sighted, but despite my best efforts I couldn't locate it. However, scanning the hedges and fields it was great to see a Short-eared Owl quartering the rough grass area above the horses field. It was doing quite well catching voles, which didn't go unnoticed by a pair of Great Black-backed Gulls, and eventually it ended up losing a vole to a very persistent gull. Poor vole having been caught by the owl it was quickly dispatched by one of the Great Black-backed Gulls.
As I crossed back over the main road, I thought I'd have another look for the Pied Flycatcher. I didn't find it again, but I did watch a Hawfinch fly over my head and into the Obs car park. Needless to say I shot back round to the Obs, only to watch it fly towards the patio area. As I got to garden area I realised it had flown into the mist nets, where within seconds it was bagged up for weighing and ringing.
What a great afternoon.
Here are a few images and a video from this afternoon.

A flighty bird this Hoopoe couldn't make up its mind where it wanted to feed.
Eventually it flew back to its favourite field......
.......and started feeding again.
This very obliging Hoopoe was feeding in the hut field close to the Observatory.
The top right Wood Pigeon had an almighty escape from.....
......this Peregrine Falcon. As the "woody" came into land the Peregrine narrowly missed catching it.
This female Hawfinch was originally in the hut field, but flew into the Obs car park before ending up in the mist net.
This is one of those birds where a bird ringer uses all their skill and expertise to handle a large finch with bone crushing mandibles. Scientists have measured the crushing force of a Hawfinch bill and found it to exceed 50kg.
Categories: Blogs, Timeline, Twitter

14 Apr 18

Sat, 04/14/2018 - 12:24
Higher Lighthouse and Sweethill

A tweet early this morning was of a Hoopoe seen on the slopes up to the Higher Lighthouse. I decided to park in Sweethill, as the obs car park was probably going to be packed and I walked along the footpath adjacent to the old Admiralty building. I'm glad I did as there was a Firecrest in the hedgerow along here.

Having managed to keep on my feet along the mud-bath of a path I eventually I arrived on the west cliff and met up with other birders looking for the Hoopoe. It hadn't been seen for a good 20 minutes or so, but after another 10 minutes it suddenly appeared from the direction of the Crown Estate fields and landed on the slopes above the Higher Lighthouse.

Yet again it disappeared and then popped up further north along the coast path where it headed off towards the direction of the Crown Estate Fields again. I decided that having seen it I would head of towards the barns at Sweethill. As I did so the Hoopoe popped up in front of me at this spot here.

Pete Coe joined me with another birder and we managed brief views of it before it flew over a wall into Helen's Field, but despite our attempts to locate it, it had disappeared again. While we searched for it a male Kestrel landed 5 metres away from us on a post and then started watching the grass below. Eventually it dropped down and caught a vole before flying off.

Another tweet came through that there were possibly 2 Hoopoe's about, with another in Southwell. I was heading back that way to car so I kept an eye out in case this other Hoopoe appeared. As I did so a Yellow Wagtail flew overhead, heading north over the barns at Sweethill. Another good year tick.

Here are few images and videos from a very grey and misty morning:

A Hoopoe above the Higher Lighthouse this morning..........
.........and the same bird above Culverwell on the track to Sweethill.
Lovely views of a Hoopoe along the track close to Helen's Field.
A male Blackcap on the coast path.
This male Kestrel flew down onto the post just 5 metres from Pete Coe and myself.
As Pete Coe and myself stood on the track, a male Kestrel flew down onto the post and after a few seconds dropped onto an unsuspecting vole. Sometimes you can be in the right place at the right time.
Birds Recorded: Kestrel, Pheasant, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Stock Dove, Wood Pigeon, 1 Hoopoe, Skylark, 5 Swallow, Meadow Pipit, 1 Yellow Wagtail, Dunnock, Robin, 2 Stonechat, Blackbird, 1 Blackcap, 5 Chiffchaff, 3 Willow Warbler, 1 Firecrest, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Magpie, Rook, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, 50+ Linnet and Goldfinch.
Categories: Blogs, Timeline, Twitter

13 Apr 18

Fri, 04/13/2018 - 16:57

Several Swallows heading north along the beach. Several Oystercatchers on the shoreline and still a few Sandwich Terns in Small Mouth.
Categories: Blogs, Timeline, Twitter

12 Apr 18

Thu, 04/12/2018 - 12:22
Crown Estate Fields, Culverwell, Hut Fields and Obs Quarry.

Another beautiful start to the day and it was up early (well early for me) and it was down to the Portland Bird Observatory for 8:10am. As I walked around to the patio area I spotted to flocks of Common Scoter heading north over the sea, there were two parties of 9 and 5. A good start.

My first stop on my walk was the horse field here, where there was a splendid looking male Ring Ouzel. A bird flew past it as I was watching it and my first thought was that it was hen Pheasant because of the colouration. And then I thought hang on its way to small, a quick adjustment with the binoculars and I was looking at my first Mistle Thrush on the island since moving down here at the end of May last year. By all accounts Mistle Thrush are quite scarce on the island so well chuffed I've finally bagged one.

Also in the brambles here were 1 male and 2 female Stonechats, whilst flying through were Skylarks and Meadow Pipits.

I made my way up the track and alongside Helen's Field, before heading south towards Culverwell. Just about here were a dozen or so Fieldfare, Redwing and Blackbirds feeding in the field. In the bushes I also managed my first Willow Warbler of the year. In Culverwell there were several Chiffchaffs flitting about and 3 Greenfinches.

From here I headed off to the Obs quarry, where there were at least 5 Chiffchaff. From here I then took a walk through the hut fields before heading back to the Obs. Still more Chiffchaffs about and also a pair of Black Redstarts. There was one possible 2 Bullfinches in the Blackthorn bushes and I managed some good views of 2 more Willow Warblers, one of which was really yellow. Sadly not a Wood Warbler, though one was seen a few days ago at Lodmoor wood.

Back at the Obs and a few small parties of hirundine passed over with several Swallows and 2 House Martins. Here there was a Willow Warbler singing in the garden and also another Greenfinch.

Here are few images from today including record shots of the Ring Ouzel and Mistle Thrush.

A record shot of the male Ring Ouzel in the horse field just west of the Crown Estate Fields.
Also my first Mistle Thrush here as well. A scarce visitor to the island.
Still a few Fieldfare about.
A pair maybe. Certainly a difference in colouration
And tagging along with the Fieldfare a few Redwings. This one perched in Culverwell.
A Chiffchaff
And a rear view of a Willow Warbler.
There were a pair of Black Redstarts in the Hut Fields. This is the female.
And here is a female Bullfinch tucking into a few buds.
A Goldfinch in the Obs garden with some nesting material.
And finally a Peacock butterfly with bee sp. behind.
Birds Recorded: 1 Gannet, 14 Common Scoter, 1 Sparrowhawk, Buzzard, Kestrel, Pheasant, Oystercatcher, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Stock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Skylark, 2 House Martin, 7 Swallow, Meadow Pipit, Dunnock, Robin, 3 Stonechat, 2 Black Redstart, Blackbird, 1 Ring Ouzel, 5 Fieldfare, 7 Redwing, 1 Song Thrush, 1 Mistle Thrush, 15+ Chiffchaff, 3 Willow Warbler, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Magpie, Rook, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, 1 Raven, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Linnet, Goldfinch, 4 Greenfinch and 2 Bullfinch.

Also 1 Peacock Butterfly
Categories: Blogs, Timeline, Twitter

11 Apr 18

Wed, 04/11/2018 - 17:08
Pennsylvania Castle Wood, Church Ope Cove, Penn's Weare and Rufus Castle

Certainly the warmest day this Spring and T-shirt weather. Its been a long time coming.

In Pennsylvania Castle Wood my first 10-spot Ladybird (Adalia decempunctata). A very small ladybird approximately 4mm in length.

Main highlights though were several Chiffchaffs at St Andrew's Church, Church Ope Cove, Penn's Weare and my first one singing by Portland Museum. Also a Blackcap with a sub-song in the grounds of St Andrews Church where there were 3 Wall Lizards, Peacock and Comma butterflies.

A lot of holidaymakers on the beach at Church Ope Cove, but on the south facing bank more Chiffchaffs and Peacock butterflies.

Along Penn's Weare both Blackbird and Robin singing. Also here more Peacock butterflies with several males trying to woo females in at least 3 groups. Also here a Dark-edged Bee-fly, Bombylius major, my first on the island, Marmalade Hoverfly and the hoverfly Syrphus torvus. Along the cliff face a pair of Swallows were making their way north. Also here several Fulmars.

A few images from this afternoon:

One of the few Chiffchaffs in the grounds of St Andrew's Church
In flight, shame about the twig across its eye.
and another flight shot.
A Peregrine overhead.
One of the 3 Wall Lizards in the grounds of St Andrew's Church.
I must have seen over 15 Peacock butterflies. This was the only one to land for a photo.
In Pennsylvania Castle Wood I found this 10-spot Ladybird (Adalia decempunctata)........
.........a really small ladybird........
..........approximately 4mm in length. 
 Dark-edged Bee-fly, Bombylius major found along Penn's Weare. More on bee-flies Here.
If I've got this right this is an Ivy-leaved Toadflax (Cymbalaria muralis)
Birds Recorded: Fulmar, 1 Gannet, Sparrowhawk, 1 Peregrine Falcon, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Wood Pigeon, 2 Swallows, Meadow Pipit, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, 1 Blackcap, 8 Chiffchaff, Long-tailed Tit, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Linnet and Goldfinch.

Also seen: 3 Wall Lizards, 15+ Peacock butterflies, 1 Comma, Honey Bees, White-tailed Bumblebees, Red-tailed Cuckoo-bee, Common Drone FlyMarmalade Hoverfly, hoverfly Syrphus torvus, 10-spot Ladybird (Adalia decempunctata) and a Dark-edged Bee-fly (Bombylius major). The latter two being firsts for me on the island.
Categories: Blogs, Timeline, Twitter

10 Apr 18

Tue, 04/10/2018 - 17:09

Work has started on the new housing estate behind the cottage, well actually it started yesterday, not that you could see anything in the dense fog. Yesterday Bumpers Lane was closed off to the Portland Stone lorries and despite a few lorries turning off Wakeham into Bumpers, all the drivers got the "message" that access is only possible via The Grove. That's going to go down well with the residence in Easton.

Back to today and the fog lingered for most of the morning, and apart from a brief sunny interlude it was back to grey skies late afternoon. On the feeders were 3 Goldfinches, 2 Great Tits, a Chaffinch and a Blue Tit sporting a metal ring on its leg.

Overhead the gulls were noisy at times during the day, but despite sticking my head out in the hope of seeing a "Osprey" or any raptor, there didn't appear to be anything about. Just Herring Gulls being Herring Gulls!!

Only real highlight today was a Lesser Redpoll passing overhead, my first for the year.

Two Goldfinches on the feeders..........
.........a third on another........
.......and a Blue Tit sporting a ring on its leg.
Categories: Blogs, Timeline, Twitter

9 Apr 18

Mon, 04/09/2018 - 16:29

This afternoon, a single Swallow along Chesil Beach. I'm amazed it could see where it was flying.

A great day for birding - Not

This is what we've had all day.

Spot the bird!!!
Categories: Blogs, Timeline, Twitter

8 Apr 18

Sun, 04/08/2018 - 16:38

For the third day running a Long-tailed Tit has visited the feeders in the back garden. Also about Great Tit, 2 Blue Tits, House Sparrows, Chaffinch and a pair of Collared Doves.

House Sparrow and Blue Tit
A pair of House Sparrows and a Great Tit
Long-tailed Tit
For the third day running a Long-tailed Tit has been visiting the feeders in the back garden.
Easy to tell these two Collared Doves apart as the male puffs out his chest.
Categories: Blogs, Timeline, Twitter

7 Apr 18

Sat, 04/07/2018 - 18:41

Another visit to the boatyard this afternoon and local birds were: Red-breasted Merganser, Sandwich Terns and a Meadow Pipit in the yard.

This afternoon the female Blackcap returned to the feeders.

This female Blackcap shows absolutely no sign of moving on.
And she was pretty vocal warning off other birds from coming onto the feeder.
I'm amazed that we are now a week into April, yet the female Blackcap is still visiting the feeders in the back garden.
This morning the first bird I saw on the feeders was a Long-tailed Tit tucking into the suet pellets. Great to see them in the garden.

Also about Great Tit, Blue Tit, Chaffinch and 4 pairs of House Sparrows.
Categories: Blogs, Timeline, Twitter

6 Apr 18

Fri, 04/06/2018 - 16:39

A Chiffchaff in the back garden this morning was a first here for Spring and the female Blackcap was back on the suet pellets first thing. A few White-tailed Bumblebees about as the sun came out this afternoon.

Note: On 3 Apr Here, I noted that there were a few Chiffchaffs in the grounds of St Andrew's Church with dark patches on their foreheads. Thank you to Edmund Mackrill for pointing out that these are known in the birding world as a Pollen ‘horn’ and most likely to have been pollen grains collected in warmer climes. In fact up to 20 pollen types have been identified such as Eucalyptus, Citrus etc. More here on Pollen "horns"
Categories: Blogs, Timeline, Twitter

5 Apr 18

Thu, 04/05/2018 - 17:06

Another day painting the boat in the yard and another really good distraction, this time 8 hirundines flying north which consisted of 4 Swallows, 2 Sand Martins and 2 House Martins. Nothing like getting 3 first for year ticks in one swoop.

Also about 27 Red-breasted Mergansers (still here, I would have thought they would have moved on by now), 2 Sandwich Terns and several Meadow Pipits on passage with 2 singing close-by.

For the second day though I missed an Osprey flying north. Yesterday and today single birds flew over, after I had left the yard. Third time lucky maybe!!

Red-breasted Merganser
A Sandwich Tern prepares to dive upon an unsuspecting fish.
Categories: Blogs, Timeline, Twitter

4 Apr 18

Wed, 04/04/2018 - 18:58

I had a busy afternoon sanding the hull on our boat prior to having it anti-fouled tomorrow, so it was nice to have a welcome distraction when a party of 10 Sandwich Terns came into feed in Small Cove as the water poured out of The Fleet around 3:24pm.

That number increased to at least 25 around 4:55pm, but when I left at a 5:30pm apart from 4 birds the remainder had moved further into Portland Harbour.

Here are few images of the Sandwich Terns including one with a fish, plus a shot of an adult Cormorant.

Categories: Blogs, Timeline, Twitter

3 Apr 18

Tue, 04/03/2018 - 18:20
Penn's Weare, Rufus Castle, St Andrew's Church and Pennsylvania Castle Wood

A very late afternoon walk and I really wasn't expecting to see anything of note, but I was very wrong as I came across 6 Chiffchaffs and a Blackcap in the grounds of St Andrew's Church and Pennsylvania Castle Wood. The male Blackcap disappeared very quickly as I came into the grounds, but the Chiffchaffs seemed to be oblivious to my presence and were busy feeding on insects around me. There was an amazing contrast in colours 4 birds had a darkish foreheads, 1 bird was uniformly dark and a 6th bird was very light and green.

As I passed through the archway I noticed a bird land behind me and as I turned there was a Robin with nesting material.

Here are a few images:

There is a Chiffchaff in there, in fact there were 6. The only one showing in this photo is centre left.
Here's another.........
.....and another...........
..........and another. I've not noticed it before but there were at least 4 birds with a distinct black forehead.
I just caught this Robin in the corner of my eye as it landed on a log with a beak-full of leaves.
Even Great Black-backed Gulls fall out!!
And some Primroses out in flower.
Birds Recorded: 1 Gannet, Herring Gull, 2 Great Black-backed Gull, Wood Pigeon, 2 Meadow Pipit, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, 1 male Blackcap, 6 Chiffchaff, 2 Goldcrest, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch and Goldfinch.
Categories: Blogs, Timeline, Twitter

2 Apr 18

Mon, 04/02/2018 - 12:54

Having not seen any Blackcaps yesterday I was really surprised to see both the male and female on the feeders this morning. These two have been over-wintering on and off in the back garden since the end of January and despite it being Spring, don't seem to be in any hurry to move onto their breeding grounds. Maybe they plan on staying in Wakeham for the Summer!

Other birds on the feeders were 2 pairs of House Sparrows, 2 Great Tits and a Blue Tit. Also recorded were a pair of Carrion Crows in the Sycamore at the back of the neighbours garden, Goldfinches, Wood Pigeons, several Meadow Pipits moving north and a Pied Wagtail calling from the building site at the rear of the garden. Well it will be when Betterment's start work there tomorrow.

The over-wintering female Blackcap comes into land...........
.....and shows no......
........signs of moving on ....

......or this male despite it being milder......

...... and well into Spring.

A new arrival a second female, that's a pair of House Sparrows now.
A Great Tit on the sunflower seeds.
and another on the suet pellets.
A Carrion Crow looks quite imposing from the neighbour's Sycamore tree.....
...and his mate (or is that the other way round).....
.....and here's probably why they are on the look out as a new cat arrives on the block!!!
Categories: Blogs, Timeline, Twitter

1 Apr 18

Sun, 04/01/2018 - 11:07

A dry start to the day and my first Large White butterfly of the year flying around the back garden. No sign of the female Blackcap, but on the feeders this morning 1 female and 2 male House Sparrows, a female Chaffinch, 2 Blue Tits, 3 Great Tits including the pale individual from a couple of days ago.
Categories: Blogs, Timeline, Twitter

31 Mar 18

Sat, 03/31/2018 - 17:32
Barleycrates Lane, Weston Quarry, Reap Lane and Avalanche Road

There had been a report of 2 Ring Ouzels at Barleycrates Lane this morning , so after working on the boat at Ferrybridge (where incidentally I had my first Sandwich Tern of the year), I headed off back to the island to have a look.

As normal when I got there, there was no sign of them so I carried on past Weston Quarry to the cliff top where there were a pair of Ravens, a Kestrel and a Peregrine.

I headed south and after 400 metres or so I walked back towards Reap Lane where there a couple of Meadow Pipits in the horse paddock.

Along Avalanche Road I crossed over and in the horse paddocks there were 3 Wheatears.

Here are a few images from this afternoon:
A Peregrine folds its wing and then seconds later goes into a dive along the west cliffs.
Meanwhile a Kestrel hovers for its meal.
Most of the fields are flooded on the island and these Herring Gulls make the most of one for a good wash-up.
A rare sight in most of the UK, especially London, but the House Sparrows on Portland are doing very well.
A Hedge Sparrow or more commonly know as a Dunnock. Not a member of the Sparrow family but an accentor.
One of the 3 Wheatears in the paddocks along Avalanche Road. This is a male, the other two were females.
Birds recorded: 1 Peregrine Falcon, 1 Kestrel, Pheasant, 30 Herring Gull, Wood Pigeon, 2 Meadow Pipit, 3 Dunnock, 3 Wheatear, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, 2 Raven, 40+ Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Goldfinch and Greenfinch.
The female Blackcap was back on the feeders this morning.

Ships Today
This the Portuguese general cargo vessel the Breb Courageous on its way into Portland Harbour from Casablanca, Morocco. More on this vessel Here.
This the Maltese roll-on roll-off cargo vessel the Opaline on its from Rozenburg, Holland to Dublin. More on this ship Here.
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