Sat 3rd May 2014
A days birding with Paul and once again no real "target bird". We decided to head for Portland Bill and as luck would have it this turned out to be a very good choice. As is often the case we decided to keep a "day list". Out target for the day was 75 species.
Our first stop was Ferrybridge. On arrival we thought we could see a Little Tern from the car. After parking up and making our way to the visitors centre, we soon connected with a Little Tern as it fished quite close to us and then a few others were seen more distantly. Sandwich Tern, Wheatear (3), Bar-tailed Godwit (3), White Wagtail, Dunlin (6), Sand Martin were the other noteworthy birds here.
Up the road to Portland Harbour and not much doing here just, Oystercatcher, Common Tern, Great Black -backed Gull, Great Crested Grebe.
On to the Bill. Several Wheatear were seen on our walk to Pulpit Rock for a spot of seawatching. Very little moving on the sea just the usual Auks and few Gannet. A Rock Pipit displayed in front of us, a Raven dropped into the m.o.d. compound and we also had some nice views of Fulmar. Swallows were the order of the day here as a steady stream arrived in off the sea. We spent well over an hour here and then decided to walk along the cliff top towards the top fields. A pair of Stonechat were noted and several more Wheatear could also be seen also my first Swifts of the year. Phone reception is not good at Portland so I was surprised when my phone rang. This alerted Paul to the fact that he could check his rba app to see if anything good had been reported locally. Bingo! The Eastern Subalpine Warbler that was missing on Friday had been re-found. We did our best "ministry of twitchy walks" to the top fields and soon connected with the Eastern Subalpine Warbler. Funnily enough this is my second Eastern Subalpine Warbler as I saw one at Landguard on 27th April 2013. We spent some time admiring the bird as it fed in the hedgerow on the opposite side of the field, often stopping to sunbathe and have a bit of a preen. After a while it seem to hop over to the far side of the hedgerow. We waited for quite a while but it did not return. We decided to see if it could be seen seen from the lanes and also had in mind we could look for any possible migrants. This idea proved to be a good one as we found a female Redstart. Not much else along the lanes and with our car park ticket soon to expire we headed back to the car park. As we passed the field where the Eastern Subalpine Warbler had been showing it was on view again so we had another look before continuing to the car. Where did the last 4 and half hours go?
A break for a sandwich and a drink or in Pauls case Doritos and Chocolate! We had planned to walk Barleycrates Lane but kicked that idea into to touch and headed for Acre's Down in the New Forest.
First of all we did a long circuit around a track that leads away from the lower end of the car park. The best birds seen on the circuit were; Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Cuckoo , Tree Pipit (displaying), Crossbill (flock c 20), Siskin, Treecreeper, Willow Warbler, Redstart (pair). As we neared the end of our circuit we thought we heard a Wood Warbler singing so we speeded up a bit and sure enough we could hear Wood Warbler giving it's "spinning coin" song some welly! It wasn't long before we connected with the bird as it showed well in some Silver Birch. Nice! Just the tonic for our aching legs. Back to the car for a drink and as it was getting late, should we call it a day or head up to the top of Acre's Down to look for Woodlark? We decided to give the Woodlark a go and were rewarded when at least 3 birds showed really well. A nice end to the day.
Our "day list".
On route; Wood Pigeon, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Rook, Buzzard, Lapwing, Greylag Goose, Jackdaw, Starling, Blackbird, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Robin, Grey Heron, Black-headed Gull, Swallow, Pied Wagtail, Pheasant, Blue Tit, Herring Gull, Mute Swan, Coot. 22
Ferrybridge; Shelduck, Little Tern, Meadow Pipit, White Wagtail, Sand Martin, Skylark, Wheatear, Dunlin, Bar-tailed Godwit, Lesser black-backed Gull, Sandwich Tern, Cormorant. 34
Portland Harbour; Goldfinch, Oystercatcher, Great-crested Grebe, Common Tern, Great black-Backed Gull. 39
Portland Bill; Kestrel, Raven, Rock Pipit, Razorbill, Guillemot, Gannet, Linnet, Shag, Fulmar, Redstart, Swift, House Martin, Eastern Subalpine Warbler, Chiffchaff, House Sparrow, Stonechat, Whitethroat, Dunnock. 57
On route to Acre's Down; Mallard, Canada Goose. 59
Acre's Down; Collared Dove, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, Cuckoo, Tree Pipit, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Wren, Long-tailed Tit, Coal Tit, Crossbill, Siskin, Goldcrest, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Willow Warbler, Wood Warbler, Woodlark. Total for the day 76
Paul's pics below; Little Tern, Wheatear at Ferrybridge. Raven, Redstart, Portland. Wood Warbler, Woodlark, Acre's Down. Finally my Cuckoo pics at Acre's Down.