The Portland Naturalist

The Portland Naturalist

Saturday, 7 September 2013

A bird that Orto be in Africa


This was the first of my three days working in Bridport, which was a bit of a pain, but I thought it would be a great opportunity to check Ferrybridge every morning, seeing as there was a Semipalmated Sandpiper about, and the site's usual visitors (Debby and Pete) are away.

Frustratingly however, the high tide was coinciding with the time I'd be passing in the morning, so stopping there would be pointless.  On the up side, whilst walking around Bridport, I saw and heard birds that I'd been missing on Portland.  Coal Tit, Goldcrest, Long-tailed Tit, and Treecreeper to be precise.

When I finally finished work, as the tide was now low, I thought there might be some mileage in checking Ferrybridge anyway on my way home, despite the usual holidaymaker flushers.

There were the usual pair of Bar-tailed Godwit present, plus a couple of Little Stint, though only one showed well.



I wasn't planning on any birding this afternoon, as I was absolutely knackered, but then I heard the Ortolan had been seen again down the Bill.  No sign of it where it had last been seen at the Coastwatch (drinking from the pond!), so I went on a wander bout the Bill in the hope of bumping into it.  No luck, but it was great to see so many Whinchat about.  I counted 18.

Back at the Obs, just standing on the patio produced 5 Spotted Flycatcher. There had clearly been a substantial fall overnight, but such a shame I couldn't have been here earlier.  It was nice to meet Jonathan Scragg (Vice-chairman of the New Generation Birders group no less!) here, and we had a look through the moth traps.  Nothing of much note, except nice Blood-vein.

And a shiny as ever, Burnished Brass (with Flounced Rustic).

Today was supposed to be a day of no birding, as I worked in Bridport in the morning, then drove back to Aldershot in preparation for my trip to Spurn.
However, with various 'Ortolan showing well' messages appearing, I thought I better give it another go down the Bill.
On arrival at the small crowd, it was feeding unseen in a stubble field, and it apparently hadn't shown for a while.  After some time of waiting, some individuals put in upon themselves to flush it.  Normally I wouldn't condone this, but to be honest I needed to get away, and it was a lifer!
It didn't take long for it to take flight, and after initially flying directly away, it then went right over my head calling quietly.  It came down in the strips below the Higher light, and a short vigil here produced it landing on a distant fence, and my first proper view of an Ortolan Bunting!  It then dropped down onto the path behind, and we eventually got good prolonged views as it fed here.  After a bit of heavy-footedness, it flew again, and went back to it's previous haunt.  Fantastic views were then enjoyed, as it sat on a fence close to the path.  Magic!
I'm now back in Aldershot, and looking forward to a visit to my old patch tomorrow, then off to Spurn on Monday!  Bring it on!

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