The Portland Naturalist

The Portland Naturalist

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Up with the Lark

Sorry for the rather cheesy title, but I really struggled to come up with one for this post!


The only birding I've really managed on previous days was Tuesday, which was a day off work.

I did my usual walking route zigzagging to the Obs and back via various promising spots.  However, today was not promising for stuff on the ground as it had been a clear night, and the morning was completely clear too.  A little was going on overhead, but there had clearly been a clear-out of things like Blackcap and Chiffchaff.

Nevertheless, the ramble started really well with a nice late Lesser Whitethroat feeding on Elderberries in the garden of the derelict house at the beginning of Barleycrates Lane, then whilst I was watching it, 3 Redwing flew out of the leylandii hedge, calling.  A classic case of summer meets winter.

The rest of the walk to the Bill was largely uneventful, though watching 2 Buzzard and 3 Peregrine interacting was thrilling!

On arrival at the Obs, there were as usual some great moths to look at.  The main highlights were the scarce migrants, and lifers, of a rather worn Dewick's Plusia.

But even rarer, was this Small Marbled.  Here it is by a teaspoon to give you some idea of it's lack of stature!

Among the other top species was this wandering Large Wainscot.

And this fresh Brick.

Although these have been featured before, I did like this formation of fresh Mallow and Black Rustic.
As well as this striking form of the common Lunar Underwing.


Continuing the theme from my last post of spectacular things (other than moths) found around the moth traps, today this solitary wasp Eutanyacra picta was hanging around.  Thanks to Gavin Broad for the ID.

I decided on a slightly different route back to usual, and discovered there had been a real influx of Robin overnight, with many found, some in odd places.  One small area of bushes by Cheyne Weares held three in close proximity.  These bushes also held a single Goldcrest, which is my first on the island this autumn.

I wound my way home via Wakeham and Watery Lane, which held a few more Wheatear than most places, as well as a single Whinchat.


The reason why I've not been out birding much lately, is solely down to working at Bridport, which means I'm not free till gone 2, which is pain.  This may have affected my chances of seeing the Thrush Nightingale that was trapped yesterday, though in truth as it wasn't seen after release, I would have been very lucky to have been in a position to see it.  Anyway, when I heard that a Short-toed Lark had been found this morning, I was understandably pessimistic.

I rushed straight to the Privet Hedge at the Bill this afternoon, to see a single person walking up the path the bird had been on, and no-one else around!

I sauntered up the hill, only to find at the top, that I was faced with the Short-toed Lark on the path!  I rushed to get my scope out of my bag, but as I did so, it flew off, and where it flew to was unseen.  Great. 

Myself and this other bloke had a bit of a walk around, but there was no sign.  I stayed put scanning  the privet paths, while the other chap went off to search elsewhere.  After a while, I looked down the hill to see another birder coming up, only to notice the bird was back on the path between us!  I rushed back up to try and alert the other birder, but he was now off in the distance so it took some time (I can't wolf-whistle!).

I returned to the bird, only to find the other guy walking up the path, almost at the top!  Well, apparently he hadn't seen the bird right in front of him and had flushed it!  Yet again, we were stuck with no bird and not a clue of it's presence, as the Saunders' arrived.  After a while I got a bit bored, and decided to get a different view from the bottom of the hill.

As I got there, I noticed a bird on the path, it was it!  I don't know how it sneaked around like it did without us seeing it so many times! 

Anyway, it went on to show brilliantly, and it came within metres of the observers, as you will see from my video.

Believe it or not, despite about a million being reported, I'm yet to even glimpse a Yellow-browed Warbler.  It's not high on my list of priorities, but it would be pretty poor getting through the autumn without seeing one given this influx!  I'll keep trying. 

Perhaps I'll see one in Norfolk which I'm leaving for on Sunday for a 5 day trip.  On my way via Surrey, I may be able to go for the Two-barred Crossbill that's currently being elusive there in addition.  Fingers crossed!

No comments:

Post a Comment