The Portland Naturalist

The Portland Naturalist

Friday, 5 September 2014

Herculean Effort

Quite a bit to catch up on, as autumn has well and truly made its presence felt.  I'm putting in plenty of time...

A fairly uneventful trip to Ferrybridge on the 26th August was enlivened only by a single Knot... well as the constant presence of a Hercules over West Bay.

On the 27th, I got the shock of opening my curtains in the morning, only to have the Marsh Harrier that had just been reported over Ferrybridge fly right towards me and over the roof!

Later, I was lucky to witness an Osprey hunting on the Fleet right by Ferrybridge.  It didn't catch anything sadly (apart from some seaweed!).

On the same day, a pair of Teal flew around on the Fleet, unusual at this site.  I also came across this Bright-line Brown-eye caterpillar on one of my many mid-island rambles.

The next day saw more action at Ferrybridge, as I twitched a Little Stint, only to have a Purple Sandpiper show up instead!  Very strange to see one feeding with Dunlin on mud.  I was able to see the Stint too in the end.

On the 29th, I got the opportunity to nip the 2 and a bit hours north to Frampton-on-severn, Gloucestershire.  I was working later that day, so couldn't give the fantastic Marsh Sandpiper the attention it deserved.  In the end I had to a bit of a tick-and-run, and I was still late for work!  The bird was at fair distance, but it was great comparing it directly with Greenshank and Ruff.

In the evening of the 1st September I was in Weymouth anyway, so thought I'd pop into the roost event at Radipole.  This was fantastic with huge numbers of Yellow Wagtail and hirundines coming to roost in the reedbeds.

The 2nd had already been decent when I had a flyover Snipe at Suckthumb Quarry.  A nice patch tick.  But, whilst I was attempting another vismig session up at The Verne, I heard some more news from Ferrybridge.  From The Verne, which thanks to the wonders of Google Earth I have found out is 1.8 miles from the Ferrybridge mud, I was able to scope the flock of 5 Avocet!  Aren't scopes wonderful things? 

I did of course decide to go and see them properly, eventually!

The 3rd day of September, and the third wader patch tick, as a Green Sandpiper calls as it flies over Suckthumb Quarry.  Lots of Wheatear around on this morning, but one ended up as lunch, probably at the hands of a Sparrowhawk.

But, was that milky-tea-coloured small warbler I glimpsed a Booted? One that got away.

Yesterday, the only highlight from a lot of walking was a distant large raptor soaring on flat wings.  It drifted off into the murk, and with it went yet another opportunity of a good find.  Will my rarity/scarcity-finding luck ever change?

In the evening I was fortunate enough to be invited to a private ringing session, targeting reedbed-roosting species.  It was a fabulous evening in calm conditions.  Yellow Wagtail and White Wagtail in the hand were real stunners.  I hope I'll be able to learn this tricky skill.

Today was equally calm, and although there were no particularly stunning sightings, all the migrants which were around the island were showing extremely well, even to my delicate photographic set-up (phone and scope - no adapter!).

Spotted Flycatcher:


Tree Pipit:

My final migrant totals for mid-island were 700 Swallow, 300 House Martin, 40 Willow Warbler, 20 Blackcap, 10 Whitethroat, 10 Yellow Wagtail, 5 Sand Martin, 5 Spotted Flycatcher, 4 Redstart, 4 Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Sedge Warbler, 3 Whinchat, 2 Chiffchaff, 2 Tree Pipit, 1 Pied Flycatcher, 1 Swift, 1(!) Wheatear, 1 Ringed Plover, 1 Curlew, and 1 Green Sandpiper.

Back to Surrey tomorrow, and hopefully to get a bit of the Tice's Meadow wader-fest for myself!

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