Wednesday, 17 May 2017


Went down to Cogden Beach(NT car park) to search for the SHORT-TOED LARK reported recently. Walking east towards West Bexington, about 800m no sign of the bird until brief flight views and distant views among the seakale with Linnets, Yellowhammer and 2 Wheatear. Shortly after continuing along the beach with no further sign , we decided to have a small picnic on the beach and see what was moving about on the beach & nearby scrub. Few minutes later I looked up and the Short-toed Lark was right in front of us about 20-25 metres away with several Linnet giving smashing views feeding & walking about. A superb bird & my 1st for the UK.
With light rain drizzle we headed onto Portland where we had excellent views of the 1st summer male GOLDEN ORIOLE present around the Observatory garden & Crown Estate Fields. Though very poor record images obtained as bird remained in centre of fields throughout the evening giving good flight views, some song & eating caterpillars!! So pleased I brought my scope as zoomed in views were superb!! What a day, Short-toed Lark & Golden Oriole!! It even got better when a pod of 6 Bottle-nosed Dolphins passed close off the Bill while seawatching and breached extremely close offshore for about 40mins. The day ended well with a beautiful sunset to the west!!

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Eastern Subalpine Warbler Twitch!!!

Went down to Dawlish this afternoon to see the EASTERN SUBALPINE WARBLER (Sylvia cantillans albistriata) which was giving great views in scrub along track behind main pond near golf course. Arrived 6pm where several other birders were getting good views & song recordings of the Subalp as it sung from a nearby apple tree. The bird showed well at times, briefly in the open, mostly concealed by vegetation until dusk. A cracking bird! My 2nd UK record after seeing one on Skomer few years ago. Great to learn it's unique song, calls and learn its ID features on tail pattern & other plumage characteristics. A superb afternoon's birding with other highlights of 3 Cirl Buntings & 18 Whimbrel.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Portland Obs

Headed down to Portland in search of migrants at the Bill this morning. A quick stop off at RSPB Radipole Lake produced cracking views of 3 Marsh Harriers from the viewing screen. Cetti's, Reed and Sedge Warbler song was in abundance across the reserve. Passage overhead of 100+ Swallow & House Martin & 1st Swift of the year quickly flying north were shortly pursued by a adult Hobby!! With not much else of note, news broke of a 1st summer male Red-footed Falcon showing well at the Top Fields, Portland!! So quickly headed to the Bill, but traffic delays at Weymouth and the bird had departed back out to sea rapidly. Seen 3 Red-footed Falcons in the UK in previous years and always a treat to watch!! Otherwise we had a superb few hours walking across the bill with several Wheatear, 3 Whinchat, 4 Whitethroat , 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Tree Pipit & 1 Yellow Wagtail and few 10 Willow Warbler of note. Large hirundine passage mainly of 50+ Swifts arriving fresh in off the sea. Quick seawatch produced Guillemot, 2 Manx and 5 Gannet off Pulpit rocks. Walking West Cliffs produced great views of a Peregrine and few more Wheatear.
Returning to the Obs garden to depart home clocked up 3 very showy Garden Warblers in the sycamore trees and a Lesser Whitethroat & another Spotted Flycatcher. A superb days birding and looking forward to returning again soon.