Sunday, 7 September 2014

Migration on Portland

Yesterday I ventured out of Somerset for a day of birding on the Isle of Portland, in Dorset. Jutting out into the English Channel, Portland is one of the 'migration hotspots' of this part of country, and the Bird Observatory near The Bill is focal point of birding activity. At this time of year, as breeding birds and their offspring head South for the winter, large numbers can often be seen feeding up before  crossing the channel, and off-course rarities from Europe and further afield are frequently seen.
With light North-easterly winds, and low cloud, conditions were good for grounded birds and I saw a good variety of migrants, mostly common species like Whitethroats, Willow Warblers and Blackcaps, but also a few less common like Redstart, Pied Flycatcher, Whinchat, Tree Pipit Yellow Wagtail.

While checking the small quarry adjacent to the observatory I found a Nightingale skulking around the bushes, not a bird that gets seen on Portland very often. It stayed in the quarry for the rest of the day, giving frustratingly brief views to those who waited long enough.

Best bird of the day was an Ortolan Bunting which flew over my head as I walked back through the Top Fields towards my car, I had been hoping for one of these all day and finally scored right at the very last minute! 

Ortolan Bunting




Willow Warbler

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