Sunday, May 1, 2016

Portland Bill - Day 1

Getting away for the Bank Holiday weekend, we headed to Weymouth and as luck would have it, a Kentish Plover turned up at Ferrybridge and showed well from The Fleet for most of the morning.

A bit of luck and a nice way to start the weekend.  There were over 100 summer plumaged Dunlin present there, a single Whimbrel, two Sanderling, plenty of Ringed Plover, and around a dozen Little Tern.

Heading over to the Bill brought back some happy memories of my first birding trip away from local environs back on the 25th April 1992.  An RSPB trip organised by the Watford group with a shy teenager modestly equipped with a packed-lunch and a cheap pair of Tasco binoculars.  I remember it well.

It was a day that transformed my view of the natural world into a new dimension, bringing to life the birds that I had for years been fascinated by etched in black and white within my father's old Julian Huxley authored bird guide.  I still have that book.

Walking around the Bill, I felt like a teenager again, much time has passed but the natural world remains a comforting constant.

It was a cold day, the 1st of May and we were still wrapped up in coats, scarves, and gloves.

A few Northern Wheatear were present within the set-aside just north of the beach huts and a Little Owl sat on a ledge within the quarry close to the observatory.

Pulses of Swallow were passing through the Bill on a morning where the sun was shining with the sea providing a shimmering backdrop to the iconic lighthouse.

This first summer male Northern Wheatear was in the company of a resident male Stonechat along West Cliffs.

Here the cliffs can be viewed, with Guillemots and a few Razorbills present along with Cormorant, and Fulmar flying close in to the headland.

Another Stonechat sat along the fenceline further along the path where this brute of a Raven was attracting the attention of the Crows.

The highlight however was an hour sea-watch with a few Manx Shearwater, and Gannet passing by the Bill.  Having first seen five Great Skua reasonably distant, an adult Pomarine Skua then came into the view, a little closer in than the Bonxies as it continued its easterly passage.  A real thrill to see this enigmatic bird.  Shortly after, an Arctic Skua passed by.

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