Sunday, 21 November 2010

It's An Ill Wind

The signs of some movement of birds this morning were good, even under the cover of darkness. From my back garden there was a Robin already in full song, but more importantly what seemed like good numbers of Redwing flying over given away by their continuous thin, wispy location calls. The cemetery gate was still some way off when I saw the first of these, c6 flying north, then closely followed by a large flock that must have been around the 100 mark.

Once again I opted for the early bus directly to the top of Portland, but on the way it was noted that the Brent Geese at Ferrybridge were reduced by 50% on yesterdays estimate. Deciding to retrace my steps, even if only to photograph the huge depression that is the

Perryfield Quarry

making for a dramatic, even lunar-like, landscape. There was little of note on the way, but soon found I had company searching to relocate yesterdays Pallas's Warbler, without success. In fact by comparison there were very few birds at all, except another Firecrest and a couple of Chiffchaff. Taking a diversion via Wakeham, there was a tree with no fewer than

c29 Collared Doves plus a further c3 close by. In days gone by this would have been normal fare, but as numbers seem to have dropped dramatically this count was noteworthy.

Collared Dove

A little further down the road my attention was drawn to a small flock of Long-tailed Tit, foraging the hedgerow, in company with a second Firecrest.

A report from fellow birder Graham Walbridge of a Woodcock at the hump had me scampering in that direction, but soon pulled up short at the sound of a strange bird-call overhead. Looking up I saw a pair of

Snow Buntings, not at all a common sight in the Island.

The first time I ever saw one of these nifty little birds was on 23rd January 1974 when I thought I had found one in the Admiralty Compound at Portland Bill. With that I raced to the Observatory to report my find to the then Warden Ian Robertson, who told me it had been there for about 2 weeks, blast! These 2 photos are from the archives.

A small stand of Fungi on the way, there was no sign of the Woodcock, but I did turn up a Great Spotted Woodpecker and c5 Brambling on the way. It was now time to head for the Bill where, in transit, there was a single Common Scoter, c2 Raven, a few Gannets and Auks while at the tip of the Island this

lone Turnstone, and a few feet away a

single Purple Sandpiper.

The weather had been a little more chilly today and the wind, in the east at first, did 'back' slightly to the north as the day wore on and became a little more blustery. The forecaster is still predicting much colder weather during this week, so working on the theory "it's an ill wind that doesn't blow somebody some good" there may just be a rarity or two?

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