Saturday, 13 March 2010

Puffins @ Portland Bill

With no time restrictions on the 'bus pass' at week-ends and Puffin best seen early morning at Portland Bill, it was the first bus for me this morning. Under an overcast sky and again little wind, there was going to be no problems with glare or wind blown watering eyes so all it needed was for the birds to show. Up to c3 have been in the area for the past few days so prospects were good. Bumping into a couple of fellow birders, they decided to continue their walk as we reached Pulpit Rock where my patience paid dividends as c2 Puffins flew in from the south to settle on the sea under the west cliff. Numbers of Puffin on Portland rarely reach half a dozen, though there are some records of successful breeding but looking at the 'distribution map' (which applies to the mid-year period only, as most disperse into the Atlantic Ocean during the winter months) we are very lucky to have them at all.

The remainder of the day was a fairly quiet affair all round, with even the Bird Observatory having only noted a few Red-throated Divers, Meadow Pipits and Pied Wagtails but there was a little redress just before I caught the bus home. Last Sunday's walk from Langton Herring village to the Fleet fore-shore to see the Bufflehead had resulted in the sighting of no Pheasants, something I would have considered virtually impossible. By the same token, it was only a very short time ago you would almost have to send a description to the County Recorder if you saw one on Portland. It would seem the tables are turned as a male bird was in the Eight King's Quarry field as I walked up from the east cliff, and entered the log as the second 'year tick' of the day.

Pheasant (male)

Migrants still remain 'thin on the ground' but a few Meadow Pipits have made the effort.

While Rock Pipits are actively pairing up close to the rocky shores at the Bill.

The ever present Common Kestrel.

Year List now stands at - 102

Indication of the weather today as Weymouth Skipper Dave Gibson takes an early party of charter anglers out in Lady Godiva this morning.

Another view of Portland, looking north along the East Cliff towards Cheyne House. I love this spot!