Sunday, October 31, 2010


Couldnt resist the lure of south easterlies and drizzle today so it was off down to Portland to see if anything had been brought in. Did actually try a bit of vis mig at the Heights first thing as it can be very productive in these winds with birds following the Chesil but there was just too much drizzle in the end. A few Brambling and Redwings were moving inbetween the showers.
The sycamores at North Woods were very sheltered and looked quite promising but only gave up a few Goldcrests so it was off to the Bill.
On the way down got a call from Martin to say that they had just trapped a Pallas's so a quick turn of pace and I was soon there.

Bouyed on by this arrival I made my way to the Wakeham area to check the sycamores. It was whilst in the horse paddock there that I came across a rather broken up tit flock, some were in brambles others in a sycamore but in this bush was something rather small flitting around inside... My 4th self found Pallas's in Dorset

Stopped off at Ferrybridge on way back which was packed with Brents. Some quick scanning revealed 3 Black Brants and 4 Pale-bellied Brents

Brant 1

Brant 2

Brant 3

2 of the 3 ad Pale-bellied Brents

Juv moulting into 1st winter Pale-bellied

I dont think I missed any others but it wasnt long before someone was on the beach and had put the whole lot up.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

More luck at Steart

It can get a bit boring scanning mud for 6 hours at a time but there are the odd occasions when something interesting does come into view. This was one of those occasions. It was the last 30 minute count period of the 12 and what do you know 4 Brent type geese had appeared on the mud. Quite a notable event in itself, but amongst the 4 was a Brant! They were a fair distance out but just close enough to get some record shots through the scope. After quickly getting the shots my attention turned to the other 3 birds. One was clearly a dark-bellied but the other two didnt look right at all. They looked somewhere inbetween and rather at the Black Brant end of the scale. Just as I was trying to sort it out everything was flushed. The birds did settle again, but at about a km out, where they stayed sat on the mud for at least 30 minutes. In the end I had to go. With the help of Dave Chown did manage to contact some locals but the birds had gone by the time the first people arrived. Apparently this is the first Somerset record. Wow!

All 4 birds after being put up. Even at this range you can see a variety of shades going from dull flanks on the left hand bird to more contrasty in the next bird and then the Brant. The bird on the right looked exactly the same as the other contrasty bird

Monday, October 25, 2010

More Glebelands (and some Studland)

A grounded Woodlark today was the pick of the vis mig bunch

Female Black Redstart, first for the autumn

Accidentally flushed the Woodlark

Didnt go too far

Very smart looking Wheatear, this would be one of the annually reported Isabellines if we were on the Scillies. Particularly given the upright stance (also a suggested feature in Greenland Wheatear) and most strikingly the concolorous lesser and median coverts without black centres. Not quite sure why that is, think I can see one there at the bottom but anyway the buff fore eyebrow and rusty cheeks gives the game away. (Unless I have completely f**ked up of course)

Down to Studland Bay to see the latest SunSeeker being put through its paces. Quite an impressive beast and with a new colour scheme

Med Gulls getting pretty tame now

Med hed

This Scoter was very close in indeed, however it was late afternoon and the light was terrible. The sun had gone down so the bird was in shadow but it still managed to make the sea really bright. Not sure how this was done but the upshot was that despite taking about 50 pictures in a wide variety and combination of settings still only managed these shots.

This one has had some Photoshop wizzardry on it and still looks shite!

Migrating Canada Geese! Well actually they are flying from Poole Park to fields at Ballard Down to get shot at, but never mind.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Was trudging out to the mudflats in the drizzle when completely unexpectedly a Yellow-browed Warbler psweeeted! Didnt take too long to find it rather agitatedly jumping around in the tops of the bushes. Didnt have the heavyweight camera though this time so here is picture taken later of the bush it was in.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Glebelands and Winspit

Bit of movement over Glebelands, highlights couple of Ring ouzel, Tree Pipit, 7+Brambling and a couple of Mistle Thrush north. Greenland Wheatear on ridge.

Had a look in at Winspit but it was very quiet indeed.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

More northerlies more Glebelands

Same conditions today with blue sky creating more photographic opportunities.

This Thrush was flying around in circles!

More Goldfinches on the move

Some Ring Ouzels

Two shots of same bird

3 Greenland type Wheatears on top of ridge

Later as I was doing paperwork in the conservatory I was visited by this Jackdaw, it just came down and landed on the door despite there being plenty of other places to perch higher up. It then proceeded to preen, not taking a blind bit of notice of me.

'Jack door'

Monday, October 11, 2010


North easterlies meant it was time to go up to the Glebelands end of Ballard to see what was struggling up the hill. It turned out that there were plenty of birds moving, the most numerous being Goldfinch with 748 in 1 hour.

The good thing about the top of Glebelands is that birds are moving up the hill only a few feet off the ground in some cases allowing photographic opportunities. Below are some of the movers.

This Greenfinch was actually taking off from a tree in the garden but thought may as well stick it in here. Oddly of the 2100+ birds that moved through in the hour, only 11 were Greenfinches