Thursday, October 13, 2011

Portland and "The autumn that never was"

Four straight visits to Portland from 13th - 16th proved to be a rather frustrating experience.
First day probably one of the worst experiences. Had done a fair bit of kicking around the top fields a few Redpoll and Brambling over + Snipe and a Woodlark. I had just sat down for a few minutes when I heard this rather short sharp call. Couldnt really place it straight away but then a pipit flew past but as the call didnt seem that Pipit like really, I thought it wasnt the source of the noise but then to my amazement there were more calls which followed the bird! Shit I thought, this has to be a Pechora!
I sprinted after the bird which did go down. A few phonecalls and lots of searching however produced nothing.

Later did have a flock of 8 Wood Lark which came in from the southwest and landed in Helens Field
Completely shite photos of some of the Wood Larks ( the top two are taken from the same photo as bottom left and so are even more out of focus!)

The next flutter of excitement came the next day when a local birder with a couple of friends flushed a Locustella with a "whirring flight and seemingly shortish tail" On arrival a few more of us saw the bird in flight also and it did look very interesting indeed.
A net was set up and after a couple of near misses the bird finally hit the net. Martin quickly sprinted over to it (never seen him move so fast before!)
We waited in eager anticipation but alas it was only a Gropper

The 15th started with 5 Eider past the Bill and a few more Redpolls and Reed Buntings over

Went to Avalanche road hump which was very quiet. Most interesting things there were a load of Harlequin Ladybirds

There was another small rush when another local birder had seen an odd bird, the description kind of changed about a bit but it was "noticably bigger than a nearby Blackcap, sort of straw coloured with white outer tail feathers"! We didnt have a clue what he saw but it sounded pretty interesting. Anyway despite searching nothing was seen. Not sure what is happening to the text by the way, cant seem to change it.

A couple of local herberts looking for the mystery bird

The last rush was when the pagers alerted us to a Short-toed Eagle that was seen heading east from Exmouth. This turned into panic when the next message said that it was heading east from Lyme Regis! I didnt really know where to try and get to but plumped for West Bexington where I met JD and Dave Foot who had been there all the time and had not seen it come their way.
After another hour of waiting we finally had to admit defeat

16th. A fair few Short-eared Owls about. In a walk along the east cliffs then back through top fields saw at least 6 birds with at least 2 leaving out to sea

Juv Merlin past

Local Kestrel

Rather tatty Small Tortoiseshell