I am currently taking a slight break from uni studies, making use of a ‘reading week’ by joining a Next Generation Birders trip to Portland Bird Observatory, in Dorset. I travelled up by train on Wednesday, and have joined fellow young birders Josie Hewitt, Billy Stockwell, Sorrell Lyall and Ephraim Perfect for a few days of birding, ringing, photography and moth trapping. It has been a brilliant few days, with so many things to look at, and plenty of good birds. I will be producing a detailed few blog posts on the trip, but for now here are a few highlights:
Portland Bird observatory is set up in Portland lower light, where we are staying for our trip to this lovely island. A small flock of Linnets are picture here flying past in the morning
This stunning Pallas’s Warbler (aka ‘seven-striped sprite’) was found in the quarry opposite the pumping station in Southwell on Wednesday, and so it was cool to catch up with this very nice eastern specialty. A good start to the trip!
I was very lucky to find this smart Little Bunting this afternoon, when it dropped down in front of me with its characteristic ‘tick – tick’ call. I spent a minute or two watching the bird, perched atop a hogweed, before the eberizia flew off northward. There was no sign during the rest of the afternoon
We have been enjoying great views of Short-eared, Barn and Little Owls every day, with the former two hunting around the top fields around dusk
Goldcrests and Firecrests have featured really well, with good numbers of both present around the bill every day at the moment. We have ringed over 10 new Firecrests so far
It has been a delight to watch the amazing Kestrels that populate Portland, with an incredible density occupying the areas of rank grassland. It makes for some great photographic opportunities