Wednesday, 8 April 2015


The fine forecast for Bank Holiday Monday presented me with a choice: flog around the patch scraping the barrel for migrants; or head for the bright light-houses of Portland and guaranteed new arrivals falling from the skies. It was my last day before returning to work, and I am weak, so I headed west. News soon filtered through of the first decent fall of spring with 400+ Willow Warblers going through early on. While I missed the main event, plenty were still lingering around the Obs garden when I arrived, some singing con gusto, some half-heartedly, others not at all. But with birds seemingly everywhere there was plenty to photograph.
Redstart, Avalanche Road - first of the spring on Portland (#141)
A first summer male
Willow Warbler at the Bill (#142)
One of many ringed at the Obs on Monday morning
Also bearing a leg-iron was this Firecrest (#143)
Feeding energetically but not always very visibly among the blossom
Next stop was the Bill itself where the resident auks were back on their breeding cliffs and buzzing back and forth on fishing forays. No Puffins though, which were probably feeding out at sea on the falling tide, or perhaps just avoiding the attentions of a Peregrine which was perched uncomfortably close to some Razorbills on the cliffs and eating one of their congeners. Walking back to the car I flushed my first Tree Pipit of the year which flew off with a hoarse call.
Guillemot (#144)
Razorbill (#145)
Razorbills trying to look small and unpalatable as a Peregrine plucks one of their pals
Meadow Pipit
As an eventful morning drew to a close, with a family bike ride to Arne planned for mid-afternoon, it was time to head home - but not before a quick canter around Radipole Lake and Lodmoor hoping for some reedbed birds for the photo year list - unsuccessfully as it turned out, but there were a few other goodies to snap to make up for it. Here and elsewhere Spring seemed to announce its arrival conclusively on Monday. And very welcome back it is too.
Well, I was in the area...
...possibly the only angle I haven't yet photographed the Bonaparte's Gull from
Great Crested Grebe, Radipole Lake
Pochard, Lodmoor
Brimstone at Arne
And a leucistic Sika Deer stag at Arne to end the Bank Holiday

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