Saturday, 9 May 2015

Another Anthus

Well I almost jinxed myself, predicting that my luck would run out this weekend. And so it appeared after I managed to spend all but 20 minutes of a 4 hour stint on Portland at the Bill this morning, only to find that a flock of 10 Pom Skuas chose that slot to cruise past the famous obelisk. I was already heading home to take it out on the guinea pigs, having reached the outskirts of Weymouth, when a phone call from Steve Smith brought news of a Portland Bird Obs tweet reporting a Tawny Pipit back at the Bill. Good job too, as I was able to turn tail and tick it, just 5 minutes before it was lost to view. It took 15 minutes for the same news to be relayed by pager, so had I had to wait for that I would almost certainly have missed out on a new bird for my Dorset list.

So, my 4th rare pipit for 2015, following Blyth's, Richard's and Red-throated. Meadow, Rock and Tree are all in the bag, and with, in approximate order of likelihood, Water, Olive-backed, Buff-bellied and Pechora all possible, a 10 or even an 11 pipit species year could be on, if only in my dreams! During the earlier seawatch, Pom-gate notwithstanding, some decent sightings and terrible photos were assembled to keep the photo yearlist ticking over. Pictures below: be warned, they start off poor and get worse. But all identifiable!
Kittiwake - several small flocks passed the Bill this morning (#170)
Majestic Gannets maintained interest during the seawatch (#171)
A single Puffin drifted past Pulpit Rock then flew back past me (#172)
Great Northern Diver - one of two west past the Bill this morning (#173)
Bonxie - the first of two (#174)
Arctic Skua - one of two dark phase birds seen (#175)
Small flocks of Manx Shearwater were on the move (#176)
The Tawny Pipit was distant in a heat haze but scope views were good (#177)
A large, pale pipit with plain upperparts and unmarked underparts

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