Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Castles and Palaces

A tale of two castles today - Durlston and Portland - and two Palaces - or should I say Pallas's. Pallas's Warbler that is, a delightful, rare beast from the east which brightens up late autumn birding in Britain. The day started with a report of one at Durlston, so I headed there unshaven and breathless in the hope of catching up with it. Walking slowly up the hedgerow it was seen in, I was joined by finder Warren Clayton who re-found it after a short while. I grabbed some photos, we watched it for less than a minute, heard it call a few times and then it was gone. A good start to the day.
Pallas's Warbler, Durlston (#232)
A sliver of the lemon yellow rump can be seen here as it drops onto a lower branch

Out of focus unfortunately but included just to show the bright yellow rump
Red Admiral enjoying the sunshine
A big twitch, Purbeck style - Hamish, former head ranger at Durlston, Warren, finder of the Pallas's, and Gryllo, who has been ringing Goldcrests in huge numbers all week at the Country Park
The rest of the family fancied a trip to the Weymouth Sealife Centre this afternoon to make the most of their annual passes. Due to a tragic procurement oversight, I don't have one, so was 'forced' to stay outside and do a bit of birding in the local area. I headed to the second castle of the day, Portland Castle, where my English Heritage membership card gives me free entry to the gardens which serve as an excellent migrant trap at the base of the Isle of Portland.
This Redstart caused a bit of a stir yesterday when it was thought to be a possible Ehrenberg's from Turkey and the Caucasus
This picture shows the pale wing panel which set pulses racing before the bird was resolved to be 'just' a Common Redstart
Still an attractive bird though
A few Black Redstarts were also in the Portland Castle area
Rock Pipit
Just as I was preparing to head back to the Sealife Centre, another Pallas's Warbler was reported at Southwell - in a brief visit, I could do no more than catch a glimpse of a snowy white underside in deep cover. It turned out this was one of a small influx of the Asian migrant into Dorset today with at least four birds seen.
HMS Somerset entering Portland Harbour with the Osmington White Horse in the background

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