Monday, 18 April 2016

Migrants bremain on Portland

Hoping to see some migrant birds this weekend I weighed up the choice between flogging around what, for reasons of chronic neglect, I hesitate to call 'the patch', or heading to the sun-kissed heights of Portland. In the end I surprised myself by managing a bit of both thanks to a late evening walk around Swineham on Saturday and a day unusually free of other commitments on Sunday.

Predictably, Sunday on Portland was the more productive for both common and rarer migrant birds, though Swineham certainly held its end up, bless it, with a monster flock of hirundines, a few Willow Warblers and a couple of Sedge Warblers - not to mention a glorious sunset. I will return to those in a later post, and for now focus on the minor rarities which enlivened the visit to Portland - continental overshoots and a timely reminder that, whether you are thinking of voting for 'Brexit' or to 'Bremain', nature knows no boundaries.
Hoopoe - this long-staying bird at Suckthumb Quarry achieved celebrity in the local paper
It fed voraciously in front of an orderly line of photographers, perhaps finding them barely perceptible in their camouflage jackets lying against the white surface of the quarry floor
A more conventional view of the Hoopoe in profile - a very popular subject with birders, photographers and passing residents alike - and who can blame them
The Hoopoe is notoriously insecure - despite its great beauty it still tries too hard to look like a Peacock
The Hoopoe's grasp of the principles of 'hide and seek' is also a slim one
But if you've got it, flaunt it, I say
Another successful feeding foray - looks like a leatherjacket
A male Western Subalpine Warbler on the East Cliffs lacked the Hoopoe's exhibitionist tendencies
Its feeding habit of carefully picking insects from the Alexanders meant that it was often out of sight
Up there with the Hoopoe for its striking appearance was this White-spotted Bluethroat
It was feeding Wheatear-style in a ploughed field a short walk from the Subalpine Warbler

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