Thursday 11 May 2017

Must fly, can't chat

The day before my recent emergency excursion to Portland to see a Spectacled Warbler, I was on Portland shortly after dawn looking for commoner migrants - flycatchers, chats and warblers. Photographing a migrant male Pied Flycatcher well in Dorset has been a long-held ambition - and so it remains as I didn't see one on Sunday. But I did find a female in the Reap Lane area, alongside a couple of Spotted Flycatchers. Another Spotted Flycatcher was just around the corner at Avalanche Road, all entertaining and confiding birds to watch.
Pied Flycatcher, Reap Lane
Pied Flycatcher, Reap Lane
Pied Flycatcher, Reap Lane
Pied Flycatcher, Reap Lane
Spotted Flycatcher, Avalanche Road Hump
Spotted Flycatcher, Avalanche Road Hump
Spotted Flycatcher, Reap Lane
Before the flies, and therefore the flycatchers, had woken up, I had ambled up Barleycrates Lane where Whinchat was the early bird of the day - a couple of this attractive species were present. The Whinchats were matched for perkiness as the morning warmed up by a duo of male Redstarts which played their own version of duelling banjos, singing at each other across a Portland paddock.
Backlit Whinchat on Barleycrates Lane
Whinchat, Barleycrates Lane - from the exact spot I saw the Northern Harrier on 21 April 2014, in case I hadn't mentioned it previously...

Whinchat is always a delightful bird to see
Invariably sitting up to give good views

Male Redstart, Reap Lane
Male Redstart singing on Reap Lane
Willow Warblers were still passing through this weekend - this one at Reap Lane
It shouldn't be a surprise that a series of early morning visits to Portland in recent weeks have proven so rewarding for migrant birds, but what was a surprise was the apparent lack of birders I encountered around the middle of the island. I'm not complaining, or indeed criticising - I display borderline criminal neglect towards my own patch at Swineham, after all - but let's face it, there is a bit more incentive to get out on a spring morning if you live on Portland!
Whinchats on Barleycrates Lane


  1. Loved that last picture purely for the aesthetics
    Keep blogging

    1. Thanks Bill, it's been a bit erratic lately!