Thursday 17th September 2020

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Dorset Birds

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Brent Goose - 2 west past Hengistbury Hd.
Garganey - Hengistbury Hd.
Cattle Egret - 2 Abbotsburry Swannery
Great White Egret - 1 Moors Valley CP, 1 Lytchett Bay, 1 roosting Slepe Heath
Spoonbill - 20 Arne RSPB (Shipstal Pt.)
Curlew Sandpiper - 2 Lytchett Bay, 2 Lodmoor RSPB, 1 Ferrybridge, 1 Abbotsbury Swannery, 1 Rodden Hive, 1 Holloway's Dock Christchurch Hbr.
Little Stint - 1 Ferrybridge
Pectoral Sandpiper - 2 Wareham Meadows on Stilt Pools.
Merlin - 1 Hengistbury Hd.
Hobby - 1 Lytchett Fields RSPB, 1 over Goathorn
Woodlark - 1 Ferrybridge
Sand Martin - 15 Hengistbury Hd
Swallow - 1000 Rodden Hive, 700 Hengistbury Hd, 190 South Haven
House Martin - 4500 Hengistbury Hd, 600 Rodden Hive
Rosy Starling - 1 Weston Portland
Pied Flycatcher - 1 St. Aldhelm's Hd.
Yellow Wagtail - 60 Hengistbury Hd, 22 Wick Fm, 4 Lytchett Fields RSPB
Grey Wagtail - 12 Hengistbury Hd.
Redpoll - 5 Hengistbury Hd.
Siskin - 745 South Haven, 600 Hengistbury Hd
Lapland Bunting - 1 over South Haven Studland

Curlew - Stanpit Marsh © Dave Hill



Kestrel - Stanpit Marsh © Dave Hill

















17th September

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Portland Bird Observatory and Field Centre

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The ripping easterly that sprung up during the hours of darkness precipitated another mass movement of hirundines in the first couple of hours after dawn, when a good 6000 House Martins and 2000 Swallows passed through on a broad front across the island; pretty well everything else that might be expected to be on the move overhead at this time of year also featured although not even the likes of Meadow Pipit got close to approaching the hirundine totals. On the ground, a Rosy Starling discovered at Weston may or may not have been the bird(s) variously reported between Easton and the Bill in the last fortnight. Despite the unhelpful conditions commoner migrants were noticeably more numerous than they have been for a few days; numbers were surely an underestimate but totals of 70 Wheatears and 40 Chiffchaffs at the Bill suggested there'd been a decent overnight arrival. Ferrybridge remained well worth attention, with 6 Black-tailed Godwits, 3 Teal, 3 Knot, a Ruff and the long-staying Little Stint worthwhile additions to the list of more mundane fare. Five Teal also passed by on the sea at the Bill.

Local residents that spoke to birders looking for the Rosy Starling reported that there's been a sandy-coloured Starling visiting gardens and rooftops in the Pound Piece/Haylands area for a few days so it seems possible that today's bird is the same as the one photographed a fortnight ago by a local resident at Easton and, assuming a degree of wanderlust, perhaps even the bird that paid a brief visit to the Bill a few days ago © Duncan Walbridge (top) and Martin Cade (bottom):

Other odds and ends from today included the Little Stint © Mike Trew...


...and Teal, Yellow Wagtail and Peregrine © Pete Saunders:




And another little bit of hirundine action: in far more benign conditions that were experienced today, Swallows were on the move through Ferrybridge yesterday evening © John Dadds:


There have been great wader photography opportunities at Ferrybridge just lately, with many requiring no more than a little bit of patience and the latterday equivalent of a Box Brownie © John Dadds (the scene) and Luke Dadds (the Dunlin):


Wednesday 16th September 2020

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Dorset Birds

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Cattle Egret - 6 Abbotsbury, 2 Wareham Meadow by Stilt Pools
Great White Egret - 4 Abbotsbury Swannery, 1 Lytchett Bay, 1 Stanpit Marsh
White Stork - 1 Winterborne Kingston, 1 Tolpuddle
Spoonbill - 41 Brownsea is. 4 Middlebere, 3 Abbotsbury Swannery
Osprey - 3-4 Poole Hbr - 2 Lytchett Bay, 1 Wareham Channel and 2 Arne
Black-winged Stilt - 2 seen to fly into Christchurch Hbr.
Curlew Sandpiper - 6 Brownsea Is, 4 Stanpit Marsh, 1 Lodmoor, 1 Rodden Hive
Ruff - 2 Lodmoor RSPB, 1 Stanpit Marsh
Little Stint - 1 Brownsea Is, 1 Ferrybridge
Pectoral Sandpiper - 1 Wareham Meadows on Swineham Pool later on the Stilt Pools.
Spotted Redshank - 1 Stanpit Marsh
Hobby - 2 Canford School
Sand Martin - 50+ Abbotsbury Swannery
Swallow - 1000+ Abbotsbury Swannery
House Martin - 500 Hengistbury Hd.
Yellow Wagtail - 50 Abbotsbury Swannery, 46 Rodden Hive, c30 Lytchett Fields RSPB, 15 Stanpit Marsh, 3 St Aldhelm's Hd.
Grey Wagtail - 8 Hengistbury Hd.
Pied/White Wagtails - 30+ Abbotsbury Swannery
Meadow Pipit - 200+ St Aldhelm's Hd, 20+ Lytchett Fields RSPB.
Linnet - 200+ St. Aldhelm's Hd.
Lapland Bunting  - 2 over Hengistbury Hd.
Ortolan Bunting - 1 Tidmoor Range

16th September

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Portland Bird Observatory and Field Centre

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We're sure we've used this phrase before but sometimes quantity really does have a quality of its own, and seeing the Crown Field flooded with nearly 2000 House Martins, both swooping low over our heads and pitching in the crops, was a sight to behold today. The weather followed an almost identical pattern to the past few days with a comfortable start giving way to a scorchingly hot afternoon and evening. With the now usual flocks of Yellow Wagtails, Siskins and Swallows disappearing as the clouds lifted, it was down to the House Martins to provide the entertainment, spiraling round the top of the tower before descending into the Crown Fields. A smattering of late migrants added some much needed variety to the land with a noticeable increase in Willow Warblers and Chiffchaff along with two apiece of Redstart, Whinchat and SpottedFlycatcher around the Obs. These findings were replicated across the island with a further three Spotted Flycatchers in Southwell and a curve ball in the form of a Ring-necked Parakeet behind Bumpers Lane. Ferrybridge saw the lingering Little Stint remain for a tenth day in a row.

House Martin days used to be routine mid-autumn events at the Bill but have become pretty infrequent in recent years. In the golden age of mass ringing of hirundines at the Obs in the mid-1980s up to 1600 House Martins were trapped in an autumn, but these days a whole season will pass without a single one bothering the data inputter; we made a bit of an effort for them today and quickly netted 40 or so but just as quickly as they'd materialised so they evaporated - we're going to need an awful lot of days like today before that 1600 record is threatened © Simon ColenuttThe  Deskbound Birder (still) and Martin Cade (video): 




House Martins also featured for a while at Ferrybridge, where 500 or more gathered over the Fleet © Pete Saunders:


The Little Stint lingered on for another day at Ferrybridge and Spotted Flycatchers staged a mini resurgence after being largely absent for a week or more © Pete Saunders: