Friday, 12 April 2013

Portland, Dorset. A Blue Sky, Sea and Bird.... 5th, 6th & 7th April 2013.

My first visit to Portland, Dorset was most enjoyable. A splendid area with many places to explore and explore is something I would like to do with more time on a future visit. Due to the weather not many migrants had arrived but a Bluethroat and Ring Ouzel were a real treat to catch up with, the Bluethroat will probably be my 'Bird of the Year'! A Chiffchaff viewed from the B&B bedroom window on arrival was a good start to the weekend, though it was not my first of the year it was still good to have such good sightings of such a delightful Warbler! Highlight sightings at Portland Bill on the first afternoon and early evening were a male Stonechat, Pied Wagtail, Dunnock and on the evening a Barn Owl that was perched on the roof of The Pulpit Inn and unfortunately soon took flight as we parked up! Yellowhammer, Robin, Blackbird, Greenfinch, Raven and Buzzard were also highlight birds seen on Portland.

A useful website for Portland.



Suckthumb Quarry was the area were a Ring Ouzel had been reported and it did not take long to locate it. Splendid views were had of this bird! Redwing, Song Thrush, Wheatear, Kestrel and Peregrine were other highlight birds seen in close proximity to Suckthumb Quarry.


The White-spotted Bluethroat reported at Chesil Cove was an absolute delight to see. It gave fleeting views initially as it fed in the vegetation around the beach huts and finally it came out in to the open for a few minutes. I was pleased with the sighting and pleased to have a few record images of this delightful little bird!

Cormorants frequently flew across the sea and 5 maybe 6 Sandwich Terns were sighted and I was
delighted to have watched one fishing before they headed off.
There are several good viewpoints on Portland Bill, Cheyne Weares being one of them with a car park. It was here that I managed a few images of Gulls in flight.

There are some stunning views to be enjoyed as you make your way around Portland Bill.


On the way home a visit was made to RSPB Radipole Lake.
Garganey were the target birds and after a long walk to the hide were found sleeping on an island! Cetti's Warbler were heard only and it seemed as though there were at least 3 individual birds heard. Shoveler, G C Grebe, Wigeon and Mute Swan were also on and around the water along with the usual Coot, Mallard etc. I was thrilled to see my first of the year Barn swallow, House Martin and at least 6 Sand Martins! A Hooded Merganser suddenly appeared from under a bridge and joined Tufted Ducks and Mallards which had congregated in the hope of a feed from visitors. The Hooded Merganser did not hang around for long as the Tufties showed there annoyance of it's presence. I managed a couple of shots but not a full frontal! I have on my return home found out that the Merganser has been present for a few years and it's origin is uncertain, a delightful striking bird to see whatever it's origin.

RSPB Lodmoor was the next port of call before the journey home.
 A smashing reserve which as with Radipole Lake I would have liked more time to explore. A Spoonbill was soon located and also a Little Egret trying to hide in a reed bed!

I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend on Portland and will all being well visit again sometime in the future. A pity the poor Spring weather had kept so many summer migrants back but that is birding for you. No doubt there will be ruckloads returning this weekend now that the weather has finally broken and milder temperatures are forecast.


  1. Great blog Pam, so jealous about the Bluethroat, yet to see one, but one day.

  2. What a wonderful time you had Pam! You saw a splendid array of birds and took some lovely photos too. The Bluethroat is beautiful, whenever I see one in a photo I think how special it would be to see one myself, I doubt I ever will though. The sky and sea looked beautifully blue too.

    It is milder here now but wet, wet, wet, I do hope we are not in for a similar experience to last year, it would be disastrous for the wildlife and thoroughly unpleasant for us!

  3. Thanks Tom! Hope you do get to see one some day! It has a lot of charisma for such a small bird!

  4. Thanks Jan! It was good to explore a new area and good that the Bluethroat and Ring Ouzel hung around long enough for me to see them! I really was very lucky as not a lot of migrants had returned due to the weather. The weather brightened as you can see from the photo's, it had seemed a long while since the sun had shone so bright and for as long as it did!

    A gusty wind is blowing here today but mild! Hopefully last years weather will not be repeated!

  5. So nice to read your latest blog Pam!
    It sounds like a superb trip with some smashing birds seen!
    I love the Ouzel pics and what a stunner the Bluethroat is.....I'm sure I'll never see one of them up here! lol

  6. I meant to mention the Ring Ouzel, I was very envious about that having never managed to see one! I also meant to mention Suckthumb Quarry....what a great name :-)

  7. Thanks Ruth, glad you enjoyed the post! Never say never with a Bluethroat, I do hope one comes your way sometime.

  8. I have had a quick search but cannot find out why the quarry was named Suckthumb Jan! An unusual and intriguing name!