22nd April
Portland Bird Observatory and Field Centre
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2d ago
For a day that was half rained off and by most conventional metrics had been written off by an hour after dawn (...and that after dawn itself had looked to offer so much promise) today actually ended up mediumly rewarding, with the season now so advanced that even the apparent duds have plenty of variety about them. What fall there was out of the heavily overcast, quiet conditions of dawn consisted largely of Blackcaps and Willow Warblers - 30 and 60 respectively at the Bill, but there was a fair little mix of fellow travellers that included the season's first Reed Warbler, 5 Sedge Warblers, 3 ..read more
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21st April
Portland Bird Observatory and Field Centre
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3d ago
The magical northeasterlies persisted and whilst they didn't precipitate anything approaching a huge fall there was plenty to see throughout the island, with easily the best variety on offer so far this spring. Willow Warblers were hugely dominant, with 300 at the Bill alone, but Wheatears also put in a respectable showing with 100 at the Bill and seemingly a higher total than that from points northward. Erratic coverage and possible duplication aside, scarcer migrants around and about included 15 Redstarts, 15 Whinchats, 6 Ring Ouzels, 4 Grasshopper Warblers, 4 Pied Flycatchers and 3 Cuckoos ..read more
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20th April
Portland Bird Observatory and Field Centre
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4d ago
Spring northeasterlies have attained almost magical status here in recent times so their forecast arrival - for pretty well the first time this season - had been hotly anticipated. Whilst the reality was a fair bit removed from the hype it was actually a half-decent day with, at least by way of passerines and visible migrants, easily the best variety of the spring to date; the sea was a different kettle of fish with, aside from Great Northern Divers, passage remaining exceptionally lame for this time. Amongst the few dozen or so of routine Blackcaps and Willow Warblers, migrant totals from aro ..read more
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19th April
Portland Bird Observatory and Field Centre
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5d ago
IN FOCUS SOUTH WEST Optics day this Sunday 21st April @PortlandBirdObs @DorsetWildlife for more info call Keith 01225 891352 @opticronuk @SwarovskiOptik @VortexOpticsUK @ZEISSBirding Hawke and more pic.twitter.com/kLyq1UBIof — IN FOCUS SOUTH WEST (@MortimerKe93304) April 17, 2024 A resurgence in the northwest wind was unwelcome but that and a heavy cloud cover at dawn that came and went throughout the morning did the trick in knocking down a decent little flurry of grounded migrants today. There were few surprises, with 120 Willow Warblers, 75 Blackcaps, 35 Wheatears and 20 Chiffchaffs making ..read more
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17th April
Portland Bird Observatory and Field Centre
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6d ago
The smallest of upticks in passage was appreciated after a couple of lean days but the 50 Swallows, 25 Wheatears, 15 Chiffchaffs, 10 Wheatears, 10 Blackcaps, 2 Yellow Wagtails, a Redwing and a Redstart at the Bill hardly amounted to a bumper haul and it was certainly down to the lingering Western Subalpine Warbler to inject a bit of a spark into proceedings. The still very brisk wind remained way too offshore for the sea, with 4 Red-throated Divers, 2 Canada Geese, 2 Arctic Skuas and a Great Northern Diver the best on offer off the Bill. Two more Great Northern Divers and 5 Shelduck were the p ..read more
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15th April
Portland Bird Observatory and Field Centre
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1w ago
In keeping with the pattern so far this spring no sooner had it looked like migration was gaining momentum than shoddy weather rolls in to bring things to a halt. Today it was a fierce gale that had blown up overnight that scuppered our chances by seemingly grounding most Portland-bound migrants well before they got to us. The Western Subalpine Warbler lingered at Wallsend for a second day to keep the travelling listers and photographers happy but new arrivals on the common migrant front looked to be very thinly spread even if the conditions were hardly conducive for getting amongst them; the ..read more
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14th April
Portland Bird Observatory and Field Centre
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1w ago
There was certainly a bit of quality on offer amongst today's mix, with a Hoopoe in off the sea at the Bill kicking things off in exciting fashion; it proved to be the most active of migrants and although intercepted at regular intervals as it moved north it never settled for long and was last seen heading away over Priory Corner in the direction of the mainland. Those that went off in pursuit of it at the Bill had a real stroke of good fortune when they stumbled upon a Western Subalpine Warbler at Wallsend, where it remained for the rest of the day. After yesterday's excesses, migrant numbers ..read more
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13th April
Portland Bird Observatory and Field Centre
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1w ago
Consecutive days with plenty of birds - blimey, things really are looking up! The mould was set right as dawn broke when a Cirl Bunting appeared and was duly trapped in the Obs garden and there was no looking back after that, with the steady flow of common migrants having in their midst the season's first Yellow Wagtails (2), Garganey, Greenshank, Common Sandpiper and Sedge Warbler. The customary trio of Blackcap, Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff made up the bulk of the numbers, with Blackcap well to the fore on 150 or so around the south of the island; the two phylloscs shared out a similar tota ..read more
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12th April
Portland Bird Observatory and Field Centre
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1w ago
These things are relative so today was hardly, for example, like last year's mega day when a tsunami of migrants swept through the island and with just a handful of mist-nets we broke all previous ringing records. Today was altogether more pedestrian with just 33 ringed from a full day with all the nets but such was the variety on offer everywhere that it seemed like spring really had finally got going. The firsts for the year came thick and fast with a pre-dawn Tree Pipit revealed by the Obs nocmig recorder soon followed in daylight by single Grasshopper Warblers at the Bill and Barleycrates ..read more
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11th April
Portland Bird Observatory and Field Centre
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1w ago
In a day long peasouper, for a few hours we were able to kid ourselves that there were migrants out but we just couldn't see them; however, by the afternoon, the reality had dawned that it really was still just as rubbish as it had been all the rest of the week. A lone Redstart did give a glimmer of hope at the Bill, but otherwise it was down to the thinnest spread of Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers on the ground and the odd flash of a Swallow disappearing into the fog to provide interest. The sea wasn't visible in any meaningful way for the whole day ..read more
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