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Tapping into a little east coast magic...

It's not very often that you have a week where there's just too much going on to keep up, being that all we do is just swan around birding, obviously...

Sunday dawned pretty decent, it looked pretty promising for a few birds though again as with the previous few days things didn't pick up until the afternoon... Who said this was a morning Observatory! The top fields were given a proper smashing which provided a few Pied Fly, Whinchat, Redstart and Wheatear. I bumped into Brett Spencer, he casually mentioned that it was about time Portland had another Icterine Warbler, 15 minutes later I was legging it to the 8 Kings Quarry to see one he'd just found! However it didn't show for me until about 90 minutes later (after I'd gone back to the obs) but fortunately the bird porned it for a good 20 minutes before disappearing until later in the day.
Monday, again had the feel of rare about it, though again it took until just after midday for the first decent bird to show itself, a Wryneck was found in the Obs Quarry, which showed well after about 10 minutes, though it became elusive soon after.
Then very shortly after that man Brett struck again, this time in partnership with Julian Thomas, they'd had a rather dashing 1s male Ortolan Bunting on the East Cliff, unfortunately though my search for it drew a blank. Tuesday though brought me the hat trick, after not really getting much in the morning I headed up to the top fields and soon after was greeted by "plip plip plip... teuw" ORTOLAN! maybe Monday's bird, maybe another self found, I'll never know!

Ringing ticks have been coming thick and fast this week, although I don't keep an actual "list" I do know what I have and would like to ring, right up there was Wryneck...

2 weeks pass and all you get is a Weekend that was!

Apologies for my lack of posting just recently, I fear sometimes that the urge to blog is like some peoples attitude to work, you know you could but your just too bone idle, and it gets on peoples nerves.

I've been sat on snippets of this post for about a week now, never quite having enough interesting pictures to go with the egotistical "I did this, I did that" Fortunately though having just had a pretty busy weekend - not much birding involved, a little bit of mothing, a large amount of drinking, there's some pretty pictures to go with this one, though not the one of me half cut in a bar! Friday's journey home was somewhat eventful, the usual 90 minute drive took nearly double that, although the entertainment derived from impatient idiots whilst stuck in traffic kept the spirits up! When at home I don't normally get too much chance to go birding, mainly due to the large amount of socializing involved, because I'm always up a long time before anyone else I run a moth trap, this weekend was no different and notched up 10 ticks including Maple Prominent which turned out to be a tick for everyone here too! A rather nice array of Micros were caught to including this rather brilliantly named Firethorn Leaf Miner... 


Driving home on Monday morning was not the best trip, an enormous hangover coupled with lots of traffic I decided to head down to Pennington for the Long-billed Dowicher that has taken up temporary residence. It showed really nicely upon arrival with 2 Knot, Lots of Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Black-tailed Godwit (inc 1 Continental bird) and a few Redshank. Also of note in the area was LRP, Gropper, Grey Plover, Yellow Wagtail, Common Sandpiper and a few Clouded Yellow butterfly. Back at the obs this morning good numbers of Yellow Wagtail and Tree Pipits flew over, also a Tree Pipit and Pied Fly were trapped.

 Pied Flycatcher

Tree Pipit
Long-billed Dowicher with Mallard and Knot 

I've been trying to think of what content could top Monday's post, I soon realized that it just wasn't possible, it was potentially a once in a lifetime write up, probably. Bird wise this week has been a little on the quiet side, although a small fall of migrants on Tuesday and Wednesday was welcome, ringing 102 birds on Tuesday including 61 Sedge Warbler was probably the best bit. Being a sucker for punishment I headed out Tuesday night to catch waders, I caught one, a rather scruffy Dunlin.

Today was pretty quiet, so quiet in fact I decided to twitch a Red-crested Pochard, so far a bird I hadn't caught up with in Dorset, today though changed that...


We've had a few nice Moths this week too, mostly from Martin's trap at the grove.



Gold Spot, Dewick's Plusia and Wormwood.

Cornwall... FEA'S PETREL!

Saturday 3rd August; BBC Weather was on constant refresh, as was Met Office and Magic Seaweed. I phoned Julian Thomas mid afternoon, he also conveyed his interest and arrangements were made to drive through the night and grab a few hours sleep in the car.

Sunday 4th August- Porthgwarra Carpark 3:30AM We'd arrived an hour and fifteen beforehand but I still couldn't sleep, turns out Vauxhall vectras aren't as comfortable as a Fiesta or 206 but never mind. I think by the time 5am cam around I'd slept for about 30 minutes, it didn't matter though, it was time to wander up to Gwynapp head. Fortunately on arrival there was only one other chap on site which gave us chance to pick our spot, i turned out it wasn't as wise as first thought... A few showers began passing after an hour or so but this didn't dampen our spirits, we kept plugging away and our first large Shearwater, a Great, was making it's way west. Very soon after I picked up a Cory's Shearwater which was my first for quite a few years, and another Great Shearwater was then seen. The first of the really heavy rain pulses moved through and I realized I was not in the best position and took an absolute soaking, wet optics, wet clothes but not wet spirits a Great Shearwater passed marvelously close, only problem was I couldn't see the thing!

9:04AM: Possible Fea's, Possible Fea's, Possible Fea's, IT IS A FEA'S!!! 
 
The next 25 seconds were pure adrenalin, anguish but then elation! after initially not getting on to it, I realized I was looking too far off and suddenly it was there, "**** it's that close!' for the next minute or so the enjoyment of this near mythical species off Great Britain was beyond anything I can describe, for many of us on the headland it was a tick, a tick I thought one day I may get from a pelagic, never from land. Punching the air has never felt so good, I just couldn't contain myself, it seemed neither could anyone else!

3:16PM: I was really struggling and had to give up for a cup of tea. Below are my totals for the day, although I missed a few/didn't look, things like Balearics and Sooty Shearwaters are a little unimportant when there are Large Shearwater to be seen!




Fea's Petrel 1

Cory's Shearwater 14

Great Shearwater 31

Long-tailed Skua 1

Balearic Shearwater 32

Sooty Shearwater 12

Storm Petrel 7

Bonxie 4

Arctic Skua 1

Common Scoter 8

Puffin 2

Chough 3

Razorbill 1

Guilimot 2

Med Gull 2




Monday 5th August 11:44AM - I still can't calm down.

Little birds, Many moths

 Very little of note when it came to birds today, apart from a small flurry on the sea early on things just didn't seems to get going, it as though been very warm and sunny, just how we like it! 55 Common Scoter, 15 Manx Shearwater, 12 Balearic Shearwater and on the land 10 Sedge Warbler, 2 Willow Warbler, Black-tailed Godwit and singles south of Whimbrel, Ringed Plover and Common Sandpiper. Ferrybridge waders hovered around the same, although a slight decrease in Dunlin; 150 Dunlin, 39 Ringed Plover, 14 Sanderling, 13 Oystercatcher, 5 Turnstone, 3 Curlew and 2 Black-tailed Godwit. In contrast the overnight moth totals made up for our lack of birds with migration/immigration really getting going again; 103 Xylostella, 12 Silver Y, 5 Noctuella, 2 Rusty-dot Pearl a Cream-bordered Green Pea and a Pine Hawkmoth, At Chesil this afternoon 2 Clouded Yellow were on the wing.



Cyneda dentalis ©Joe Stockwell and Black-tailed Godwit at Ferrybridge ©Pete Saunders

2 In one!

PBO Log 1st August

We all finally woke to a clear sky this morning, a little bit of early cloud rolled in but quickly departed and the thermometer read 22degrees at one stage this afternoon. Early reports from our usual stalwarts were rather unexciting, this however was soon changed with a visit to open up the crop nets, it appeared a few migrants had dropped in overnight. With this relayed back a bit of fieldwork soon produced some numbers, the bill received all the coverage and including ringing areas we soon notched up a few birds; 30 Sedge Warbler, 5 Grasshopper Warbler, 3 Willow Warbler, and a few Whitethroats, though difficult to distinguish from local breeders and migrants there certainly seemed to be more around today. The only birds through on the sea today were of 2 Med Gulls, a Yellow-legged Gull and an Arctic Skua was reported this afternoon. Overnight mothing produced 8 Silver Y, 3 Xylostella, 2 Noctuella and a Hummingbird Hawkmoth, the latter was also on the wing in the obs garden this evening.

Joe's Blog

So this afternoon I decided it was time to roll the bike out again and head off Island, it's amazing the scenery you can take in whilst out, once I'd got through the hustle and bustle of Weymouth I headed out to Upwey, a lovely village with nice smooth roads, excellent! doubling back on myself I soon found I was heading in the direction of Abbotsbury on not only was quite a deceiving false flat but one of the most poorly surfaced roads I've ever ridden on, I not only need new legs but now i need new gluts! anyway, it was on this rather poor road that I came across a Red Kite purposefully flying west, not a bird I see all that often in Dorset! The view from the top was worth the effort though, pretty much a 360 degree panoramic view of south-west Dorset, absolutely marvelous! This weeks 50Km ride is now under my belt and I realize 3 things;
1. I'm still not fit.
2. the people who ride past me up hills are MUCH fitter than me.
3. I'm a really good shot with a banana skin- who'd have thought I could have thrown it into a bin while doing 35kmh! pure entertainment to all who was watching!

couple of days off now. #shutuplegs!