Just round the corner from my house is the Rodwell trail, this autumn I've become very familiar with parts of it due to my Patchwork Challenge patch including just about half of it, the boundary then runs along the inside of Portland Harbour from Sandsfoot Castle to Bincleves, so that I can work the under cliff of what used to be the South West Coast Path. Over the last month I've paid quite a bit of attention to these areas, in the hope I might add to the many hundreds if not thousands of Yellow-browed Warbler reports this autumn, my luck really hasn't been in though and after many many hours (probably adding up to a few days!) of searching I had just about given up hope. This morning dawned really poor and I went back to bed until gone 8, by the time I had eaten breakfast sunk a few coffees I strolled out just after 9 - mega lazy by recent standards! My usual route runs alongside the Rodwell trail down a back alley to the Old Castle Road bridge, it's a really leafy area and I've spent a lot of time here as more often than not a Long-tailed Tit flock is around, a nice carrier for Siberian Sprites. This morning was the same, as I got to the mini sub-station the tit flock moved though, 15 LTT, 4 Goldcrests and a Chiffchaff, scouring and scouring they began to depart across the road into the denser sycamore, for some reason I stayed put instead of following the flock and another quick scan through the Goldcrests revealed a 5th bird, but it looked entirely different to the Goldies... my luck had changed and a Yellow-browed Warbler had popped up right in front of me!
The bird itself was very washed out and pale, lacking a median covert wing bar my adrenalin levels suddenly spiked! Was I looking at a Hume's Leaf Warbler? Having only seen a couple before I couldn't really remember proper plumage or bare part detail, although I knew if it called that would clinch it. After a couple of phone calls, Twitter and a Subdued Pheet call from the bird I went with my gut and was happy with it just being a Yellow-browed Warbler, A nice bit of education though and a cracking 6 pointer for the patch, all just minutes from my front door, Magic! EDIT; Further information has come to light with regards to this bird which I will hopefully have time to write about in the future (it's currently in with BBRC if that helps ;)
This morning I found myself questioning my sanity and not for the first time, returning only 30 minutes after venturing out soaked and cold! believing the BBC Weather forecast was my downfall this morning, giving me false hope of a miraculous clearance of the rain at 10am. The rain finally subsided at 11 and by this point I'd given up trying to stay dry and birded through misty optics. The Rodwell trail came alive shortly after the rain, 50+ Goldcrest and 3+ Firecrest made it very rewarding though a siberian sprite continued to elude me, a Flythrough Merlin and flushing a Ring Ouzel continued to make things a little more bearable. The Harbour under-cliff was pretty active, the Long-tailed Tit flock was mobile containing more Goldcrests and 10 Chiffchaffs. Overhead passage was limited to 12 Skylark, a Redwing and a Crossbill. The afternoon however saw me crack, a Pallas's Warbler at Portland was too much to resist and it was duly added to my Dorset list, not the self found I was after but there's always tomorrow!
Merlin out over Portland Harbour
Pallas's Warbler - 286th species for me in Dorset