First day away from the RSPB

Yesterday wasn't sad, it was a lot of fun and great to say goodbye to the people I've made friends with at the RSPB since last June, last night was very good too, though I woke this morning with a very bad head and a mouth like the Gobi Desert! I did eventually drag myself out for a session around the local patch, a small arrival of birds was noted almost immediately as Chiffchaff song filled the air and at least 30 birds were seen between home and Pirates Cove, Smallmouth seemed to be a little landing stage for birds coming from the Chesil with a few more Chiffchaff and 2 Willow Warblers pitching in, my first of the year. A Sanderling, also my first of the year was a Ferrybridge, Sandwich Terns, Swallows and lots of Meadow Pipits were seen too! You could be joining me soon, you never know what we might see!

All photos © Joe Stockwell

Dunlin at Ferrybridge

I bumped into this Dunlin at Ferrybridge this morning, very unwary and approachable. It only flew off when a Kestrel hovered overhead!

Need to work on Wader ID? Join me on the 5th of may at Ferrybridge to learn more!

Guiding at Arne - 4th March

Last Friday afternoon was spent guiding on behalf of the RSPB at Arne, I'd been booked for a 2 hour session around the reserve, to see what we could find and perhaps explore some of the slightly less trodden parts. Primary targets were Dartford Warbler and Spoonbill, any others would be a nice bonus and as usual Arne failed to disappoint. Our first area to explore was Westrack to look for Dartford Warblers and possibly Woodlark, we were immediately rewarded with a party of 9 Common Crossbill which were new for both clients! The birds after a little bit of Searching showed superbly well and both sexes were observed, we were also able to listen to them singing and calling frequently, Our first Dartford was noted while enjoying the Crossbills, this though somewhat overshadowed. We had to leave the Crossbills eventually, more Dartford Warblers were encountered including several territorial males chasing each other around, our first Stonechat and Meadow Pipit were noted here too. Moving on to Coombe Heath excellent views of Spoonbill were had from the viewing screen, Dunlin, Redshank, Grey Plover, Red-breasted Merganser, Wigeon and Teal all put in an appearance allowing brilliant views in the early spring sunshine, the undoubted highlight here though was the flock of at least 1300 Brent Geese taking flight and swirling around over the Middlebere Channel, it really was quite a spectacle!

Male Common Crossbill

Coming Soon - Guided Walks Calendar

Apologies for my lack of posting of late, I've been rather busy with a few things, some going to plan and some falling rather flat! There is an upside to my minor setback, well two actually, firstly nothing has changed for me personally and secondly it's allowed me to rethink what I'm doing for a career! More on that another day though!

For now though, something a little different, Spring migration is a time where all birdwatchers start to get excited, for me there is nothing better than walking across a migration hotspot uncovering the first Wheatears arrived in off the sea, or watching hundreds of Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers make their way northwards to their breeding grounds, across nothing more than a few Brambles and Alexanders! You can get the chance to see passage on the sea including Skuas, Ducks and Terns all moving in good numbers by April.

So, where is this going? My first guided walk of course! Although I have led walks for both Portland Bird Observatory and the RSPB this will be my first set up entirely by myself for your pleasure! In time there will be a full program for the year, for the time being though I'll advertise this one and should it be a success (which I am confident it will be) I'll add more straight away.

Migrants, Migrants and More Migrants! Sunday 10th April

Find yourself struggling to come across all those lovely birds reported by the team at Portland Bird Observatory? Let me help guide you for a mornings bird watching at Portland Bill, we'll go in search of Common Migrants; Wheatear, Redstart, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler and Whitehtroat, but also for more difficult birds to get to grips with such as Grasshopper Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Tree Pipit and Yellow Wagtail - Although all regular on passage they can be easily missed. If conditions allow on the day we'll also put in a little time sea watching.

Pomarine Skuas and 3 Teal 


Willow Warbler

The walk will start at 7am in the Portland Bill Carpark SY676684 where there is a pay and display charge, we'll head out for 3 Hours on a fairly leisurely walk looking to find as much as possible with very good local knowledge and up to date information. Although it will be mainly flat there are a couple of uphill and downhill tracks and good walking footwear is advised. All ages and abilities welcome.

The cost of the walk is £8 per person limited to 14 places, that will also include a cup of coffee and a biscuit during a brief stop at PBO where we may be lucky enough to see a couple of birds in the hand. 

To book on you can email me at, Call O7787-362O89 or Direct Message me on Twitter @Joe_stockwell

Portland Bill Seawatching and Migrants - Sunday 24th April

Portland Bill - Sunday 24th April

Starting with a seawatch at the bill our main target species will include; Great and Arctic Skua, Great Northern Diver, Manx Shearwater, If we're lucky there will also be the chance to catch up with some great passage species such as Whimbrel, Bar-tailed Godwit, Little Gull and up to 4 Species of Tern, there's always the chance of Puffin too! The time of year also lends itself to passerine migration, years gone by I've sat seawatching at the bill and fine species like Pied Flycatcher, Redstart and Turtle Dove have arrived in off the sea, there's nothing to say this won't happen so I'll always have my eyes peeled. Keeping a close eye on local news we'll then head off in search of the migrants which may have arrived through the morning, in previous years this has yielded Hoopoe, Ring Ouzel and Turtle Dove so it's always worth a look round after a seawatch!

 Arctic Skua


Great Skua Part of a flock of 13!

We'll start again at 7am in the Portland Bill Carpark SY676684 where there is a pay and display charge, we'll head out for 3 Hours (around 2 will be spent seawatching depending on conditions and passage) Although it will be mainly flat there are a couple of uphill and downhill tracks and good walking footwear is advised.

The cost of the morning is £8 per person limited to 14 places, sadly I can't offer coffee on this one as it's difficult to plug in a kettle at the bill! Please feel free to bring a flask as we can stop by our cars to top up. If standing staring out to sea for 2 hours is troublesome you're also more than welcome to bring some type of stool or chair.

To book on you can email me at, Direct Message me on Twitter @Joe_stockwell or call O7787-362089