5th April - Weymouth and Portland Guiding.

Lodmoor at sunrise excites me enough in the spring let alone when I've just met up with a client for a mornings birdwatching around Weymouth and Portland. We set off to the sound of  Cetti's and Willow Warblers, Chiffchaff and Reed Bunting, it was immediately obvious birds had arrived overnight as every bush seemed to contain a Warbler of some description including the first good bird of the day. A Siberian Chiffchaff, present since at least last week was singing away in it's rather peculiar non-chiffchaff way, a new bird (subspecies) for my guest and showy enough for me to get some recordings and photos.

With that safely ticked off we continued along, a real surprise came from a flyover Hooded Merganser, the Radipole bird on a wander no doubt! A Swallow was seen over the reed bed before flushing a Whimbrel from the West Scrape - the first of the year for both of us and an early one at that.
Ropey record shot of the Whimbrel.

Reed and Sedge Warbler were both in song at the corner of Beachdown Way, both nice and early but neither giving full bursts of song. We later recorded another of each along the track, Teal, Gadwall, Shoveler and Pochard were easy to see, the colors on the latter were superb in the morning light. 

Arriving at Portland we were greeted by the sound of a small fall of Willow Warblers, and straight away were treated to both Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler in the hand - thanks to the volunteer ringers. Stopping for Coffee Goldcrest and Firecrest were both noted and the first Gannets were seen to head east up channel. A visit round the Bill tip produced Little Owl (always a personal favorite) Rock Pipit, Kittiwake, Razorbill, Fulmar and Guillemot, our first Wheatears were here too, a male and female in the Bill Quarry. The West cliff was cold and windy, this didn't deter the next target of Peregrine, we watched a male stooping on a Raven for a couple of minute which was absolutely superb! Swallows and Sand Martins paste by in small numbers, as did the odd Meadow Pipit.

Watching Stooping Peregrine and him in action!

I decided we should try to add Redstart as a final good bird for the morning, and almost immediately found a stunning male in Helen's Fields, a further 2 were seen by the Crown Estate Field, also the location of our only Stonechats, a pair along the fence line. More Willows and Chiffs were seen in among the Alexanders and we ended the morning with a snack and the sound of them calling away in the background. You could be joining me soon, details are on the Bespoke Day Tours page