I joined Sh4rpy, Brendan Glynn and Paul Frost for a shared transport day trip down to Portland. Our first port of call was the long-staying Woodchat Shrike at Wike Regis, a short walk from the Bridging Camp. We arrived and almost instantly had the superb ♂ WOODCHAT SHRIKE in our scopes. We remained glued for about fifteen mins before news came in that seabird passage past Portland Bill was hotting up. I also noted 2 Yellow Wagtails before we left.
Woodchat Shrike, Wike Regis at the Bridging Camp
We arrived at the Bill in light stormy conditions, a strong onshore wind wobbling our scopes making the sea-watch even more difficult. However, through the difficulty I managed to get brief views of my second lifer for the day, 3+ BALEARIC SHEARWATERS! They were milling around, tending to stay as a loose group amongst Gannets, Fulmars and other gulls. The rocky slopes also hosted a Rock Pipit braving the braking waves. After an hours staring out to sea, the sun came out and sea-watching became more difficult, as the reflection of sunlight from the water made IDing even more difficult. With this as our queue, we decided to do a short round walk at the southern end of the Isle. Very few migrants unfortunately, 9+ Wheatear, 2 Ravens being the only highlights. I did get one British butterfly year tick, Wall Brown. The only other butterflies about included 1 Meadow Brown and a single Small Tortoiseshell.
Sh4rpy, Brendan and Paul at the lighthouse at Portland Bill
west coast of the Isle of Portland
Another short sea-watch from The Fleet yielded 1 Gannet. Waders at the ferry Bridge included 6 Dunlin and 2 Ringed Plovers.
Our last stop for the day. Soon after getting out of the car, rain started to pour down, we sheltered ourselves in a nearby woodland, waited for it to pass before returning. Unsurprisingly, no birds chose to show themselves in the torrent, only a few Stonechats and a small flock of Willow Warblers came out following the down-pour. Needless to say we got drenched.