Sunday 06 October – Portland and Lodmoor

 About a dozen members met at Ferrybridge on the causeway to Portland on a lovely, sunny day. The Fleet at Portland was a bit quiet but notable sightings were 15 Mediterranean Gulls, Dunlin, Ringed Plover and Brent Geese with Wheatear, Kestrel and Swallow on the shingle bank. We then went to Wyke Regis where Jane had heard of some rarities and, with a bit of patience, we were lucky to see a Red-backed Shrike and a Red-breasted Flycatcher in the same patch of hedgerow and brambles. The Shrike was sitting up nicely on the hedge and the Flycatcher was flitting about in some ivy, both giving good views, albeit at a distance. These were lifetime firsts for most of us. Chiffchaff, Pied Wagtail, Goldfinch and Pheasant were also in the area.Portland itself was a bit lacking in the migrants we hoped for and some of the scrub areas were exceptionally quiet. However, while we sat and ate our lunch, we were entertained by a Wheatear hunting ants very close to us. Walking down through the farmland we saw Kestrel, Sparrowhawk and Buzzard. A dark-coloured mystery bird of prey sitting on a wall raised hopes of a Black Kite or some other exotic but the consensus was that it was another Buzzard. Whinchat, Stonechat, Linnet, Wheatear and Meadow Pipit were also seen. The final stop was the RSPB’s Lodmoor reserve in Weymouth. The brackish ponds had one Spoonbill, Wigeon, Little Egret, Lapwing and Dunlin, and Cetti’s Warbler could be heard in the bushes. A few of us walked a bit further round the path and were lucky enough to get a glimpse of a male Bearded Tit moments before we set off back to the cars. A Water Rail could be heard in the reeds. The Marsh Harriers did not make an appearance but we did see a Peregrine, mobbed at first by Rooks then soaring and stooping from a great height. Twenty or so other common species were also seen through the day.