14 members assembled at a chillyish Ferrybridge. It was high tide which meant no waders, but the highlight was a close view of a Peregrine being mobbed by Crows. Also of note here were three Mediterranean Gulls, four flyover Sandwich Terns, Wheatears and plenty of Swallows. We moved on to a much warmer Portland Bill and started with a sea watch. After a patient wait, during which time we saw Gannets, Shags, Rock Pipits and again, lots of Swallows passing by, we were rewarded with eight Balearic Shearwaters. We walked to the Observatory Quarry and surrounding area, hoping to catch sight of the Barred Warbler and Wryneck that had been reported there over the last day or so, but, had no luck with those. There was though, a difficult to see Little Owl in the Quarry, and a Whitethroat. A Sparrowhawk and two Kestrels were also seen nearby. Lunch was taken at Southwell where we shared a grassy knoll with a Lime Hawkmoth caterpillar. We took a stroll around some nearby fields again hoping for Wryneck, but, as well as more common species, we had to be content with Stonechat, Stock Dove, Raven, and more Wheatears. In the lane leading to the fields the air was filled with the buzzing from a huge number of Honey Bees collecting pollen from the Ivy. We also came across the web of a Small Eggar Moth. Our next stop was Portland Castle where after a short while we saw the Black Guillemot which had been present for a week or more. It was already in winter plumage, but was still a delightful bird to see. There was also a Kingfisher and Little Egret here. Lastly, we headed for Radipole and found a number of Snipe, ten Black-tailed Godwits, Water Rail, two Chiffchaffs, another Kingfisher, and Cetti’s Warblers (heard only). The last member to leave later reported seeing some Bearded Tits. Also, some of us saw the long staying Hooded Merganser. To tick, or, not to tick? Including the Merganser a total of 60 bird species were counted. The weather brought out a good selection of butterflies, the best of which were some Clouded Yellows, two Wall Browns, Painted Lady, Green Veined White, and male and female Common Blues interacting together. Thanks to Louise for leading an enjoyable day. Trevor Ford.
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