From Lodmoor we continued on towards Portland, stopping for a scan through the few birds on the water and shore at Ferry Bridge (but there wasn’t a lot of be seen) and for a wander through the quarries looking for the reported Ring ouzels at The Verne (turns out we were in the wrong place but the Stonechats were nice to see). Friday ended with us all settled in our rooms at the Obs (Portland Bird Observatory) and off for a meal at The Pulpit Inn.
Saturday was our day for birding around Portland but the weather really was against us on this year’s trip. The strong freezing northerlies and clear skies meant most migrating birds were being driven on above our heads, rather than being caught in the nets at the Obs or stopping over somewhere on the island to refuel.
With nothing much happening on the sea or in the Obs garden, we had a wander down to the Bill and along the shore. Rock pipits, pied wagtails and a confiding Kestrel were about all we found there – no Purple sandpipers to be seen.
From the Obs, we drove to Pennsylvannia and walked down the track to Church Ope Cove, checking all the while for the Yellow-browed warblers that had been seen there – no luck, unfortunately, but it was a lovely walk, with stunning views, and we did see some Stonechats.
Another walk took us between the various quarries and past the remains of windmills to The Hump, where Yellow-browed warblers had also been reported. Once again we lucked out … but saw more Stonechats!
Having walked back to the cars, we drove on to The Verne, to look once again (in the right place this time) for the Ring ouzels, but they remained elusive. It was another good walk though, with more cracking views, out over the sea and along the coast over Chesil Beach.
After a second look at Ferry Bridge (our first Knot of the trip spotted through the ’scopes), it was back to the Obs for the night and another meal, amidst much banter and laughter, at The Pulpit, though not before we indulged in a spot of Short-eared owl watching in the fields across the road from the Obs itself. Three birds seen flying – superb!