Sunday at Portland Obs dawned cold and windy – again – so, at around 9am, we set off on a meandering route back to south Wales. First stop was a reserve new to all of us, RSPB Lytchett Fields. In fact, it’s just plain new, having only been open to the public since 2013. Sitting on the northern edge of Poole Harbour, the fields contain a series of large and small pools, reed beds, wet grassland and sacrificial crops that are ideal for waders and over-wintering finches.
Teal seemed to be the dominant species during our visit but we also saw two Green sandpipers, Dunlins, Redshanks, Black-tailed godwits and a Common gull, as well as both Peregrine and Sparrowhawk out hunting. This reserve will only get better and is well worth a visit.
From Lytchett Fields, it was a short drive to RSPB Arne, an enormous area of woodland and scrub on the western shores of Poole Harbour. Thanks to our knowledgeable team, at Arne I learnt to spot the difference between the holes made in trees by Great spotted and Lesser spotted woodpeckers – not surprisingly, the Great spotted’s hole (on the left) is, well, greater and the Lesser spotted’s (on the right) is smaller – but seeing them side by side was a really useful comparison.
Our target species at Arne was the Dartford warbler but we couldn’t find the little blighters anywhere. However, the flock of 42 Spoonbills more than made up for them, and we also spotted Brent geese, Avocets, Wigeon, Curlew, lots of Little egrets, and one Grey plover, amongst other things (be sure to check tomorrow’s blog post for those).
By mid afternoon we were back at the car park, a little footsore and weary, ready to start making our way homeward. Thanks to Alan, our organiser and team leader, and our wonderful group of birders/friends, and, of course, to all the fabulous birds we saw, it had been yet another excellent Glamorgan Bird Club trip – I do love them!
Here’s my list for the full 3 days, a total of 83 species: Mute Swan, Canada Goose, Brent Goose, Shelduck, Wigeon, Teal, Mallard, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Pheasant, Little Grebe, Spoonbill, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Gannet, Cormorant, Marsh Harrier, Sparrowhawk, Common Buzzard, Kestrel, Peregrine, Moorhen, Coot, Oystercatcher, Avocet, Ringed Plover, Golden Plover, Grey Plover, Lapwing, Knot, Dunlin, Ruff, Common Snipe, Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Green Sandpiper, Greenshank, Lesser Yellowlegs, Common Redshank, Black-headed Gull, Mediterranean Gull, Common Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Turnstone, Feral Pigeon, Stock Dove, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Short-eared Owl, Magpie, Jay, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Skylark, Cetti’s Warbler, Long-tailed Tit, Common Chiffchaff, Goldcrest, Wren, Nuthatch, Starling, Blackbird , Fieldfare, Song Thrush, Redwing, Robin, Stonechat, Dunnock, House Sparrow, Pied Wagtail, Meadow Pipit, Rock Pipit, Chaffinch, Brambling, Goldfinch, Linnet, Bullfinch, Corn Bunting, and, on the way home but still east of the M5, a Grey partridge flew up in front of the car.
The team total was 99, as the following birds were also seen or heard by members of our group: Pintail, Common Scoter, Water Rail, Great Crested Grebe, Shag, Bar-tailed Godwit, Sandwich Tern, Little Owl, Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Swallow, Rook, Raven, Coal Tit, Blackcap and Treecreeper.