Sunday, 3 November 2013

Portland Again!

Well for the second time this year I visited Portland Bird Observatory for a few days for a combined birding/photography trip. The former was somewhat difficult with a real lack of scarce birds - the best being two of the least cooperative I have ever come across...

Red-Necked Grebe

Pomarine Skua

Two species of owl were seen and both in exactly the same area, a small disused quarry. Although both are species I can find locally, it was nice to be able to see them in an entirely different context

Barn Owl

Little Owl
Before we get onto some half decent photos, a few more 'record shots' from the trip include...

Black Redstart

Whilst the birding was considered fairly dull by the locals, many of the species seen (including those above) are extremely rare locally, so it was good to be able to photograph these for the first time. One bird I was particularly pleased to see was the Purple Sandpiper. I have seen this a couple of times before but on this occasion the showed exceedingly well feeding amongst the rocks...

Purple Sandpiper

And being within such close proximity to Weymouth, photographing shags was certainly not unexpected!

It was great fun watching them struggle amongst the waves that followed storm Jude (which as a side note was one of the most mundane weather events I have ever witnessed)...

The Rock Pipit is another scarcity in my local area, though at Portland they were plentiful with flocks of 20+ seen along the clifftops on some occasions...

 And my favourite...

And last but by no means least, the Arctic Tern. With Autumnwatch's theme this past week being 'Migration', this seems a particularly fitting bird to end on. This bird is a juvenile, born earlier this year, however by the time it dies, it may have undergone the longest distance travelled by any species of animal. With a migration that totals 44,000 miles a year, in its lifetime this bird will fly a distance equivalent to 3 round trips to the moon, an incredible feat and a beautiful bird!

Arctic Tern

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