Sunday, 17 April 2016

Bluethroat and Subalpine Warbler at Portland!

A 5am start this morning and just the One hundred and seventy miles ahead of us. Having made good time we arrived at Portland bird observatory around 7.30.
Sitting on the wooden bench in the garden we watched two Short-eared Owls come in off the sea and head directly overhead, before pitching down in the nearby fields a short distance away.
The scrub and fields outside the observatory were alive with Willow Warblers Chiffchaffs, Linnets and a Little Owl was perched up on a rock a short distance away.

While heading down the track hoping to find the Western Subalpine Warbler another birder told us he thought he had seen it a few minutes ago heading into some thick scrub near the cliff edge. We waited close to the cliff face and scanned the scrub for any movement, and within a few minutes the bird appeared. My first lifer of 2016!

Western Subalpine Warbler

We headed off up the hill in search of the Hoopoe, and found two more Short-eared Owls perched up in nearby scrub plus numerous Redstarts were feeding in the surrounding fields.
The search for the Hoopoe was cut short when news came through that the White-spotted Bluethroat had been seen in the same privet hedge as the previous evening. We headed back down and joined the thirty or so other birders already present. Scanning the hedges and surrounding fields produced more Redstarts Willow Warblers and several Wheatears and then there was the Bluethroat! It would prove to be very elusive in the 2-3 hours we were there, but it did show briefly on several occasions and on one occasion to within a few feet. Showing the ring that had been put on it the previous evening.

White-spotted Bluethroat

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