Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Dorset Day Out - 14.5.16

Great Spotted Cuckoo

Today I joined up with Paul Frost and Ephraim Perfect on a trip down to Portland. As we drove past Ferrybridge I noted my first Little Tern of the year. Arriving at our first stop at Weston we grabbed a parking space and walked all of 20 yards to join a small group of birders. Before I'd set up my scope I'd added Spotted Flycatcher and Redstart to the year list as they flitted around the hedgerow. But after a while of watching parts of our target bird it suddenly shifted to reveal itself. There in full view was my first ever GREAT SPOTTED CUCKOO! This 1st summer bird was one number one on my list of tarts ticks so I was mightily relieved to see it. The closest I'd got to one was an adult bird that spent 5 days on a golf course near Brighton a few years ago. I'd reached Heathrow on the M25 when news of it flying off reached me! News then broke of a good bird near Weymouth so we had one last look and headed off.

After a short drive we reached Lodmoor RSPB reserve and once we figured out whereabouts the bird was we headed off to look for it. It didn't take too long before we found it and for the next 20-30 minutes I enjoyed only my 2nd ever Red-Rumped Swallow. My first had been a bird at Hilfield Reservoir back in May 2000 so it's been a while!

After our fill of the romper we went back to Portland to have a quick seawatch. The year ticks kept coming with 3 Manx Shearwater, Razorbill, Fulmar, Sandwich Tern, Shag, Whimbrel and Gannet flew past and in the obs garden was another Spotted Flycatcher.

5 more Whimbrel were at Ferrybridge before we stopped off in the New Forest at Acres Down. I'd not heard of this place before but in the hour or so we were there we saw a male Redstart, Cuckoo (making it a 2 cuckoo day), 2+ Crossbill, Tree Pipit, Wood Warbler and 3 Firecrest! A non avian highlight was my first ever Green Tiger Beetle that flew just as I was about to get a photo.

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