Trip reports

Ferrybridge and Portland

Dark-bellied brent goose on water at Hayling Island
RSPB Image

Saturday, 9 December 2017

There was a very cold and icy start to the day so it was pleasing to see that 11 people had turned up at the Ferrybridge visitor centre, where we began viewing from the new platform overlooking the Fleet. Here was an Oystercatcher and a small group of Gulls: Black-headed, Mediterranean, Herring and Common. Several Skylarks were busy feeding among the saltmarsh plants at the water edge. We walked along the road stopping to admire the fishing skills of several Cormorants feeding in the fast water rushing under the bridge into the Fleet. Crossing over to the Harbour proved very rewarding, we found 3 Great Northern Divers, a Black-throated Diver, about 14 Black-necked Grebes, a Great Crested Grebe, 2 Little Grebes and a large group of Red-breasted Mergansers. Returning along the shore we had superb close views of Great Northern Divers and a Black-throated Diver flew overhead. Back at the centre a few Brent Geese had joined the Gulls. We then moved on to Portland Castle where this end of the harbour was fairly quiet, with a close Turnstone and the usual Cormorants, Shags and Grey Heron on the stone jetty.

We were welcomed at the bird Observatory on Portland where we ate our packed lunches and saw a few common garden birds. We were told that there had been several Robins caught which had come from The Netherlands, details were awaited which can be obtained from ringing records. The hoped for Firecrest was not seen but at the quarry we had brief views of the Little Owl which was very elusive; wisely tucking itself into a deep crevice in the rocks. At the Bill there were large numbers of Rock Pipits, a few Meadow Pipits, some distant Gannets, but the star of the show was a super male Black Redstart with bright white panels on the wings and grey and black head. Near Pulpit Rock we located some Turnstones and one Purple Sandpiper. By this time the cold wind was beginning to be felt by all and the group returned to the cars, pleased with some close sightings and about 47 species in total.

Mary Robins