Trip reports

Ferrybridge and Portland Harbour

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

Wednesday, 15 January 2020

Once again we were lucky with the weather as, although breezy, the rain held off unlike the days before and after. Seventeen of us met up at Ferrybridge but as there was a very high tide we decided to move over to Portland Castle and see what was in the harbour. We soon spotted at least one Great Northern Diver, a few Red-breasted Mergansers and there were some Cormorants, Shags, a Grey Heron and a couple of Oystercatchers on the rocks protecting the marina. A walk along to the marina resulted in another Great Northern Diver, this one very close so giving us wonderful views.

We split up at this point with some going over to Chesil Cove and the rest of us returning to the Ferrybridge car park. Here a flock of Brent Geese were feeding on the grass on the other side of the visitors centre and, as we walked towards the Wyke Regis, a Little Grebe was close by on the Fleet. Crossing the road to Smallmouth, we could see some more Red-breasted Mergansers in the harbour, plus a distant Black-necked Grebe. To get better views we then walked along the Rodwell Trail towards the yacht club seeing a Stonechat, Robin, Dunnock Great Tit and some House Sparrows on the way. Another scan of the harbour gave us better views of three or four Black-necked Grebes plus some Great Crested Grebes. Walking back there was a female Eider off Smallmouth and here we crossed paths with the Chesil Cove party who had spotted a Pale-bellied amongst the Dark-bellied Brent Geese. They told us that at least two Black Redstarts were around Chesil Cove, so those remaining had a quick lunch and then drove over there. Sure enough the Back Redstarts were easily found along with a few Rock Pipits - a good end to the day with 26 species recorded.