Saturday, 6 May 2017

From Portland Bill to Poole Harbour

Dorset has plenty of fine places to visit that are noted for their wildlife two of the best known are Portland Bill and Poole Harbour. So, on a day that didn't quite give us the light that we had hoped for we decided to visit these two places and as many nature reserves that we could fit in, in the time we had. Apart from the stunning views Portland is well known as a great place for bird watchers and photographers and any given day can provide new species that you may not have seen. Today the Wheatear and Whinchat were two that gave us the most fun but as always here there was talk of birds that we failed to see.

Walking around the southern tip of Portland is always a treat whether you follow the cliffs or head inland and so we did both. From the cliffpath Guillemots and Razorbills could be seen on the water as Kestrels and Crows flew overhead, as we headed inland the sounds of the sea changed to the near constant song of the Skylark.

 Eventually is was time to leave and head away from the sea to a completely different habitat of reeds, freshwater and mud. The weather didn't improve and wind ripping through the reeds seemed to keep the smaller birds deep within the cover. There was no sign of the Bearded Tits that we know are here and only the occasion call and briefest glimpse of Reed and Cetti's Warblers. Linnets were seen though, as well as many Swallows, Swifts and Martins and that is never a bad thing.
Suddenly, the unmistakable shape of not one but a pair of Marsh Harriers appeared above the reeds and gave us distant but great views of these stunning birds.

Marsh Harrier
From here we moved on to the southern shores of Poole Harbour to catch the tide coming in as well as the last of a dwindling light. As we sat watching the Grey and Ringed Plovers mixing with Wimbrell and Godwits an Egret fed on worms in a nearby pool and a large group of Sika trekked by. In the distance a couple of Swan Geese wandered across the grassland and another Marsh Harrier seemed to take great pleasure in spooking the birds that gathered on the disappearing mud.
Not a bad end to a good day.

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