PORTLAND – EASTERN SIDE AT PENN WEARE AND EAST WEARE – PORTLAND BILL OLD HILL FORTUNESWELL – FERRYBRIDGE – ABBOTSBURY SWANNERY
WEATHER: Rain and more rain, broken by sunny spells
Yes you guessed it, our last day was ruined by the rain, we got soaked when it absolutely chucked it down first thing. We decided to walk the old railway track along the east side of Portland, our walk started well it wasn’t raining. We saw several Goldcrests, a couple of Chiffchaffs and lots of migrating birds flying over.
Our view of the lower part of East Weare was spectacular as we walked along the old railway track which was high up along the cliffs. We saw Blackcaps, our first Song Thrush and lots of other common species but not the Ring Ouzel we were hoping for. A Peregrine sat out nicely on the cliffs above us, we also saw Common Kestrel and both a Merlin and later a Sparrowhawk were seen by me only.
Then it started to rain and at one stage it was torrential, it had waited until we were the farthest from shelter to open up, we got a soaking. When the rain eased off we were wet and cold, we had to wade through deep puddles and some of the group got wet feet. We abandoned our walk.
We then found ourselves in the warm café at Portland Bill drinking cappuccinos and drying out, as we left the café the sky opened again and soaked us some more.
We bought lunch and drove round to Fancys Farm car park to eat it, we watched Wallabys and Rare breed goats through the fences as we ate. The rain stopped but the wind had picked up significantly. Our walk around the Verne Battery and down to the church at The Grove produced two Chiffchaffs and a Blackcap.
We gave up because of the strong wind and tried one more place where a reasonable amount of shelter could be found. The sycamore trees along Old Hill road in Fortuneswell were pretty much out of the wind so we stopped there. Found our only Firecrest of the trip, also more Goldcrests, Blue Tits, Great Tits, Long-tailed Tits and some Chaffinches.
It was approaching 3pm everyone was cold and damp so we decided to call it a day, we made a short stop at Ferrybridge before retiring for the day. Lots of Dark-bellied Brent Geese were joined a one or two of the Pale-bellied variety, we saw 4 Bar-tailed Godwits, 15 Dunlin, 2 Little Stints and a good number of Greater Ringed Plovers. Lots of the usual gulls milled around couple of Skylarks were feeding on the shore very close to us.
A Pale-bellied Brent Goose with two Dark-bellied Brents
We called it a day after that and went back to the digs with plans to visit the Swannery at Abbotsbury at dusk hoping to see Cattle Egrets coming in to roost. Well we did just that and saw 1 Great Egret, 3 Little Egrets and 2 Cattle Egrets! We got back to Weymouth dead on 7pm just in time to enjoy our last meal at the local pub.
The sky did clear at times but the strong wind made it hard to enjoy birding - this is Ferrybridge at 3:30pm