This 4-day tour, based in Weymouth, concentrates heavily on wintering hot-spot locations of many birds in this beautiful south coast county. Birds we shall look for include several rare species as well as regular migrants. On Portland regular wintering species include: Firecrest, Yellow-browed Warbler, Black Redstart, Purple Sandpiper, Short-eared Owl. Whilst at Ferrybridge, Portland Harbour and the fleet we can look for Grebes and Divers, Goosander, Red-breasted Merganser and perhaps an unusual Gull, Tern or Wader.
Purple Sandpipers are regular winter residents on Portland
For two years (2017/18) a Lesser Yellowlegs has made Lodmoor its winter-home and last autumn (2018) a Ring-necked Duck resides at Radipole Lake. The 'Fleet' ( a series of brackish pools sheltered from Lyme Bay by Chesil Bank and stretches from Ferrybridge all the way to Abbotsbury Swannery) usually houses Greater Scaup, sometimes Long-tailed Duck and plenty of Brent Geese which often have Pale-bellied Geese in the flock with them. Cattle Egrets have made a massive invasion of Southern England in recent times, there are currently flocks of over 30 birds in the Weymouth area (Autumn 2018/19).
Add to that the prized birds that we can look for at Arne and the Wareham Forest. The heathland at both of these beautiful birding sites holds Dartford Warbler, Common Stonechat and Woodlark, and both have the prospect of hosting a wintering Great Grey Shrike and Hen Harriers, whilst Merlins often pass through.
Short-eared Owl taken on Portland
Wareham Forest is an excellent site for finding Yellowhammer, Woodlark, Goldcrest, Common Crossbill, Woodpeckers, Siskin, Redpoll, Mistle Thrush and a host of common woodland species. Whilst Arne has the added prospect of seeing Pied Avocet, Godwits, Eurasian Spoonbill, Grebes and Divers as we scan Poole Harbour from various locations around Arne and Studland Bay.
We meet up around noon at our superb Guest House which is just a few minutes walk from East Fleet. For the afternoon will shall spend time at Radipole Lake looking for Bearded Tit, Cetti's Warbler and many species of gulls and ducks. Recently (autumn 2018) the pre-roost gathering of gulls has attracted Franklin's Gull, Ring-billed Gull amongst hundreds of Mediterranean Gulls.
We shall visit all the sites named above and a few more thrown in, our itinerary for days 2 - 4 depends entirely on the weather, bird movements and the discretion of the guide. Rest assured you will have a fantastic time visiting Portland, Ferrybridge and the Fleet, RSPB Arne, Wareham Forest (and heathland) and Lodmoor Nature Reserve.
Franklin's Gull with Mediterranean Gull at Radipole Lake Autumn 2018
A morning’s birding at one of the local reserves if time permits, transport to Weymouth Train station
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