Sunday 14 April 2024

Dorset - Isle of Portland - Western Subalpine Warbler Steals the Show!

The original plan was to visit Portland Saturday but the weather forecast indicated fog over the island which lingered at the top of the island until mid-day so I spent the day on the farm instead. I added Willow Warbler and Whitethroat to the list.

As events turned out visiting Portland today turned into a masterstroke. I started in the harbour and Ferrybridge with a couple of Whimbrel, Ringed Plover Turnstone and a few Sandwich Tern and Shelduck. Little did I know that the couple of Wheatear I saw were just the tip of the ice-burg.

I moved on up to the Verne and Fancy’s Farm which was littered with Wheatear! News broke of a Western Subalpine Warbler that was found by a visiting group from Gwent at the top of the strips and top fields. There was no time to waste I scuttled back to the car and headed for Sweethill Farm! I met Viv on the way and the next couple of hours drew a blank before the bird showed briefly! Numbers at the twitch were dwindling and as the afternoon wore on the bird showed well on several occasions which was a relief!

A male Redstart was a pleasant addition for further down the fields along with a steady movement of Wheatear through the area!

There was also a couple of Whinchat of which I saw a stunning male. I revisited the Subalpine Warbler a couple of times guiding people to the right area. Late afternoon I walked the fields moving down to The Hump and Reap Lane where I teamed up with Dave Bishop. A few more Wheatear were added to the tally but not much else!