Distant Ducks

Sunday, 14th April 2013

Jon appeared this morning at around nine am (he had been working very late last night) as I was sitting on a rock way out on Portland's East Weares down by Folly Pier. He arrived with a big grin on his face and mumbled something about 'Merganser'. Shortly afterwards we might both have been seen 'legging it' (not quite running), up the slope, through the narrow overgrown path, back up to the railway line path, and thence on to overlook Durdle Pier. He was pretty sure he had spotted a Red-breasted Merganser there out on the sea. Inspection of a greatly enlarged photo, proved the point. The species is regular in Portland Harbour, but the first time ever we had seen one 'on patch'.

Merganser off Penn's Weare - 14th April 2013

For regular readers of this blog, (or the regular reader!), this may provide an interesting follow-up to my post a few days ago. We could only be sure of the bird's ID after the very long distance photo was enlarged.

Well, not only that... a duck showing white wing patches in with a flock of Common Scoter isn't always a Velvet Scoter. This one was though, and another bird for the list - conclusively proved by a photo.

Common and Velvet Scoter off Grove Point - 14th April 2013

This somewhat extraordinary day had begun for me with seeing an Arctic Skua at a great distance off Penn's Weare. Way down by King's Pier, from near the Portland Port fence, I also saw a Red-throated Diver in flight, really far away.

None of the species mentioned are rare off Portland of course, but they just don't occur that often, within viewing range off the 'East Side'.

A further seabird sighting of note this morning was a definite movement of Sandwich Terns towards Portland Bill. A minimum of ten birds, with five together at one stage.

Our East Weares year list is stacking up very well now with quite a few species we didn't get in 2012!

Wheatear - East Weare, Portland - April 14th 2013

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