Auks everywhere and a visitor from the north (and south)

I went sea watching at Portland with a fellow NGB-er, Olly. When we arrived in Portland, our first point of call was Admiralty Quarry where a Hooded Crow had been lurking for the past week or so. After a bit of searching, we found it. I certainly didn’t expect to see a Hooded Crow in the South of England! In the UK, they’re usually only seen in parts of Scotland and the very north of England.

Record shot of Hooded Crow - Portland, June 2014

Record shot of Hooded Crow – Portland, June 2014

Portland Bill

Portland Bill

We then headed to Portland Bill, a good place for sea watching. I’ve never been sea watching before, so I saw a lot of “lifers” today. Olly quickly pointed out a group of gulls out at sea, which turned out to be mostly Kittiwakes. Nice to see such high numbers of them as I’ve only ever seen one until today!

The view from Portland Bill

The view from Portland Bill

Mixed in with them were Razorbills, Guillemots and Shags. The sea was a bit choppy, so the birds would seem to disappear at times and then reappear due to the waves. There were also 3 Razorbills on a cliff near by so it was nice to see some stationary!

Razorbills at Portland Bill

Razorbills at Portland Bill

Occasionally, a Gannet flew past – my first since 2008. I can remember it being the highlight of the ferry crossing to Jersey! There were both adult and juvenile Gannets flying around today, which was good for comparing. A while later, 3 Manx Shearwaters flew past too.

We then moved onto a different part of the island to see if there were any Fulmars about. Success – 2 were gliding close to the cliff. The only bird I was hoping to see today that we didn’t see was a Puffin, so I’ll just have to return! We briefly stopped at Ferrybridge, the route onto and off the island but didn’t see much asides from Little Terns and Ringed Plovers.

We also went to Cowards Marsh in Christchurch as a Glossy Ibis has been seen there regularly for the past few weeks. It’s also been seen at Farlington Marches lately as well as Titchfield Haven but I’d not caught up with it. My luck changed today as it was present at the marsh.

Glossy Ibis - ringed as a chick at Doñana National Park, Spain in July 2013

Glossy Ibis. This one was ringed as a chick at Doñana National Park, Spain in July 2013

All in all, it was a very successful and enjoyable day. I’m looking forward to returning to Portland later in the year when I shall be staying at the Bird Observatory after receiving a grant from British Birds.

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