Pirate's Cove, Wyke Regis
Tuesday September 13th 2016
Nearly 50 years ago on September 13th 1969 I experienced my first taste of what autumn migration can be like.
In a single day at Portland Bill I saw my first Richard's pipit, tawny pipit, little stints, melodious warbler, wood sandpiper and no less than three ortolan buntings.
And the following day produced two bluethroats at Radipole!
I have never enjoyed such a concentration of rare birds since, but today came close.
The day started at Radipole Lake, with a remarkable sighting not of a bird but of a mammal.
Stood at the viewpoint at the northern end of Buddleia Loop I had my first encounter with the family of otters that have been seen increasingly frequently of late.
Shortly afterwards a group of very smart bearded tits appeared at the edge of the reeds.
Moving on to the Fleet at Wyke Regis it was evident that a large number of migrants were on the move in the wet and thundery conditions.
Whitethroats were flying along the hedgerows and the fields held a number of wheatears, including a very bright Greenland wheatear.
Turning away from the fields my first look out to sea was made just in time to see an osprey flying north over Chesil Beach.
Reaching Pirate's Cove a whinchat was added to the day's list closely followed by willow warbler, blackcap and tree pipit.
Searching a distant hedgerow a pale bunting was found only to be very soon lost again.
Thirty minutes later it reappeared and a quick look through the telescope confirmed my initial suspicions that it was an ortolan bunting.
The walk back produced more outstanding sightings including a flyover marsh harrier and several remarkably bright yellow wagtails.