Dorset Walks - guided walks with Bob Ford

Bob Ford's Video Blog

Chiswell, Portland
Monday December 10th 2018



Seeing a rare bird is a very exciting event, but when you find the rarity yourself it's even more thrilling.

Two days ago I was leading a group of birdwatchers on a Heights Hotel Birdbreak weekend when we literally stumbled across this Little Bunting in the most unlikely of places - the back of Chesil Beach. The photos and videos on this page were all taken today, at the same site where the events described below took place two days ago.



The bush in the video is in the garden of the Chesil Gallery, a building on the very edge of the beach itself. On Saturday morning this was one of the most sheltered spots on a very windy day; we had already seen a Black Redstart and a few Rock Pipits feeding in the area. When this bird flew up the striking white edges to its blackish tail reminded me of a pipit, but it looked too small and in addition its behaviour was different. Instead of flying off it turned towards us and landed behind the tree on a wall. Checking it out through my binoculars I could see a small but stout conical bill, so it certainly was no pipit. Then the bird turned its head and revealed bright chestnut cheek patches with neat black and buff edges.



At this point I strongly suspected that we had found a Little Bunting but thought that there was just an outside chance that a closer inspection might just show that it was just a bright Reed Bunting. So I sent out a text alerting the local birders that I had found a "probable Little Bunting".

By the time I had put my phone away again the bird had left the wall and flown onto the beach landing somewhere behind the next building, looking very small indeed in flight. We moved away to a point just up the path to get a better view, but try as we might we could not get any sign of it at all. For the best part of ten minutes we waited where we were, not wanting to risk disturbing the bird by approaching it too closely.

I was just thinking that perhaps that was all we were ever going to see of it when it flew back to its original spot, landing in the bushes in the garden of the Chesil Gallery again. Through my telescope I could still see the striking face pattern and became even more convinced that this was not a Reed Bunting. The rest of the group were finding it difficult to get onto the bird and the dull, overcast light did not help. Ten minutes later everyone in the group had seen it but with it still in the tree none of us had gained a really clear view. However I was now convinced of its identity and sent out another text reporting the "Little Bunting was showing well now". A little bit optimistic but I desperately wanted someone else to turn up so that my group could continue with our planned weekend's birdwatching.



At this point the bird flew out of the tree and looked as if it was going to fly off again - but amazingly it turned round and landed at the edge of the track right in front of us. Now all of its distinctive features could clearly be seen, especially the striking head pattern and pink legs. Another text went out pinpointing exactly where it was, just in case we had to leave before anyone else arrived.



We had now all obtained excellent views of this very handsome bird - a new bird for most of the group. I was just putting my camera up to my telescope to get a few record shots when a car drove up the track and we had to take our eyes off the bird. When we looked back it had gone.

It was now half an hour after we had first found the bird and still no other birders had arrived. So I sent one final text out alerting others that I had to leave the bird and again spelling out exactly where it was likely to be.





Our next site was Portland Castle, where we hoped to get better views of a Black Redstart. In such strong winds very few birds at all were visible and we soon drove on to Ferrybridge. Today the wind had died right down and one of the smartest Black Redstarts I have ever seen was dashing about the rocks at the edge of the harbour.






If you would like to join us on a walk please visit http://www.dorsetwalks.com

or you can keep in contact via Twitter (@bobthebirder) or Facebook http://www.facebook.com/natureportfolio

All my videos are high resolution and look much better viewed on YouTube at 1080 pixels and full screen.
See http://www.youtube.com/user/bobthebirder.


about me...

my other pages:
Dorset Walks
YouTube Channel
Vimeo Channel
Wildlife Photo Library

video archive:

December 2018
10/12 - little bunting
04/12 - ruff

November 2018
20/11 - ring-necked duck
06/11 - glaucous gull

October 2018
30/10 - common scoter
20/10 - two-spot goby
18/10 - greenshank
12/10 - black-faced blenny
02/10 - hornet

September 2018
21/09 - common blenny
09/09 - fifteen-spined stickleback
06/09 - small copper

August 2018
02/08 - pout and wrasse

July 2018
13/07 - compass jellyfish

June 2018
17/06 - toads
14/06 - lesser stag beetle

May 2018
08/05 - little egret

April 2018
09/04 - sea anemones

March 2018
19/03 - pipits
05/03 - ross's gull
04/03 - shags and cormorants

February 2018
16/02 - white-fronted geese

January 2018
23/01 - brambling
14/01 - black-necked grebe
12/01 - starlings



December 2017
16/12 - brent geese

November 2017
29/11 - goosanders
18/11 - cormorants
10/11 - field mouse
09/11 - avocets

October 2017
11/10 - lesser yellowlegs
09/10 - skylarks
04/10 - marine worm

September 2017
29/09 - crows
23/09 - great white egret
20/09 - prawns
18/09 - snipe
13/09 - american sandpipers
06/09 - dor beetle

August 2017
26/08 - sea slug

July 2017
30/07 - brown hairstreak
12/07 - silver-washed fritillaries
04/07 - common shrew

June 2017
04/06 - grey mullet

May 2017
16/05 - sedge warbler
02/05 - adders

April 2017
30/04 - reed warbler
16/04 - tiger beetle
15/04 - wood ants
13/04 - ducks
09/04 - seabirds

March 2017
11/03 - grey heron

February 2017
19/02 - wagtails
09/02 - finches



December 2016
17/12 - reed bunting
13/12 - turnstones
08/12 - cattle egrets

November 2016
12/11 - purple sandpipers
01/11 - grey plover

October 2016
19/10 - sika stag
15/10 - bass fishing
13/10 - dippers
07/10 - magpies
01/10 - ivy bees

September 2016
22/09 - dor beeetle
18/09 - osprey
13/09 - ortolan bunting

August 2016
25/08 - garganey

July 2016
30/07 - wood and green sandpipers
20/07 - white admiral

June 2016
21/06 - green hairstreak
12/06 - bumble-bees
05/06 - small mountain ringlet

May 2016
17/05 - bloody-nosed beetle
16/05 - cardinal beetle
04/05 - water vole
03/05 - black-tailed godwit

April 2016
20/04 - chiffchaff
18/04 - cetti's warbler
17/04 - blackcap
13/04 - fulmar
02/04 - great crested newt

March 2016
29/03 - oil beetle
13/03 - cetti's warbler
06/03 - weasel
02/03 - pallas's warbler

February 2016
29/02 - spoonbill
19/02 - raven
12/02 - tits and finches
01/02 - dung beetle

January 2016
26/01 - storm at portland bill
04/01 - red-breasted merganser



December 2015
30/12 - storm frank
27/12 - short-eared owl
22/12 - male marsh harrier
18/12 - rock pipit
14/12 - great northern diver

November 2015
30/11 - tame robin
22/11 - fox hunting voles
16/11 - daubenton's bat

October 2015
29/10 - kestrel
25/10 - chiffchaff
21/10 - water vole

September 2015
29/09 - long-winged conehead
15/09 - grey phalarope
10/09 - little egret
06/09 - kingfisher

August 2015
25/08 - grey heron
03/08 - little egret

July 2015
23/07 - silver-washed fritillary
22/07 - wood ants
21/07 - red deer
08/07 - high brown fritillary

June 2015
30/06 - leaf-cutter bee
29/06 - female marsh harrier
27/06 - fox family
21/06 - emperor dragonfly
15/06 - green tiger beetle
07/06 - smooth-hound

May 2015
28/05 - pearl-bordered fritillary
27/05 - pearl-bordered fritillary
26/05 - wood warbler
24/05 - common tern
09/05 - swallows
03/05 - male marsh harrier

April 2015
21/04 - greenshank
13/04 - roe deer
09/04 - sandwich terns
08/04 - kite and heron
06/04 - red fox

March 2015
29/03 - tree sparrow
24/03 - buntings
20/03 - solar eclipse
18/03 - bonaparte's gull
14/03 - godwits
10/03 - little egret
07/03 - spoonbills
03/03 - red kites
02/03 - mute swans

February 2015
24/02 - marsh harriers

January 2015
31/01 - little egret
27/01 - kestrel
20/01 - teal
17/01 - magpie
11/01 - rook



December 2014
27/12 - bearded tits
21/12 - marsh harriers
13/12 - purple sandpipers
10/12 - shags
07/12 - buzzard

November 2014
19/11 - langton herring
15/11 - drake scaup

October 2014
25/10 - long-tailed duck
19/10 - gulls
06/10 - wheatear

September 2014
23/09 - radipole lake
14/09 - new forest
07/09 - sark

August 2014
28/08 - british wildlife centre
12/08 - brown argus
11/08 - migrant hawker
04/08 - hoverfly and bee

July 2014
29/07 - east anglia day 4
28/07 - east anglia day 3
27/07 - east anglia day 2
26/07 - east anglia day 1
15/07 - peacock butterfly
09/07 - wareham forest
07/07 - alner's gorse

June 2014
30/06 - moreton
22/06 - jellyfish
21/06 - dragonflies
16/06 - black hairstreak
14/06 - adonis blue
09/06 - marsh fritillaries

May 2014
27/05 - charmouth
26/05 - terns
24/05 - roe deer
20/05 - fox
19/05 - sleepy ducks

April 2014
28/04 - dartford warblers
16/04 - dipper

March 2014
22/03 - kingston maurward
07/03 - red squirrels

February 2014
23/02 - deer
15/02 - mergansers
11/02 - slimbridge
01/02 - portland bill



December 2013
26/12 - Brünnich's guillemot
13/12 - amoeba
10/12 - marsh harriers
06/12 - lizards & kestrel

November 2013
26/11 - surf scoter
12/11 - stonechats
03/11 - marsh harriers

October 2013
20/10 - sandpiper & ibis
06/10 - dolphins
01/10 - hobbies

September 2013
16/09 - more kingfishers
13/09 - kingfishers
10/09 - common darter
06/09 - penn weare

August 2013
26/08 - goldfinch
25/08 - clouded yellow
04/08 - silver-spotted skipper

July 2013
07/07 - gulls & fish
02/07 - red-crested pochard

June 2013
14/06 - east anglia
09/06 - new forest
02/06 - cygnets

May 2013
26/05 - cuckoo
20/05 - goslings
11/05 - mute swans
04/05 - canada geese

April 2013
28/04 - fox
15/04 - garganey
04/04 - deer & hares

March 2013
30/03 - brown rat
25/03 - med gulls
19/03 - mischievous crow
09/03 - water rail
08/03 - microscopy
05/03 - hoodie

February 2013
12/02 - finches

January 2013
25/01 - portland bill
22/01 - snipe
19/01 - wigeon
12/01 - bittern
05/01 - snow bunting

December 2012
18/12 - purple sandpipers
11/12 - larks & pipits
09/12 - bearded tits
01/12 - teal

November 2012
18/11 - nuthatch
03/11 - starlings
01/11 - hare & deer

October 2012
23/10 - kingfisher
16/10 - herons
01/10 - lizards

September 2012
28/09 - squirrels
25/09 - otter
18/09 - spiders
14/09 - butterflies
11/09 - grebes
04/09 - dragonflies
03/09 - holly blue

August 2012
28/08 - common blue
25/08 - sandpipers
23/08 - woodpecker
22/08 - bees & flies





this blog
is best viewed
in anything other
than Internet Explorer
- download Chrome here -