A GREAT SPOTTED CUCKOO was found on Portland on Friday 13th May and was present all day, feeding on newly emerged caterpillars. CJW was in charge of trip co-ordination this week as following his week at work, he could still think logically whereas I was frazzled. He decided to play safe with his decision, and we headed to Westport at 05:50hrs.
We had only been walking around the lake for about half an hour when news came that it had stayed overnight and was still present. CJW hastily made the decision and we set off for Dorset, leaving Westport at 06:45hrs. The motorways were quiet and we made good progress. However the problem was the total lack of news coming from Portland. After this initial sighting, there was no news at all until 08:50hrs, by which time we were already in Somerset.
We made it safely onto the Isle of Portland, reminiscing about our last visit here in 2013. We parked up on a small housing estate and walked along the footpath to view the paddocks, along with c40 other birders. We were soon watching the Great Spotted Cuckoo as it perched in view on occasions before dropping out of view. But it wasn't until a bit of clever marshalling of those dastardly photographers that allowed the bird to fly to its favoured feeding area and we had excellent views.
We had been watching the Cuckoo for over an hour, and we decided to head off down to the Bill for a spot of sea watching. Apart from a few Razorbills, Guillemots, Gannets and Fulmars going past, it was extremely quiet. We did have very good views of a Whimbrel though as it fed just in front of us.
We made a quick visit to Lodmoor to see if the RED-RUMPED SWALLOW was still knocking around, but there had been no sign for well over an hour. We did enjoy seeing a full summer plumaged Grey Plover and a s/pl Knot that were on one of the pools. Amazingly, this is my first ever visit to Lodmoor without a tick!
And so completed another succesful day for CJW. In fact, he has now seen all the British Cuckoos. And for those hell bent on just seeing a bird once and then never ever seeing one again because its been ticked off, here are a few more photos for you to slobber over.
|My first Great Spotted Cuckoo on Spurn in July 2003|
|My second in Norfolk in August 2009|
|And now my third in Dorset in 2016|