16 Dec 2014

16 Dec 14 - Catching Up

With all the posts from the Pitcairn trip, I never got around to Posting about a mid December visit to Portland Bird Obs. Portland Bill is one of the top South Coast Birding sites for migrants. Not just Birds, as it has a good reputation for migrant Moths as well. I don't tend to visit very often, as I prefer to work my own local patches closer to home. But every now & them a rarity tempts me. In mid December, it was a Barred Warbler, which was about two weeks into a four week stay (it disappeared after Christmas). Unlike the UK's East Coast where Barred Warblers are regular, but scarce migrants, they are probably less than annual in Dorset. With several records this century having been single observer or brief sightings, then a Barred Warbler being seen well daily at the Obs, meant I couldn't resist. This individual was hanging around the edge of the Obs garden & defending the apples that had been put out. Every now & then it went missing for a few minutes, allowing the Blackcaps to appear, before they got chased off again.
Barred Warbler: It generally hung around the artificial apple tree
Barred Warbler: Only my second Dorset record, with the other being an individual in Winspit on 23 Sep 1995 (which my mate Edge found while we were Birding there)
Barred Warbler: There are two subspecies, but I've not seen anything indicating which subspecies was involved. The nominate nisoria European subspecies would be the obvious one, but given Portland's track record of attracting Eastern vagrants in late Autumn, then the merzbacheri subspecies from Western Siberia can't be dismissed out of hand. I've not seen any comment on the Obs website about the subspecies involved (or even if they can be separated in the hand)

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