News broke of a Brunnichs Guillemot in Portland Harbour on Boxing Day. Unlike the majority of records it had two things going for it a) it was not in the Shetlands and b) it was not dying. Around 100 got there that afternoon including Jay Ward who got some great images. Yesterday the weather was pretty bad with strong winds, though it showed all day, so naturally Colin and I had to get there today. Having not made any big trip since mid October it made a nice change to get out on a major twitch.
We arrived at Portland Castle around 0920 to find a large crowd strung along the quay. A quick scan of the moored boat opposite revealed the winter plumage Black Guillemot along with the usual hoards of Red Breasted Mergansers and Shags. The Brunnichs was further north swimming around the pier so I made my way there bumping into many familiar faces. Ended up watching the bird with Ron Cousins for quite a while. It was often distant, and rarely on the surface for more than a minute at a time but on occasion came very close and posed for us.
A scan from the quay produced a couple of Razorbills and single Great Northern and Black Throated Divers. Eventually after an hour chasing the Brunnichs up and down the quayside we decided to leave just as the heavy rain arrived.
After a coffee, made our way to the Fleet where a large number of Mediterranean Gulls could be found among the Brents and Dunlin. The harbour was the main attraction. We never found the Red Necked Grebe, but a flock of 16 Black Necked Grebes, a single Slavonian and three or four Black Throated Divers was nice.
Around 1200 we made our way to the north end of Radipole (the RSPB vistors centre a sorry state after the floods) and a playing field where a Glossy Ibis was putting on a show in the sunshine.
We then headed of to West Bexington for a 2w Glaucous Gull. Luckily approaching the turning we found a car load scoping from a lay by on the main road. Although distant, the bird was fairly easy to locate and showed well, particularly when flushed by dog walkers.
Headed home after this-would have been good to get to Brixham and it's White Billed Diver but too far with the time available so we called in at Middlebere Heath near Wareham. Unfortunately it rained heavily and got rather cold and thus we were unable to locate any Dartford Warblers.