I was at home getting ready to head off to see my folks in Hertfordshire for Boxing Day, when the unbelievable news came through of a Brünnich's Guillemot in Portland Harbour! A mainland Brunnich's just 1.5hrs away from home was too much to resist, so once packed, the Mrs and I made the detour!
We arrived at around 1.30pm to be told by birding mate of old "Edge" (great to see you mate!), that the bird had been showing very close amongst the boats in the Sailing Academy Marina but dived and then disappeared! So we joined the assembled crowd and after 10 minutes there was still no sign and news came through the bird had been relocated east of Portland Castle area. A quick 500M dash round the edge of the harbour and finally the bird was in the scope! It showed for around 10 minutes (see video below), but dived, and once again it vanished with rumours that the bird had moved further out to sea towards Dock Road! Although a relief to see and pretty good in the scope I must admit, I did feel a bit cheated, knowing that the bird had been showing so much closer earlier in the day!
Luckily, about 30 minutes later and the bird returned and was happily feeding ridiculously close to the harbour wall where the following photos were taken at just after 3pm. A truly great experience. I haven't checked the previous records, but assume this must be the first twitchable bird away from Shetland and probably the first ever on the south coast.
Seems as if the bird has been around for several days, so hopeully it will remain for those that make the journey! The bird seemed to be regularly feeding an area as shown on map below, which may be helpful for anyone visiting.
Also in the harbour were: 1 Black Guillemot, countless RB Mergansers and at least 2 GN Divers
|Great Northern Diver|
|The bird seemed to be covering the 500M+ as shown between arrows - often diving and covering good distances underwater|