Monday, 30 April 2018

Golden Oriole (female type) - 30 Apr 2018 - Portland, Dorset

Early reports that the Golden Orioles had remained on the island overnight prompted a little trip over to Portland with Justin T @Woodworser

We arrived around Midday and after making enquiries at Portland Bird Observatory (PBO) headed in the direction of the Top Fields to be told that the bird (a Bird, possibly the male) had been seen heading away from the Observers. Pausing briefly to take in a gorgeous male Common Redstart we wandered over in the direction of Sweet Hill. No Golden Oriole but quite a few Common Whitethroat were evident in the hedgerows. A beautiful male Greenfinch flew through against the cold northerly wind and one or two Swallows were also heading north. We returned to the Barn area of Top Fields, which we decided afforded our best shot at connecting with the Golden Oriole.

While we waited the male and also now 2 female Common Redstart were feeding in the adjacent paddock areas, giving fantastic prolonged views. We didn't have too long to wait and after a couple of false alarms, at 1pm, a beautiful female type Golden Oriole flew along the hedge, affording great flight views. Flying across the next field it perched up about 100 metres away for a few minutes in good light. Thanks to the original finders and the usual great location information from PBO! A fantastic bird and the second I have now seen on Portland - the first being a (sub-adult male I think) bird-in-the-hand last year on 18/05/17. I'm sure others will have fantastic photos which will emerge over the next few days but anyway, here's a few snaps I managed to get which will help me to remember this successful mini-twitch. (Wouldn't want to be greedy but what a pity we dipped the male bird! (see below))

Post Script - Returning to Portland on 1st May, I struck very lucky on my second visit. A couple of minutes after I arrived in Top Fields with the female type Golden Oriole showing really well on the top of a hedge, the male bird flew in, along the hedge giving brief but scintillating views and then the pair of them promptly disappeared out of sight. "Stunning" is a much overused word but the male really is a STUNNER! And all the more so for seeing it set against grey Portland Stone as a passage bird. A great couple of days spring birding.

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