Thinking it was still a little early in the year, I was surprised to find both parking areas packed on arrival. I pulled up on grass verge (and remember the suncream this time!) and headed out to the watch-point where several birders were already gathered. There were plenty of Buzzards about to check through, and before long the first Goshawk was picked out. This was followed by a pair of Hobbies, lots more Buzzards and at least 2 Crossbill flying about. Woodlark, tree pipit and nightjar were all heard and seen from the watchpoint, though I failed to connect. One birder then picked out a distant buzzard which seemed to be a promising candidate for honey. The heat haze certainly didn't help, and I only got onto the bird just as it dropped below the tree line - the wait continued. The morning was broken up by another Goshawk (at least 2 showed throughout the morning but it's likely more were present), the occasional flyover Crossbill and a male Cuckoo. I was somewhat surprised (and probably overreacted) to a flyover pair of Hawfinches, I hadn't even realised they bred in the south of the country. Eventually, one of the guys behind the main crowd said he had a good candidate heading in our direction. I was first onto the bird, it certainly wasn't a buzzard. As it got closer, we all got good views, and could see that it was indeed a Honey Buzzard. When I eventually looked up from my scope, I realised that it was virtually above us, and the bins allowed some great views of the bird's distinctive shape whist soaring. Great to finally catch up with one.
Honey Buzzard - Acres Down
On the walk back to the car, I located a singing male Firecrest to round the morning off. I considered heading to Portland next for the rose-coloured starling, but there was no further news by the time I reached Dorchester so I headed home.
I checked the evening reports around 6:45pm, and saw there was a black-headed bunting on Portland! A bit of manic drive down ensued and I arrived in good time. I was able to park near the obs and walk/run to Culverwell. On arrival, the birders on site told me they'd been on site for an hour and hadn't seen it. Things weren't looking good, but seconds later a large yellow-brown bird popped out. Raising my bins, I could see it was the 1st winter male BLACK-HEADED BUNTING! What a stunner! Can't remember the last time one of these was twitchable, so a great bird all round!
BLACK-HEADED BUNTING - Portland
Whilst watching the bunting, we someone picked out the Rose-Coloured Starling flying around. Once I'd had my fill of the bunting I went over and got some closer views. I saw a moulting adult back in late 2014, but close views of this fresh spring adult was a great end to the day!
Rose-Coloured Starling - Portland