I have just spent a quite marvellous hour listening to a podcast created by Charlie Moores at 'The Sound Approach' in which he chats to Portland Bill Bird Observatory's affable warden, Martin Cade. It is a delight. The chat - this is no formal interview - is full of anecdote and insight into the good work of PBO down the years, their current plans and what it is that makes this particular warden tick.
You can hear the podcast for yourself by clicking here.
Portland Bill BO is one of those places that I have always enjoyed visiting but have not visited often enough. My first visit was in September 1977, when a Balearic Shearwater sailed onto my British list (there was also a sick Leach's Petrel in a cardboard box). This was followed by encounters with a Yellow-billed Cuckoo (1979) and an Ivory Gull (1980). I didn't actually stay at the observatory until 1982, a late-April sojourn that was characterised by snow and a raging hangover. Since then it has been a place that I have largely neglected, mainly down to it being just far away enough to be a pain to get to and my own affiliation to Dungeness BO. However, two more residencies (2003 and 2009) rekindled an affection for the place - it is sobering and also remiss of me to have allowed nine years to elapse since I last stayed there. It is great for birds, moths, butterflies and plants. It has a forward thinking and inclusive bunch of enthusiasts taking care of its legacy. Why have I not visited more often?