24th November

Clear skies and this winter's first touch of frost on the ground represented a profound change over what's gone before thus far this month but the quality of birding continued to exceed expectations. Although the Hoopoe that made a brief reappearance at Avalanche Road, a Lapland Bunting that flew over at the Bill and the ever-present Hooded Crow and Black Guillemot at the Grove and Portland Harbour respectively were the clear winners in the rarity stakes there was almost as much interest in the number of out of season migrants that made landfall at the Bill, where 4 Chiffchaffs, 2 Swallows, a Ring Ouzel and a Willow Warbler all graced the tally. The day's other migrants there were rather more seasonable and included a few dozen new Wood Pigeons and Stock Doves, 11 Fieldfares amongst otherwise small numbers of thrushes, 4 Blackcaps and a Brambling, whilst 6 Lapwings passed over at Ferrybridge; a total of 7 Black Redstarts scattered about the island and a Great Spotted Woodpecker at Easton were perhaps more likely to be winterers. The only reports from the sea were of 11 Common Scoter, 5 Red-breasted Mergansers, 3 Red-throated Divers and a Great Northern Diver through off the Bill.

Several Red Admirals and a single Clouded Yellow were amongst butterflies on the wing at the Bill. Despite the plunge in overnight temperatures there were still a few immigrant moths on the wing, with 5 Diamond-back Moth, 3 Rusty-dot Pearl and a Silver Y caught at the Obs.

Willow Warbler - Portland Bill, 24th November 2014 © Martin Cade
...the latest ever 'new' Willow Warbler to be trapped and ringed at the Obs.