18th January

A right old mid-winter miscellany on a lovely crisp but sunny day. If roam-about releases count as highlights then yet another Great Bustard flypast - this time involving a single that headed north over the island just after midday - was certainly the spectacle of the day. There was precious little else that was new, but 4 Goldcrests and 2 Firecrests at Foundry Close were additions to the wintering tally of those species; regulars included 8 Purple Sandpipers and the 2 Blackcaps at the Bill, singles of Grey Heron and Chiffchaff at Southwell, the Hooded Crow at the Grove, 2 Black Redstarts at Portland Castle and the Black Guillemot, 3 Eider and a selection of divers and grebes in Portland Harbour. Seawatching at the Bill came up with 14 Red-throated Divers, 4 Common Scoter, a Brent Goose and a Pomarine Skua.

Common Sandpiper & Slavonian Grebe and Firecrest - Portland Harbour and Foundry Close, 18th January 2015 © Martin Cade

...although the Common Sandpiper - which was on the shore at Bincleaves - was really outside our recording area we'll take the liberty of including it here as it did fly over harbour waters from time to time; it's of some interest since the views today finally put to bed any doubts about the identification of a bird that calls quite oddly and had hitherto only been seen in flight or at great distance - thanks to Joe Stockwell for being alert to its presence in the first place and to Will Bown for tracking down where it was hiding.