17th February

More signs of spring today as the rapid return of fine conditions brought forth the first cross-Channel passerine arrivals as well as providing plenty of opportunity to get amongst the lingering winterers. The first dozen incoming Meadow Pipits trickled north along West Cliffs, with others obviously having arrived unseen since, by late afternoon, numbers on the ground had received quite a boost; the south of the island's first few Rooks of the year also showed up - although doubtless they'd wandered from no further than the mainland - whilst a second Merlin joined what was presumably the individual that's been reported widely in recent weeks. Long-stayers making the list included 16 Black-necked Grebes, 2 Slavonian Grebes and singles of Red-throated Diver, Black-throated Diver, Eider and Black Guillemot in Portland Harbour, the Hooded Crow at the Grove pig farm, a Black Redstart at Reap Lane, the Blackcap at the Obs and one of the Pheasants at the Bill; another single Red-throated Diver also passed through off the Bill.

The first Peacock butterfly of the year was on the wing at the Windmills.

Common Buzzard and Skylark - Southwell and Portland Bill, 17th February 2015 © Pete Saunders (Buzzard) and Martin Cade (Skylark)