30th November

The news that Portland evidently recorded the day's highest wind speed in south-west England would have come as no surprise to anyone who'd attempted an excursion into the field today; perhaps more of a surprise was the almost total absence of storm-driven seabirds, with 4 Kittiwakes and 2 new Great Northern Divers in Portland Harbour the only untoward sightings. Another 44 Goldfinches battling south over the Bill provided the day's only evidence of passage, whilst regulars included 2 Black Redstarts at Chesil Cove, a Common Scoter in Portland Harbour and 10 Pale-bellied Brent Geese at Ferrybridge.

Great Northern Diver and Skylark - Portland Harbour and Ferrybridge, 30th November 2015 © Pete Saunders

And to round off, an update on the Pheasant situation - a topic likely to be of no interest whatsoever to anyone from off-island! Although we remain puzzled as to where they originate from/who releases them, Pheasants have become a fixture once again; at least 2 broods were raised this summer at the Bill where a crèche of up to 18 were wandering about at times during the autumn. Just lately numbers there have dropped back into single figures but we're receiving more reports from elsewhere around the island; this male was in Nick Stantiford's garden at Sweethill yesterday:

...whilst this female was in Andrew Wells' garden at Killicks Hill today:

With further recent reports of singles in the Governor's Community Garden near the Borstal and of up to three birds on the undercliff below the Grove it seems as though Pheasant is going to be featuring in the log for quite some time to come.