16th February

A second successive overnight frost was enough to prompt a small reaction, with a Jack Snipe and a few new thrushes - including 2 Redwings - at the Bill and another Redwing at Chesil Cove; the other new arrivals were likely more related to the advance of the season, with the first Rook to stray out as far as the Bill so far this year and a general increase in Lesser Black-backed Gulls. Winterers still about included 3 Short-eared Owls, 2 Firecrests and a Black Redstart at the Bill and another Black Redstart at Reap Lane; seawatching produced 6 Red-throated Divers off the Bill and 3 Red-throated Divers and 3 Brent Geese off Chesil.

Rook - Portland Bill, 16th February 2016 © Martin Cade

The Neil Arnold Memorial Fund

We're very pleased to announce the establishment of The Neil Arnold Memorial Fund. Visitors to the website will recall the sad news last year of Neil Arnold's death; Neil was a well-known figure in the birding community both locally - including serving on the management committee of PBO for many years - and further afield, and he is particularly remembered as a pioneer teacher and author in the field of environmental education for young people.
Following his death, Neil's partner, Chris Milner, proposed establishing a fund in his memory that would provide financial support for young people wishing to visit Portland Bird Observatory; through kind donations from Chris and others it has now proved possible to formally establish the fund. Although it will be administered at PBO the fund is a UK registered charity in its own right, with its own trustees - including Chris Milner and Jane Arnold, one of Neil's daughters - and a separate bank account. Although the fund will initially support residential visits to PBO, as further funding becomes available it is hoped to extend its remit to encompass visits to any accredited UK bird observatory. We will shortly make available details of the funding arrangements for applicants, but in the meanwhile we welcome any donations in Neil's memory.