23rd February

A day that was so pleasant that it merited a good bit more than the relatively mediocre selection on offer around the island. That said, there were a few more signs of spring including several Lesser Black-backed Gulls, a Common Buzzard and an alba wagtail heading north, a Redwing at Southwell and a Great Tit that dropped in at Ferrybridge. Sadly, the only other rewards from plenty of fieldwork were a good selection of the regulars: 12 Linnets, 2 Short-eared Owls, 2 Firecrests, a Dartford Warbler and a Chiffchaff at the Bill, another Chiffchaff at Southwell, a Great Spotted Woodpecker at Pennsylvania Castle, the Siberian Chiffchaff at Portland Castle and 3 Sandwich Terns and 2 Great Northern Divers in Portland Harbour.

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

The Bill lighthouse - 23rd February 2016 © Martin King

And news of a couple of interesting 'other orders' discoveries. At the weekend Seth Gibson, Danny Cooper and their pan-listing friends happened across the fungus, Collared Earthstar Geastrum triplex, at Pennsylvania Castle:

...Bryan Edwards, via Ken Dolbear, has kindly let us know that this is the first record for the island (evidently the nearest occurrence on Bryan's database is from near Dorchester). Ken Dolbear has also sent us through a photo of a new lichen for the island - Arthonia cinnabarina:

...Ken reports that he first discovered this lichen last year on a tree beside the Bottomcombe Trail and that the specimen is still there today, albeit now somewhat worn (...if only birds were that long-staying/twitchable!)