1st January

An uninspiring dreary, breezy and ultimately washed-out start to the new year. Bird interest hadn't changed much and consisted of 5 Common Scoter and 4 Red-throated Divers through off the Bill, a wintering Black Redstart still in the Bill Quarry, 262 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 138 Dunlin, 4 Pale-bellied Brent Geese and a Goosander at Ferrybridge and 7 Black-necked Grebes, 2 Eider and a Great Northern Diver in Portland Harbour.

Eider in Portland Harbour and Pale-bellied Brents at Ferrybridge © Joe Stockwell:

Amongst an otherwise routine catch of moths at the Obs the tiny micro, Bramble False-feather Scheckensteinia festaliella, was a surprise; it's a reasonably frequently caught species here but certainly not in mid-winter: the books give the flight period as March to September, to which we can add past Portland records from as early as February and as late as October but this is our first in January © Martin Cade:

Finally, thanks to Debby Saunders for sending us through the details of some Mediterranean Gull colour-ring readings that she'd made yesterday at Ferrybridge (the co-ordinators of this project really are to be commended for sending through so quickly the life histories of birds that get reported to them); these are too numerous to show in full but as usual they make fascinating reading. We'll single out 3T74 © Debby Saunders:

This bird was first ringed as an adult at Antwerp, Belgium, on 16th May 2006 (presumably breeding there?) since when it's been resighted 104 times; these resightings are too mumerous to repeat in full so we've only left in here the first and last dates that the bird was seen in a particular area. Assuming it's still breeding in Belgium (it's never actually been seen there since) then it ups and leaves there straight after the breeding season and heads right off to southwest Ireland for the late summer/early winter. In our long ago days of looking at the Weymouth gulls when Meds were far scarcer than they are now we used to see evidence of a mid-winter influx of them which seems to be further evidenced here with sightings of this individual at Radipole in early February and now Ferrybridge in late December - is this early 'spring' passage? After the stop-offs in this area it next shows up in Hampshire/Sussex during the spring - maybe it's even breeding there these days? All great stuff and we just wish we could get data of this quality from the little passerines that we dabble around with for most of the year: