29th December

Quite a change overnight from millpond calm at dusk to 80mph gusts around dawn. Such a stir-up was always going to be worth paying attention to and the best of the storm-driven strays were a Sooty Shearwater off the Bill, a Manx Shearwater off Church Ope Cove and the Iceland Gull resurfacing in Chesil Cove; one or more Great Skuas were also about off the Bill. The only other reports were of 43 Brent Geese at Ferrybridge and singles of Great Northern Diver and Goosander in Portland Harbour.

From the Obs it was only possible to get a few very, very long range record snaps of the Sooty Shearwater...

...but as it looked to be lingering we nipped to the Bill tip to get a bit closer; sadly, just as we rolled up at the pump station a really vicious squall came through that not only rendered the sea almost invisible but, once it had cleared through, also put paid to the feeding flock © Martin Cade:

Such was the strength of the wind that a few birds - including this Great Crested Grebe - were sheltering closer to shore than usual in Portland Harbour © Debby Saunders: