15th March

Before getting on with today's news we have several administrative and other announcements to make. First off, we're very pleased to report that we have a new assistant warden in post for the season: Erin Taylor comes to us after successful spells on Skokholm and North Ronaldsay and is already proving to be a great asset - we're sure everyone will extend a warm welcome to Erin as they encounter her through the year.

We also have news of an important administrative change at PBO: after more than 50 years as an unincorporated registered charity, the Charity Commission have approved our application to become a Charitable Incorporated Organisation; the CIO is a relatively new charitable structure that in particular affords trustees greater financial peace of mind than was hitherto the case (in the old structure they were personally responsible for the financial or other liabilities of the charity). The Constitution of the new CIO may be examined here. Whilst this change will have no noticeable effect on the day to day running of PBO it has necessitated a change in some of our banking arrangements, notably that we have a new current bank account; with this in mind we ask that members amend the details of membership standing orders that they have in our favour - this may be done easily via online banking facilities or by contacting us for an appropriate form. Our new account details are: 
Account name Portland Bird Observatory
Account number 19754723
Sort code 09-01-29

Finally, we'd like to remind visitors of the small increase in overnight accommodation fees that took effect on 1st March: the overnight charge for members increased from £15 to £17, with the non-members charge increasing from £20 to £22. 

A nicely varied selection from today's legwork that was undertaken in pleasantly bright and mild conditions - hard to believe there's snow forecast again for the weekend. A flurry of another 4 new Firecrests at the Bill - that joined 2 lingerers still present there - came despite the fact that passerine arrivals were otherwise pretty thinly spread, with 5 Wheatears, 3 Chiffchaffs and singles of Redwing and Goldcrest on the ground and 70 Meadow Pipits through overhead being the best on offer at the Bill. A surprise elsewhere was a (likely Siberian) Lesser Whitethroat visiting a garden feeder at Southwell where a Blackcap was also present; another Firecrest was also present at Weston, whilst winterers still about included 4 Purple Sandpipers and 2 Short-eared Owls at the Bill. The sea got plenty of attention and returned totals of 17 Sandwich Terns, 10 Common Scoter, 8 Mediterranean Gulls, 6 Red-throated Divers, 3 Avocets and singles of Black-throated Diver, Great Northern Diver and Manx Shearwater through off the Bill. Four Sandwich Terns, 2 each of Shelduck, Slavonian Grebe and Black-necked Grebe and singles of Redshank and Kittiwake were at Ferrybridge/Portland Harbour.

Sandwich Tern and Kittiwake at Ferrybridge this morning © Debby Saunders (Sandwich Tern) and Pete Saunders (Kittiwake)