17th December

Our winter break couldn't come to an end soon enough for one blog visitor who'd sent us an indignant message expressing the view that is was unacceptable that a publicly-funded Observatory couldn't produce a website update for a fortnight (...some of the insults slung at us really do beggar belief!). For this gentleman and our more understanding visitors we're back in business. On what sounds as though it was, at least for the morning, a nicer day than most have been during our absence there was a relatively routine selection on offer around the island: 3 Short-eared Owls, 2 Goldcrests, a Snipe and a Chiffchaff were at the Bill where 12 Red-throated Divers also passed through on the sea; elsewhere, 5 Black Redstarts were scattered between Chesil Cove and Portland Castle and 13 Black-necked Grebes, 2 Great Northern Divers and a Slavonian Grebe were in Portland Harbour.

Immigrant moth interest was limited to a single Diamond-back Moth trapped overnight at the Obs.

A freshening breeze and dreary skies were hardly the desired conditions to have a check on how many Short-eared Owls were still about at the Bill but at least three were making the best of it late in the afternoon © Martin Cade: 

Earlier we'd nipped in to Radipole to have a quick look at the Penduline Tit that had surfaced for the first time since it was discovered last Friday © Steve Gantlett cleybirds (still) and Martin Cade (video):