31st January

A mountainous sea, an unwelcome topping up of the biblical quantities of rain of recent days, chunks of the East Cliff riven from the bedrock - oh, and not forgetting the ongoing pestilence - in bygone times we'd have been in with a shout for an honourable mention in the wackier backwaters of the Old Testament. Bird-wise, another nice pulse of Red-throated Divers - 113 through off the Bill was the first three figure day-total there for quite some years - was the pick of the interest on the water, that also included 5 Brent Geese, 2 Great Northern Divers, a Goldeneye and a Great Skua passing by off the Bill, the 8 Common Scoter and 2 Eider still settled offshore, 5 Black-necked Grebes in Portland Harbour and 2 Shelducks, 2 Great Crested Grebes and a Great Northern Diver at Ferrybridge. On the land, 2 Lapwings were new at the Bill, a Grey Heron was kicking about there and at Southwell and a Black Redstart was on the Verne Common Estate.

There was as huge a swell running off the Bill as we've seen for a long time: waves like this one were more than a mile out from the Obs and many that absolutely dwarfed Gannets and the like must have been 10 metres high;...

...presumably the waves that, for example, topped Chesil Beach during the hours of darkness were even higher and were certainly damaging: this previously undercut chunk of the East Cliffs below the Obs toppled at this time and left the beach strewn with massive chunks of debris © Martin Cade:

We understand from social media posts that there's been a Grey Heron visiting garden ponds around the south of the island all winter - today it dropped in for the first time in many weeks at Sweethill © Nick Stantiford: