20th February

It was supposedly unseasonably mild today although you'd have been forgiven for overlooking that fact if you were stood out in one the frequent drizzly outbreaks exposed to the blast of the near gale force southerly. A second Black Brant that dropped in at Ferrybridge provided the best of the day's interest that otherwise included 3 Red-throated Divers through off the Bill, the 2 Eider still settled offshore there, a Black Redstart at Chesil Cove and 2 Great Northern Divers, a Black-throated Diver and a Black-necked Grebe in Portland Harbour.

The second Black Brant that turned up at Ferrybridge this morning (it's the right-hand bird in the photographs below) was in some ways a more poorly-differentiated specimen than the regular visitor there that's come in for a fair bit of stick as maybe not making the grade for a pure Black Brant - the new bird has at the very least a noticeably paler mantle. We're in no way well-versed enough in the minutiae of brent ID - at least anything fully informed rather than just idle speculation - but what is the problem with the original bird that isn't accounted for by variation within Brants or the vagaries of the photographic process? © Pete Saunders: