8th March

Two little morsels of migrant interest in the form of singles of Firecrest and Bullfinch - both firsts for the season and both very typical of a lovely still and clear early spring morning - saved the day at the Bill where a lone Chiffchaff was the only other new arrival worth a mention. The Merlin was still knocking about there, with 31 Common Scoter and 2 Eider still settled offshore and 2 Red-throated Divers through on the sea. A Black Redstart at Portland Castle was the only other report worth a mention.

The Bill Merlin © Pete Saunders:

Large Tortoiseshells continue to show on the warmer days - this one was at Church Ope Cove today © Martin Adlam Port and Wey:

Sad to relate, as far as we know today's Firecrest was the first one seen on the island this year. We've never been any the wiser as to what it was that triggered the extraordinary and record-breaking fall of 150 Firecrests on 15th October 2017 but that event seems to have begun an inexorable decline that's seen the species reach getting on for semi-scarcity status at Portland, culminating in last year's Bill bird-day total and Obs ringing tally both being among the lowest ever and this winter's complete absence being, as far as we can remember, pretty well unprecedented © Martin Cade/Erin Taylor:

And to finish with a bit of interest from over the water in Weymouth. It's Bittern departing season so we took a punt on nipping over to Lodmoor at dusk to see if there was any action on that front; what transpired wasn't a visual spectacle since by the time one became audible overhead it had got so dark that we couldn't even see the bird but that didn't detract in any way from the event: