28th February

With most of the day washed out - yet again! - the only meaningful fieldwork came in the first couple of hours after dawn. A frustrating event at the Bill involved a Slavonian or Black-necked Grebe passing by a little too far offshore to be clinched - both these species are perfectly get-able in the harbour but are real rarities on passage off the Bill. The quiet, murky conditions overnight had looked promising for some audible passage of thrushes but in the event the nocmig recorder at the Obs logged just 12 Redwings calls between 10pm and dawn; the year's first Moorhen calling overhead shortly before midnight did however provide an on-cue minor highlight from the recording.

This single Pale-bellied Brent has turned up from time to time all winter at Ferrybridge but seems to do its own thing and doesn't associate with the family party that also drop in now and again © Pete Saunders:

27th February

Today's only obvious change involved a little bit more diver movement off the Bill - 11 Red-throated and 3 Great Northern - but since this was all westward it likely didn't involve early spring migrants. Other than that an extra Long-tailed Tit joined the 3 lingering at the Obs.

26th February

A clear, sunny sky replaced yesterday's near day-long rain but the blasting northeasterly in constant attendance provided a rude awakening after the recent mildness. A Yellow-legged Gull was new at the Bill where 3 Long-tailed Tits lingered at the Obs and 3 Red-throated Divers passed through on the sea. Elsewhere, the 7 wintering Pale-bellied Brent Geese showed up again at Ferrybridge.

The year's first Yellow-legged Gull was the pick of the day's arrivals at the Bill © Martin Cade:

The three Long-tailed Tits that first showed up at the Obs in yesterday's horrible weather had been assumed to be part of a small wintering group (that had first been ringed in September last year) that lingered there for a few days nearly a month ago but in today's better conditions it was realised they were all unringed and so were new arrivals © Martin Cade:

The melee of Mediterranean Gulls making the most of the surf off Hamm Beach included lots of birds now in full summer plumage © Pete Saunders:

24th February

We haven't done a full survey of the Bill area Skylarks just yet but they seem to have reached near to full complement and are certainly now in good voice © Martin Cade:

Although there have been the first signs of Lesser Black-backed Gulls and Meadow Pipits arriving from the south over the last few days, today's only migrant action looked to be another fair spread of non-local Stonechats everywhere © Martin Cade:

We're not sure of the Raven situation further up the island but the Freshwater Bay pair that didn't breed last year have been busy bulking out and lining their nest just lately; this was it last weekend...

...and this is it today:

We'd have expected them to be sitting by now but there was no sign of that today © Jodie Henderson

23rd February

Not an expected February arrival: this Marsh Harrier was over the Crown Estate Field for a while this morning © Martin Cade:

21st February

Yet more bucketloads of rain today - the sort of conditions when the regular Obs garden Sparrowhawk sat looking bedraggled and miserable as sin for a good half an hour eyeing up one of the feeders before eventually leaving in disgust as no potential victims were venturing out of cover © Martin Cade:

20th February


19th February

The one Short-eared Owl that's been wintering at the Bill hasn't usually been a broad daylight performer but this afternoon it showed up for a little while in the Obs Quarry Field and on the Slopes where it afforded some nice flying and settled views © Martin Cade:

18th February

Early passage continued apace, with Stonechats again conspicuous throughout the south of the island where the total of 80 logged included c70 non-locals; singles of Snipe and Redwing where also fresh in at the Bill. Two Black-headed Gulls and a Red-throated Diver passed through off the Bill and a routine selection of winterers were still on offer there and elsewhere.

The year's first Hummingbird Hawkmoth was on the Portland Castle.

17th February


One of the Portland Harbour Black-necked Grebes was showing blisteringly well today © Pete Saunders:

Great Northern Diver - one of five there today - overhead at Portland Harbour © Pete Saunders:

Yesterday's arrival of Stonechats proved to be the precursors to some more northbound passage overnight, when Redwings were dropped to audible height once fog set in during the early hours - the nocmig recorder at the Obs logged 106 calls between 01:00 and 02:30 before movement fizzled out:

It seems that moth migration has been vectored away from Portland during the spell of renewed movement that's been evident in the latter part of this week; however, the year's first Rush Veneer and another Silver-spotted Veneer were decent rewards from last night's trapping at the Obs © Martin Cade:

16th February

A very quiet and increasingly mild week ended with the first signs of some passerine arrivals: 27 Stonechats from an incomplete census of the Bill area clearly included many newcomers and the first Redwing for a long time was also fresh in there. Other than that events have been very routine all week, with daily Red-throated Divers passing offshore and many of the regulation winterers still in situ on the land and at Portland Harbour/Ferrybridge.

The Pale-bellied Brent Goose family lingered on at Ferrybridge all week © Pete Saunders:

Ravens have been scavenging around the Bill for more comfortable nest-lining materials now that they're well underway with their breeding attempts © Jodie Henderson:

A sad but fortunately these days rather infrequent sight at the Bill this morning was this really badly oiled Guillemot in difficulty off East Cliffs - it was literally plastered from head to toe © Jodie Henderson:

11th February

It was again much too pleasant and mild not to take the trouble to get out in the field and there were a few finds of minor interest to add to the variety of regulars that were on offer. The Bill's only contribution to this list was a lingering Brent Goose, but the Church Ope Cove area chipped in with the year's first Blackcap and a good total of 4 Chiffchaffs, whilst Portland Harbour saw an additional Common Scoter join the long-staying duo there and there were a minimum of 3 and perhaps as many as 5 Black-throated Divers in the harbour.

10th February

No change on the bird front in recent days, with today's weekend injection of additional fieldwork providing reports of nothing more than a few of the wintering regulars.

The mildness and pleasant sunshine has seen selection of butterflies appear on the wing: Small Tortoiseshell was a first for the year at Southwell yesterday, whilst today Peacock was new for the year at Portland Castle and both Painted Lady and Red Admiral were logged

7th February


6th February

Still very quiet bird-wise, with a Manx Shearwater through off the Bill today's only worthwhile sighting.

4th February

3rd February


2nd February

1st February

Just simple pleasures on offer at the Bill today that included 4 Long-tailed Tits lingering on at the Obs, a Pintail through offshore and the first Rook of the year over the Obs © Martin Cade:

from osprey quay 2x distant GND, hamm beach guille, razor, 2+ BNG, 1x slav, c.6x GND, prob 1x BTD. distance the issue with most birds the other side of the harbour. c.11am-1pm, didnt really have time for sailing club/sandsfoot. + the black redstarts too of course pic.twitter.com/DLequkWEVd