Feb 2008

February 29th

Still nothing of great note to report. All the news was from the Bill where there were 6 Purple Sandpipers, 3 Turnstones, 3 Rooks, a Water Rail and a Chiffchaff on the land and 2 Red-throated Divers and a Common Scoter passed by on the sea.

February 28th

Just a few odds and ends today: single Black Redstarts at the Bill and Reap Lane, 5 Purple Sandpipers, 2 Turnstones and a Chiffchaff at the Bill and a Great Northern Diver past on the sea off the Bill.



   Skylark - Ferrybridge, February 27th 2008 © Pete Saunders

. February 27th

A lovely early spring day although spring birds remained at a premium. Winter left-overs in Portland Harbour included 3 Long-tailed Ducks, 2 Great Northern Divers, 2 Black-throated Diver and singles of Red-necked Grebe and Slavonian Grebe; a Black Redstart was still on the harbour shore near the Sailing Academy. Another Black Redstart was a new arrival at the Bill, where there were also 13 Stonechats, 5 Purple Sandpipers, 2 Turnstones and a Chiffchaff on the land and 2 Common Scoter and a Red-throated Diver passed through on the sea. The only other reports were of another Black Redstart at Reap Lane and 200 Dunlin and 30 Mediterranean Gulls at Ferrybridge.


And finally, news of a new feature on the PBO website: for a long time we've been toying with the idea of including some 'off-island' images on the site; we still haven't decided quite what form these new pages will take but to get the ball rolling we've compiled a photo-feature on today's Caspian Gull at Radipole Lake - click here to take a look.

February 26th

It always happens at this time of year: just as things look as though they're getting going so it suddenly turns dead as a doornail! Today's dismal list consisted of nothing more than 10 Linnets and a Common Scoter at the Bill.

February 25th

Nothing much on the move today, with the pick of the reports being of a Black Redstart at Reap Lane, 35 Linnets, 3 Turnstones and a Chiffchaff at the Bill and 3 Velvet Scoter, 3 Black-headed Gulls, a Red-throated Diver and a Great Northern Diver passing through on the sea at the Bill.

February 24th

A little more movement today, most notably of Stonechats that numbered around 20 at the Bill by the afternoon; 5 new Ravens, a Redwing and the first Rook of the spring also showed up the Bill and 13 Black-headed Gull, 3 Mediterranean Gulls, 3 Eider and 2 Red-throated Divers passed through on the sea there. The Siberian Chiffchaff was also still at the Bill as were 4 of the wintering Reed Buntings.



   Dark-bellied and a Pale-bellied Brent Goose - Ferrybridge, February 21st 2008 © Pete Saunders

. February 23rd

A Black Brant and a Pale-bellied Brent Goose were again at Ferrybridge this morning. At the Bill minor signs of spring movement included 2 Meadow Pipits and a Grey Wagtail arriving from the south and 32 Brent Geese and a trickle of Lesser Black-backed Gulls flying up-Channel. The wintering Siberian Chiffchaff also showed up there for the first time for a while, whilst further standard fare there included 3 Reed Buntings and a Chiffchaff on the land and 3 Red-throated Divers, 2 Common Scoter and 2 Red-breasted Mergansers passing on the sea. The only other reports were of 2 Redwings at the Grove and a Siskin at Barleycrates Lane.

February 22nd

A Black Brant showed up at Ferrybridge for the first time for a couple of weeks but otherwise it was extremely quiet and felt unpleasantly chilly in a brisk westerly wind. The only other reports of any note were of 2 Red-throated Divers passing the Bill and singles of Chiffchaff and Reed Bunting at the Bill.

February 21st

Nothing of great consequence reported today: 29 Linnets, 7 Song Thrushes, 2 Turnstones and 2 Chiffchaffs at the Bill, 4 Red-throated Divers passing through off the Bill, 10 Linnets at Reap Lane, 4 presumably non-local Ravens over Barleycrates Lane and 390 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 41 Mediterranean Gulls and a Pale-bellied Brent at Ferrybridge. 





   Glaucous Gull - Portland Harbour, February 20th 2008 © Pete Saunders

. February 20th

In pleasantly still and mild conditions a Glaucous Gull and a Spoonbill were new arrivals at Ferrybridge during the afternoon; the gull later wandered into Portland Harbour before leaving to the west over Chesil Beach. Mediterranean Gulls numbered around 150 at Ferrybridge, 8 'new' Ravens passed overhead at Weston and 8 Purple Sandpipers, 2 Turnstones and 2 Chiffchaffs were at the Bill.

February 19th

A very thin return again today: 5 Black-headed and a Mediterranean Gull past off the Bill and 6 Purple Sandpipers, 2 Reed Buntings and a Turnstone on the land there. 

February 18th

Just a hint of a few new Stonechats having arrived this morning at the Bill but otherwise more typical winter sightings there: 2 Red-throated Divers past on the sea and 3 Purple Sandpipers, 2 Chiffchaffs, 2 Reed Buntings, a Common Buzzard and a Turnstone on the land.

February 17th

As might be expected at this time of year, yesterday's excitement proved to be very much a flash in a pan and normal service resumed today when the only reports were of 6 Red-throated Divers passing the Bill and one of the wintering Black Redstarts popping up again at Pound Piece.

February 16th

Shock news - indeed just about the only news - today of a long-awaited first for Portland in the form of a Great White Egret that flew south past Chesil Cove late in the morning.

February 15th

A day that was sufficiently miserable outside - grey, drizzly and cold - that it seemed like a pleasure to be stuck indoors attending to emergency plumbing repairs! The only reports were of a Common Buzzard at the Bill and a fly-by Red-throated Diver on the sea there.

February 14th

Overcast and feeling a good deal chillier than in recent days. The only reports were of seawatching at the Bill which produced 2 Common Scoter and a Red-throated Diver, a little trickle of migrant Lesser-black backed and Black-headed Gulls and a bit of a resurgence in auk numbers (around 3000/hour passing for while early in the morning). 

Late news for yesterday: 3 Long-tailed Ducks, along with singles of Black-throated Diver, Great Northern Diver, Red-necked Grebe and Slavonian Grebe, were still in Portland Harbour.



   another nice image from our recent 'off the air' period of the Black Brant - Ferrybridge, February 8th 2008 © Pete Saunders

. February 13th

The recent run of very fair weather continued but the only signs of early passage involved 7 Black-headed Gulls, 3 Pintail and 2 Velvet Scoter passing through off the Bill; 12 Red-throated Divers also passed by and 6 wintering Purple Sandpipers were also still present. 



   Large Tortoiseshell - Portland Bill, February 10th 2008 © Derek Patterson

. February 12th

The only reports today were of 8 Red-throated Divers passing the Bill and 70 Mediterranean Gulls at Ferrybridge.

Late news for recent days: the pick of the reports were of single Large Tortoiseshell butterflies at Weston on 6th, Reap Lane on 9th and in the Obs garden on 10th. 

February 2nd

Please note that there will be no further updates until February 12th.

February 1st

All the day's reports were from the Bill: 5 Red-throated Divers and 2 Balearic Shearwaters passed through on the sea where, after a few days lull, there was a conspicuous increase in the number of commoner seabirds feeding offshore (including 10000+ Razorbills); the land produced just a single Reed Bunting.

Two Bottle-nosed Dolphins were off the Bill for much of the morning.


The next In Focus field event at the Obs takes place tomorrow, Saturday February 2nd, between 10am and 4pm.