19th January

Yesterday's gloomy skies were replaced by unbroken sunshine and there was a veritable rash of coverage, with enough birders/photographers wandering the Bill area and calling in at the Obs to have done a spring day proud. Long-stayers made up the bulk of the quality and included 3 Short-eared Owls, 2 Firecrests, a Red-legged Partridge, a Black Redstart, a Dartford Warbler and a Blackcap at the Bill and 3 Black Redstarts at Chesil Cove. An increase in passerine numbers - presumably as a result of the recent dip in temperatures - was widely apparent, with 4 Redwings amongst a particularly noticeable increase in chats and thrushes around the middle of the island. The sea accounted for the rest of the interest, with 9 Red-throated Divers through off the Bill, 7 Wigeon through at Portland Harbour, singles of Black-throated Diver and Slavonian Grebe amongst the regulars settled in the harbour and a Great Northern Diver at Ferrybridge.

Red-breasted Merganser and Slavonian Grebe - Portland Harbour, 19th January 2016  © Joe Stockwell