6th January

With the mothing events of the pre- and post-Christmas period beginning to fade from memory it was a considerable surprise when a moth attracted to a lighted window at the Obs turned out to be a Black-spotted Chestnut - not only another new species for Portland but an addition to the Dorset list as well; the moth-traps themselves, both at the Obs and the Grove, produced no other signs of immigration.

Bird-wise, a second successive pleasantly quiet and sunny day came up with a trio of minor surprises: a likely Bearded Tit over Ferrybridge was most unexpected although actually not without precedent at this time of year, whilst a Siskin over Blacknor and a Blackcap at the Obs were also both newcomers. The rest of the day's tally was more routine, with a Little Gull off Chesil, 2 Black Redstarts and the Siberian Chiffchaff at Portland Castle, a Firecrest at East Weare, 10 Common Scoter and 8 Red-throated Divers through off the Bill and 4 Chiffchaffs, 3 Purple Sandpipers, 2 each of Short-eared Owl, Black Redstart and Firecrest, and a lone Grey Heron scattered about their usual haunts at the Bill/Southwell.

Black-spotted Chestnut, Blackcap and Grey Heron - Portland Bill and Southwell, 6th January 2016 © Martin Cade (Black-spotted Chestnut and Blackcap) and Pete Saunders (Grey Heron)

Black-spotted Chestnut had been at the back of our mind as a likely future addition to the island moth list - but certainly not anytime soon: with its recent colonisation of Britain getting going via the short hop from France to Kent - quite apart from there having been no other records from the South Coast immigrant hotspots - until last night an imminent Portland record would have seemed a pretty fanciful notion. It makes a change not to be gripped off by a colonist showing up for the first time in Dorset at Durlston!