13th January

The blasting, cold northerly introduced in the wake of yesterday's weather front produced a real surprise in the form of a Swallow at Smallmouth; we're not entirely sure that it actually entered island airspace but, since it'd constitute Portland's first ever January record, we'll give it the benefit of the doubt until we hear otherwise. Not surprisingly, coverage was a bit limited, with the only other reports being of 2 Common Scoter, a Red-throated Diver and a Great Skua off the Bill, 3 Purple Sandpipers on the shore there and 2 Eider in Portland Harbour.

During the course of various jobs in the Obs garden today we disturbed three different moth species, of which the most interesting from a national perspective was a Mallow Groundling Platyedra subcinerea. Although a pretty common moth at Portland it seems to be designated as Nationally Scarce B and looks to be restricted more or less to the south of a line from Dorset to East Anglia; as a late summer emerger that overwinters as an adult before appearing again in the spring it isn't unexpected to find one now (although judging by our moth-trap records it doesn't usually get seen at this time of year unless it's chivvied from cover like today's specimen was) © Martin Cade: