18th February

On such a pleasant mild, sunny day it was no great surprise to log a few more early arrivals with Stonechats featuring most conspicuously, including a total of at least 25 at the Bill (where there have been no more than 8 through the winter). Six Redwings were also new in there and there was a noticeable increase in grounded Meadow Pipits, whilst 6 Red-throated Divers, 3 Common Scoter and a lone Great Crested Grebe through on the sea were all heading up-Channel. Further routine fare included the Hume's Warbler still at Thumb Lane, 4 Purple Sandpipers, 4 Short-eared Owls and a Black Redstart at the Bill and 3 Slavonian Grebes in Portland Harbour.

A party of around a dozen Bottle-nosed Dolphins lingered off the Bill through the morning.

Stonechats are always one of the first migrants to show up in spring and today's benign conditions were just up their street; although 20 were logged on the morning rounds at the Bill it looked like more trickled in through the day (in one spot where 4 had been well settled during the morning there were 9 knocking around at dusk) so the final day total of 25 was very likely a bare minimum © Martin Cade:

This morning's Bottle-nosed Dolphins were another on cue arrival - the first sightings of the year are very often in late February © Sarah Hodgson:

A fringe benefit of the arrival of some pleasant weather is that it gets Ken Dolbear out and about with his camera and we get to see a selection of nice photographs of wildlife that would otherwise just as likely pass us by. A few of Ken's offerings from the last couple of days include Gorse Shieldbugs (together with the nursery web spider Pisaura mirabilis) on an isolasted gorse bush beside Park Estate Road:

...and from the Obs garden a Common Footman caterpillar, a Noble False Widow Steatoda nobilis and the hoverfly Eristalis tenax: