1st January

There couldn't have been nicer conditions for a New Year flourish of coverage and, whilst the rewards were hardly compelling, there were one or two additions to what's been the recent routine fare. The feeding flock of common seabirds off the Bill was noticeably larger than of late but 5 Red-throated Divers and singles of Common Scoter and Black-headed Gull were the only really worthwhile sea sightings there; 2 Purple Sandpipers were also on the shore at the Bill and 3 Redwings, the Grey Heron and at least 1 Short-eared Owl were still about on the land. Two Blackcaps at both Sweethill and East Weare, together with single Chiffchaffs at Sweethill and Pennsylvania Castle and 2 Goldcrets at East Weare, were also logged on the land, whilst the Ferrybridge Merlin made another of its sporadic appearances.

Singles of Red Admiral and Peacock were on the wing in the pleasant sunshine during the morning, whilst a lone Silver Y at the Obs constituted the only immigrant moth interest.

Never a regular mid-winter bird at Portland, the Merlin made a timely reappearance over Ferrybridge and so secured the species a rather earlier than usual place on the year list © Debby Saunders: