1st January

A very raw dawn saw a below zero reading on the thermometer at the Obs - did we actually have any below zero dawns last year? - and it was soon apparent that a few birds had responded to what was no doubt an even sharper overnight freeze on the mainland: 9 Golden Plovers and singles of Snipe and Redwing were at the Bill, where 4 Gadwall and a Red-breasted Merganser passed by on the sea; further new wild wildfowl included 2 each of Wigeon and Pintail, and a lone Teal off Chesil, whilst a Great White Egret passed by distantly off Church Ope Cove. Later scrutiny of last night's nocmig recording (from mid-evening until dawn) revealed loggings of 30 Redwing calls, a group of Lapwings and singles of Snipe and Skylark overhead at the Obs - how many of these birds were on the move due to the cold or because of disturbance by fireworks is maybe open to question! Besides these newcomers there were quite decent pickings to be had amongst the longer-stayers/winter regulars: 8 Red-throated Divers passed through off the Bill where the 2 Eider and single Great Skua were again lingering; 10 Purple Sandpipers, the 3 Redpolls, the Merlin and one of the Black Redstarts were logged on the land there. Singles of Blackcap and Chiffchaff were still at Southwell, Portland Harbour's tally included 11 Black-necked Grebes, 4 Great Northern Divers and singles of Black-throated Diver, Red-necked Grebe and Common Scoter, with a Black Redstart still about at Portland Castle.

No guesses what time this Redwing passed over at the Obs:

Kingfishers have been reported pretty regularly just lately around the shore of Portland Harbour  - there probably aren't any more than usual but they do seem to be a little bit more visible than they often are © Debby Saunders:

Sadly, the refugee Golden Plovers chose to pitch up on the most disturbed piece of grassland on the island and didn't last long once dogs started careering around the Bill Common © Martin Cade: