5th February

Bar a couple of rogue showers today could easily have been passed off as a day from well into the spring even if, for the most part, the quality of the birding was still at the late winter doldrums level. Eleven Red-throated Divers through off the Bill were all moving back out of Lyme Bay, with 2 Brent Geese also heading in the same direction and a Great Skua again knocking about offshore; one fortunate observer also dipped into a major Bill rarity in the form of a Black-necked Grebe passing by. Two Blackcaps at Church Ope Cove were the first there this winter, whilst regulars on the land included the Rosy Starling at Easton, 9 Purple Sandpipers and a Black Redstart at the Bill, 2 more Black Redstarts beside Portland Harbour and a Chiffchaff at Southwell. Three Great Northern Divers, a Black-throated Diver and a Red-necked Grebe were also still about in Portland Harbour.

The Black Redstart at Osprey Quay today was, per the observers, seemingly different to one there last week. Assuming these wintering birds are relatively sedentary (...are they? - at least the ones we're most familiar with at the Bill seem to occupy large-ish but relatively discrete winter territories) a quick tally of the reports we've received for this winter indicates an all-island population in the low twenties - the exact tally to date is a minimum of 21 birds from 9 different areas but the latter doesn't include, for example, the urban areas of Easton and the Grove or the industrial parts of Portland Port where you'd think there's bound to be the odd one tucked away like there have been in many past winters © Debby Saunders: