15th December

Portland Bill Red-throated Diver 17w, Common Scoter 4w, Redwing 2, Black Redstart 2.

Nocmig (at the Obs, dusk to dawn) Dunlin 1, Redwing 45.

Weston Swallow 1.

Portland Harbour Black-throated Diver 1, Black-necked Grebe 9.

An update on Mark Cutts' owl project: As some may be aware, Verity Hill and I have been making a concerted effort to record all of the owls present on Portland this winter. I thought that just before the Christmas break would be a good time to give an update on how we are doing. Please take into account that this is a slow time project, we are not moving from site to site each evening and we are constrained by work, the weather and the moon phase.

After an amazing start our trapping effort success has been varied, but with help from PBO, Paul Hopwood and many others we are learning and adapting as we go. Initially we set out to trap Little Owls but after 5 outings we had ringed 2 each of Little Owl and Barn Owl. Here is a quick summary of where we stand by species and I will update this before we finish, when the breeding season begins:

Little Owl We have trapped and ringed 4 birds. Not as successful as we had hoped but we know of at least 15 others around the island and many quarries have yet to be surveyed.

Barn Owl We have trapped and ringed 3 birds. We know of at least one other unringed bird and an unringed adult female was found badly injured at the Bill on 14th December. So at least 5 Barn Owls are known to be present this winter and we expect the eventual total to be higher

Short-eared Owl Four individuals have been seen regularly at the Bill with one of these or another also seen at Ferrybridge.

Tawny Owl A calling male has been seen and heard at two sites but this may be the same individual.

We will continue in the New Year and I would appreciate any news of sightings, especially those away from the well-known spots; my email is slashercutts@gmail.com