16th December

Today was so unexpectedly interesting that it merits a brief return to narrative. The overnight nocmig recording at the Obs revealed Redwings still moving in fair numbers - the 152 calls logged were well scattered through the hours of darkness although there was a conspicuous peak of 67 during the hour before dawn - and the arrival of daylight saw a succession of new arrivals logged, with 11 Redwings, 2 Bramblings and singles of Water Rail, Swallow, Chiffchaff, Siskin and Bullfinch at the Bill; lingering singles of Merlin, Black Redstart and Chiffchaff were also still about there and another Black Redstart was at Osprey Quay. The most unseasonable surprise was still to come though: after just long enough for them to have crossed the Channel after vacating their French roosts a stream of flocks of Starlings and Wood Pigeons - totalling around 3400 and 2000 respectively - arrived in from the south. The sea was also worth attention, with 29 Red-throated Divers (the highest day-total so far this winter and all heading high west), 2 Brent Geese and 2 Red-breasted Mergansers through off the Bill. Elsewhere, 10 Black-necked Grebes, a Black-throated Diver and a Slavonian Grebe were still in Portland Harbour.