17th December

Portland Bill Red-throated Diver 3e 7w, Shelduck 1, Common Scoter 2e 4w, Red-breasted Merganser 1, Black Redstart 3, Chiffchaff 2, Brambling 1.

Ferrybridge Pale-bellied Brent Goose 5, Sandwich Tern 1.

Portland Harbour Black-throated Diver 1, Black-necked Grebe 10.

Seemingly mixed pairs of Pale-bellied and Dark-bellied Brents have been noted several times at Ferrybridge in recent years, with family parties present during three winters; this winter there are at least two 'dodgy-looking' adults in the flock that might well be a couple of these now grown up youngsters © Pete Saunders:

One of the Southwell Barn Owls from a few days ago © Pete Saunders:

As we'd already mentioned on the daily reports, the run of calm nights this week gave us the first opportunity for a while to run the nocmig recorder at the Obs and a real feature of the night's results was the amount of owl activity. The Short-eared Owls were always a bit distant so to get some better recordings last night we left another microphone across the road in the Crown Estate Field; this revealed plenty of activity that peaked around dusk and included a typically varied repertoire as in this selection distilled down from the half hour between 16:45 and 15:15

The Obs seems to fall right on the boundary between two Little Owl territories so their calls are an 
ever-present feature - this is the routine advertising call of the Obs Quarry male: 

We've never quite worked out what's going on when the monotonous calling descends into these 
crescendos of wild shrieks but it's presumably some sort of territorial matter and it happens really quite often:

Outside the breeding season there's hardly a night goes by when the nocmig recorder doesn't pick up a 
passing Barn Owl: