5th January

Altogether nicer birding conditions and one or two different sightings to show for the day's efforts. Fifteen Pintail and a Great Northern Diver through off the Bill were additions to the more customary 14 Red-throated Divers on the move, whilst a rare visit to an off the beaten track part of Easton produced 15 Redwings and a Chiffchaff. Routine fare included the Common Scoter flock still off the Bill, the single Black Redstarts still at the Bill, Blacknor and Chiswell, the Blackcap at the Grove and the 4 Eider still in Portland Harbour.

By virtue of it being such a nice day we went for a longer weekend ramble than usual and visited all manner of obscure spots that don't get looked at from one month to the next let alone one day to the next. Apart from dwelling on what might be discovered in these places at migration times if folk broke new ground instead of just trailing around from one already known scarcity to the next we were struck by how incredibly abundant Robins are these days - they seemed to be literally everywhere we went and, assuming they behave there in the same manner they do in the vicinity of the Obs garden where each one looks to hold a discrete little winter territory, by extrapolation the island population at this time of year must be way into the many hundreds. It'd also be interesting to know where they all come from: none that we looked at seemed at all oddly-plumaged that might indicate really distant origin; the evidence from ringed birds at the Obs garden suggests that not only is the local breeding population resident (...the adults, at least) but that in winter various 'outsiders' appear that stick around for the whole season - in fact we have plenty of evidence of individuals returning winter after winter but have never yet had a recovery of one of these birds from wherever it is that they breed © Martin Cade: