6th February

With high pressure well established today's glorious sunshine and waft of a breeze were inviting fieldwork conditions. Some movement was apparent, with 21 Red-throated and a Great Northern Diver through off the Bill and 3 Lapwings, 2 Mute Swans and a Grey Plover through at Portland Harbour; on the land a group of 11 Long-tailed Tits pitching up at the Obs included a few ringed birds so were presumably the group that last visited there a week ago. The Cetti's Warbler and Chiffchaff at the Obs, the Black Redstart at Chesil Cove and the Black-throated Diver in Portland Harbour were among the established winterers reported.

Although hugely numerous further up the Fleet Mute Swans are always infrequent visitors to our recording area © Pete Saunders:

With unfinished business there we took advantage of the quiet conditions to have another nip over for the Richard's Pipit at Chickerell at the end of the afternoon in the hope that it'd be calling as well as on our previous visit when we didn't have any recording gear with us. Although more or less ever-present in its seemingly now favourite field it was always at 'scope views' distance but did make one nice fly-round when it called quite a few times and later called sporadically when settled on a hedge; the initial calls on this recording are of it flying and the last three are of it settled - to our ear the settled calls are perhaps a teeny bit higher-pitched and so maybe a little bit more House Sparrow-like. 

We can't remember anything much about the vaguely Richard's Pipit-like calls that the Portland Blyth's Pipits in 1998 gave (most of the time they gave the much more distinctive chip or chup calls which, incidentally, the fabled 'Portland Pipit' in 1989 also did all the time!) but Stanislas Wroza's handy comparative sonogram with the captions Google Translated - Richard's on the left and the two Blyth's calls on the right - in Identifier les Oiseaux Migrateurs par le Son shows they're reasonably different to the typical Richard's call: