29th December

Still nowhere near enough going on to justify daily updates but today's brighter if still breezy conditions did see slightly more fieldwork undertaken. A Purple Sandpiper at Portland Harbour was a minor oddity as were the 4 Pintail - along with 5 Red-throated Divers and 2 Brent Geese - that passed by off the Bill. More mundane fare included 4 Purple Sandpipers and a Short-eared Owl at the Bill and several Gannets, 8 Great Northern Divers, 2 Black-necked Grebes and singles of Black-throated Diver and Slavonian Grebe scattered about at Portland Harbour.

One of the eight Great Northern Divers in Portland Harbour © John Dadds:

26th December

We've been absent or otherwise engaged quite a lot just lately so a brief catch-up this evening. Today's odds and ends included 3 Fieldfares and singles of Grey Heron, Shelduck, Short-eared Owl and Redwing at the Bill, 20 Common Scoter still settled offshore there and 3 Black-necked Grebes, 2 Great Northern Divers and a Slavonian Grebe in Portland Harbour. It's otherwise been very samey for the last week, with the only notables being 6 Golden Plover at Ferrybridge on 25th and up to 30 Greenfinches there daily.

Yesterday's little group of Golden Plovers that dropped in at Ferrybridge © Pete Saunders:

Settled Greenfinches have been all but absent around the island in recent weeks (...and in fact for long periods of the year as a whole) so up to 30 that have appeared at Ferrybridge have been a welcome sight © Debby Saunders:

22nd December

Times are hard on the birding front right now with the constant nagging wind - a wholly unhelpful northwesterly today - restricting fieldwork opportunities. Five Red-throated Divers passed by off the Bill, the c20 Common Scoter were still settled offshore and singles of Woodcock and Snipe were flushed up at the Bill during the course of some non-birding activities (...perhaps we ought to be doing some more of those!).

17th December

Portland Bill: Great Northern Diver 1, Red-throated Diver 5, Common Scoter 15w.

Harbour: Great Northern Diver 2, Red-breasted Merganser 12+. 

16th December

Portland Bill: Great Northern Diver 2, Red-throated Diver 2, Common Scoter c20, Little Egret 1, Redwing 3.  

Hamm Beach: Kingfisher 1, Great Northern Diver 1, Razorbill 1. 

The first Kingfisher of the winter at Hamm Beach © Pete Saunders

A Razorbill in winter plumage from Portland Harbour © Debby Saunders

15th December

Portland Bill: Red-Throated Diver 68, Great Northern Diver 2, Fulmar 4, Dark-Bellied Brent Goose 1, Eider 2, Snipe 3.

Ferrybridge: Mediterranean Gull 350.

Portland Harbour: Great Northern Diver 3, Black-necked Grebe 1, Turnstone 26.  

14th December

Portland Bill: Great Northern Diver 1, Fieldfare 1.

The Hump: Redwing 3, Fieldfare 1. 

Church Ope: Black Redstart 3, Chiffchaff 4, Goldcrest 2.

13th December

Portland Bill: Great Northern Diver 3, Red-throated Diver 5, Fulmar 1, Purple Sandpiper 5, Short-eared Owl 1, Black Redstart 1, Redwing 1.

Ferrybridge/Harbour: Great Northern Diver 4.

Sandsfoot Castle: Slavonian Grebe 1, Great Northern Diver 2.

11th December

After several days of wet and windy weather, today's clear and warm conditions called for some much needed time in the field. The surprise of the day came in the form of a 1st winter Richard's Pipit, which was first seen in the horse fields along the East Cliffs before flying in the direction of the obs. Unfortunately, various searches in that direction failed to locate the bird before some brief showers set in mid-afternoon. Elsewhere at Ferrybridge a total of 4 Shelduck, 2 Curlew and 2 Pale-bellied among a flock of 200 Brent Geese were reported.

A couple of record shots of today's Richards Pipit © Jodie Henderson

The Southwell Barn Owl making an earlier than usual appearance in the remaining daylight © Debby Saunders

6th December

Whilst the sound of lashing rain against the Observatory window might not instill much hope for the morning's birding, the distant call of Redwing from out in the murk provided suitable reminder to never dismiss the chance of an unexpected arrival. A small uptick in sea passage saw a total of around 300 Kittiwakes, 50 Common Gulls, 15 Red-throated Divers and a single Pintail off the Bill, with a Little Egret heading north along the West Cliffs. On land, a flock of 11 Siskin passed through with a new Chiffchaff present at the Hump. At Ferrybridge, a total of 210 Dunlin, 42 Ringed Plover and a Great Northern Diver were logged with a total of 6 Great Northern Divers reported from Portland Castle.   

5th December

A calmer and brighter day did little to change our birding fortunes, with much of the same as seen in recent days. At the Bill, a total of 3 Purple Sandpipers were logged, with at least 1 of the Black Redstarts still in residence. Elsewhere at Ferrybridge, a single Goosander was present, with 2 Great Northern Divers, 4 Black-necked Grebes and 2 Great-crested Grebes across the causeway in Portland Harbour. 

An impressive flyby from the Goosander at Ferrybridge today © Pete Saunders

4th December

Apologies for the lack of blog post yesterday, but it appears we have become stuck in the winter doldrums, with steady rain putting halt to much of the day's birding. Still, a Velvet Scoter off the Bill, 2 Knot, 2 Curlew and 2 Shelduck at Ferrybridge and 2 Great Northern Divers, a Slavonian Grebe and Black-necked Grebe in Portland Harbour managed to save the day. 

The 2 Knot (right) that were seen from Ferrybridge this morning © Pete Saunders

2nd December

It seems that today's clear and sunny conditions were quite at odds with those faced on the mainland, with reports of thick fog from those intrepid fieldworkers travelling to Portland from further up-county. There was little change in the birding, with 10 Red-Throated Divers and a Great Northern Diver off the Bill, with an additional Black Redstart at Blacknor and 2 Blackcaps at Southwell. Elsewhere, 3 Great Northern Divers were seen off Portland Castle, as well as a Slavonian Grebe and 3 Black-neck Grebes across the harbour at Castle Cove. 

It may have been a quiet day on the birding front, but it did end with a rather impressive sunset © Jodie Henderson

1st December

Today's clear and frosty start, which kept the garden ponds frozen for most of the morning, saw little in the way of avian arrivals with the exception of a late departing Swallow seen from the Bill. At sea, just 5 Red-Throated Divers and a single Great Northern Diver were recorded and at least 1 Black Redstart and the Merlin were still present. Elsewhere at Ferrybridge 2 Knot, 1 Curlew and 2 Goosanders were logged.