1. 8th January

    Portland Bird Observatory and Field Centre

    With it being a quiet period and most people not venturing far reports are getting fewer by the day. Today's only news was of 8 Common Scoter and 5 Red-throated Divers through off the Bill, 3 Black Redstarts at Barleycrates Lane, the Rosy Starling at Easton and 6 Black-necked Grebes in Portland harbour.

  2. 9th January

    Portland Bird Observatory and Field Centre

    Another very small cold weather arrival today with singles of Lapwing, Golden Plover and Redwing new in at the Bill and several reports of extra Song Thrushes having dropped in. Blackcaps continued to consolidate in favourable private gardens, with 4 on the Verne Common Estate and 3 at Southwell; a Black Redstart was also still at the former and a Chiffchaff still at the latter. Other reports included the 2 Eider still off the Bill, 9 Purple Sandpipers still on the shore there, 2 Black Redstarts and a Merlin still at Barleycrates Lane, the Rosy Starling still at Easton and totals of 143 Dunlin and 36 Ringed Plovers at Ferrybridge.

    Blackcap and Song Thrush at Southwell © Debby Saunders:



    This Black-headed Gull settled on Pete Saunders' arm at Ferrybridge (it had just come in for bread) is a winter regular in the area that was first ringed at Radipole in January 2011 © Debby Saunders:

  3. 10th January

    Portland Bird Observatory and Field Centre

    A handful more cold weather arrivals to show from today's efforts, notably 13 Golden Plovers and a Fieldfare that dropped in at the Bill; 2 Long-tailed Tits at Southwell were the first from the south of the island for a while, whilst a new Blackcap was visiting a garden at the Grove. Among the more routine fare, the Merlin was getting about - or might there be more than one? - with an early sighting from Blacknor before it returned to the Bill; 8 Common Scoter and 2 Eider were off the Bill, 3 Redpolls, a Purple Sandpiper and a Black Redstart were at the Bill and 4 Blackcaps and a Chiffchaff were at Southwell. Elsewhere, a Goldcrest was the first for a while at Pennsylvania Castle (...has anyone seen a Firecrest anywhere on Portland this winter? - if not, has there ever been  winter without one?) and 3 Bar-tailed Godwits reappeared at Ferrybridge where there was also a Great Northern Diver.

    The Merlin at the Bill © Martin Cade... 


    ...and the Bar-tailed Godwits at Ferrybridge © Pete Saunders:

  4. 11th January

    Portland Bird Observatory and Field Centre

    A freshening and backing of the breeze into the west heralded the arrival of much milder conditions. Bird interest diminished considerably with the only reports  being of 3 Redpolls, a Merlin and a Purple Sandpiper at the Bill, the Rosy Starling still at Easton and a Merlin over the north of the island.

  5. 12th January

    Portland Bird Observatory and Field Centre

    A very different flavour to the weather now: damp, dreary and very mild. For a while there was enough visibility to see that there was a fair-sized feeding aggregation off the Bill and this attracted in a Great Skua for the first time for a few days; 9 Common Scoter and 2 Eider were still settled offshore, 4 Red-throated Divers passed by and singles of Merlin, Purple Sandpiper and Black Redstart were about on the land. The only other reports were of the Rosy Starling still at Easton and a good winter total of 10 Curlew amongst the wildfowl and waders at Ferrybridge.

  6. 13th January

    Portland Bird Observatory and Field Centre

    Ferrybridge was busy today, with the highlight the first appearance there since November of the Black Brant; a winter peak to date of 190 Dunlin and a good site total of 40 Cormorants were also of note, with a Pale-bellied Brent Goose also of interest amongst a good selection of other regulars. Twelve Red-throated Divers through off the Bill were the best of the bunch there, with the lingering 11 Common Scoter and 2 Eider still present offshore and the 3 Redpolls still about on the land. Elsewhere, 3 Blackcaps were still at Southwell and, bearing in mind their current status, a count of 5 Greenfinches at Reforne was noteworthy (...any records of Greenfinch are worth reporting at the moment - we haven't seen one at the Obs since November!).

    Although there have been reports of various extra individuals further up the Fleet, the Black Brant that wanders down to Ferrybridge always seems to be the same individual; today, also as always, it was paired up with a Dark-bellied Brent © Pete Saunders:



    Ferrybridge was nice and busy today © Pete Saunders:

  7. 14th January

    Portland Bird Observatory and Field Centre

    Weather-wise, a kinder day that we'd thought was supposed to be in the offing but very slow on the bird front: 3 Red-throated Divers passed through off the Bill where 14 Common Scoter were still settled offshore and 198 Dark-bellied (25 of which headed away east) and a Pale-bellied Brent were at Ferrybridge.