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WEATHER: a bitterly cold morning with a very cold northeasterly wind. Temp. 2C but it felt like -4C

For our last morning of the trip we had 3 hours to play with and the group decided that going to Portland to look for Red-throated Divers and to get a better look at the Black Redstart was what they wanted to do.

My god was it cold standing looking at the turbulent sea at Portland Bill, we hudddled behind the wall of the Lighthouse and found some respite from the strong breeze. The sea was alive with thousands of birds, it was like the M25 out there, hundreds of 'auks', both Guillemots and Razorbills sped by or sat on the water, it looked chaotic but I'm sure there was purpose behind each and every movement.

About 1/2 mile offshore a large flock of Gannets were diving into the water, they were joined, in a very localised area, by dozens of Kittiwakes, Herring Gulls, Cormorants, Razorbills and Guillemots. A large shoal of fish must have been just below the surface.

We had two target species, the first was the Red-throated Diver, dozens had been recorded here in the past few days, but we couldn't find a single one today. A Fulmar appeared, followed by a single male Common Scoter and then I spotted a Red-throated Diver. It was distant and I found it impossible to get any of the group onto it. A second bird appeared not too long afterwards, but the same thing happened again.

We gave up after nearly an hour of eye-watering sea-watching in freezing temperatures, are we nuts? We then went for a stroll around the quarry at the Bill, we got even colder but persistence paid off when a Black Redstart appeared near the fence of the MOD compound. We walked closer to get a better view, the bird flew off further into the Compound and was lost to sight. It didn't take much to persuade the group to abandon the search.

 We then drove back to Weymouth and visited Radipole Lake Reserve, mainly to buy a hot drink at the visitors centre. We had two great strokes of luck at the visitor's centre. Firsly the fliter coffee machine was out of order, but they were giving instant coffeee away for free!!! Our Yorkshire friends were overjoyed!!

Secondly, a guy told us that he had seen a party of Bearded Tits from the window and when we looked we realised that they were still present!!  A quick dash to the bus for cameras and scopes was made and soon we were clicking away. Despite the cold wind the birds stayed with us for about 15 minutes, how nice was that. We had finished our trip with a star species.

a few pictures of Bearded Reedlings AKA Bearded Tits

It was 11 am when we returned to the Guest House, we packed up the bus and set off for Yeovil. Peter and Eve remained, they were staying for another day.

During our journey we spotted a Red Kite, a Raven and lots of common species. Just before 12 noon we arrived at my home near Yeovil where the group had left their cars, we said goodbye and everyone went their separate ways, the trip was finally over. We had recorded 128 species over the last 7 days with some excellent species included.