5th May

Such is the high value to which skuas, and particularly Pomarine Skuas, have been elevated that the forecast of an unseasonable gale had brought forth a state of euphoric anticipation on the part of certain seawatchers, even if rarity- and migrant-seekers were noticeably less enthusiastic. With strong winds already well-established by dawn the highest value skua - a Long-tailed - managed to sneak through both Chesil Cove and the Bill before many watchers were even on station, but thereafter totals of 10 Great Skuas, 6 Pomarine Skuas and an Arctic Skua off Chesil Cove and 7 Great Skuas, 5 Pomarine Skuas and 3 Arctic Skuas off the Bill seemed to satisfy the gathered throng; seawatching was otherwise rather unrewarding: 2 Storm Petrels at Chesil Cove (one of which ended being blown into Portland Harbour) were a first for the year, plenty of Manx Shearwaters were off both watchpoints, but there was little more than 3 Great Northern Divers and singles of Red-throated Diver and Black-throated Diver off the Bill by way of additional quality. Although it was hard to believe many migrants had been on the move during a constantly wet and increasingly windy night there were a few new arrivals about at dawn, with a second Ring Ouzel joining the lingering individual at Coombefield and a handful of Spotted Flycatchers, Garden Warblers, Blackcaps and phylloscs in evidence in sheltered spots around the south of the island; diurnal migrants were much more conspicuous, with a steady stream of hirundines and a few Swifts arriving in off the sea once the early rain had cleared through.

Pomarine Skuas and Wall Brown - Chesil Cove and Portland Bill, 5th May 2015 © Pete Saunders (Pom Skuas) and Ken Dolbear (Wall Brown)