11th April

It makes a welcome change to be able report action on all fronts today, with drizzly rain straddling the Channel through the morning and a waft of a southeasterly breeze prompting strong passage on the sea as well as grounding a steady arrival of routine migrants; warm sunshine breaking through once the rain cleared saw visible passage get going, whilst to cap things off the appearance of a Hoopoe at the RN Cemetery and an Osprey over Portland Harbour provided scarcity interest. The best of the numbers were again on the sea, with 539 Common Scoter, 480 Manx Shearwaters, 81 commic terns (largely Arctic Terns) and 54 Sandwich Terns making up the bulk of the total at the Bill; shorter watches from Chesil came up with slightly lower numbers, whilst variety at the two sites included 5 Red-throated Divers, 4 Arctic Skuas, 2 Little Terns, a Velvet Scoter and a Little Gull. Further interest on the water included 5 Great Northern Divers in Portland Harbour (with another overhead at Blacknor), a Black-throated Diver in Chesil Cove and a Mute Swan at Ferrybridge. On the land, phylloscs and Blackcap were certainly to the fore - including south of the island estimates of around 100 of both Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff, and 25 Blackcaps - but variety included 4 Ring Ouzels, 3 Short-eared Owls, 3 Firecrests and singles of Little Ringed Plover, Black Redstart and Pied Flycatcher. Overhead passage was quite strong at times, with Swallows and Meadow Pipits dominating, but the likes of Sand Martin (75) and Yellow Wagtail (9) also returned decent totals at the Bill.

The first Green-veined White butterfly of the year was on the wing at the Obs.

Ring Ouzel, Firecrest and Speckled Wood - Portland Bill, 11th April 2016 © Duncan Walbridge (Ring Ouzel), Martin Cade (Firecrest) and Ken Dolbear (Speckled Wood)

...and a bit of random migrant action at the Bill: