18th April

Portland's fall from grace was rapid indeed, with the apparent overnight departure of all three of the weekend's goodies ensuring that there was only disappointment for the late-comers who'd hoped to score their views during the relative tranquillity of a Monday morning. The clear dawn that preceded the arrival of heavy cloud cover later in the morning saw another small flurry of common migrants, with the Bill area coming up with a combined phyllosc total of around 150, as well as 8 Yellow Wagtails, 7 Redstarts, 3 Grasshopper Warblers, 3 Whinchats, 2 Short-eared Owls (including another in-off individual), 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 2 Firecrests and a Black Redstart amongst the other routine fare on offer; a Ring Ouzel at Blacknor and a Common Scoter in Portland Harbour were of note elsewhere.

A single Dark Sword Grass provided the first immigrant interest for a long time in the Obs garden moth-traps.

With so much going on just lately we're getting quite a backlog of some of the extra stuff we like to squeeze in from time to time on the end of a day's reports; Nick Hopper's nocturnal recordings are one such that we're already a week behind with. Nick's most recent visit was early last week when he managed to wangle a three night stint: the first two nights were quiet, with a Water Rail on 11th/12th and 2 Dunlin, a Coot, a Skylark and a Song Thrush on 12th/13th; the last night - 13th/14th - was a good bit busier, with the onset of rain during the night perking up wader numbers; 2 late Redwings, 2 Robins and a Song Thrush provided the passerine interest, a small flock of Common Terns passed over and waders came in the form of a Bar-tailed Godwit, two flocks of Whimbrel, two flocks of Ringed Plover, several flocks of Dunlin and a single Common Sandpiper. Nick's Bar-tailed Godwit recording nicely illustrates the flip side of a sudden rain shower - it might bring the birds down but it doesn't make for easy recording:

We hope we didn't cause too much offence by yesterday's late night observation - that time does sort of lend itself to being a bit mischievous - on our Twitter feed that we'd been surprised not to be offered a single image for the blog from the very many photographers busy around the Bill (we'd estimated that approaching a quarter of a million pounds worth of high-grade camera equipment had passed the Obs during the day); we haven't got enough time to dwell on this issue just now but many thanks indeed to everyone who has sent us through some really nice images from the weekend (...these are all folk who regularly allow to use their images so, ironically, are the last people we'd wanted to take aim at!).

The Hoopoe and White-spotted Bluethroat from John Wall:

...the Western Subalpine Warbler, Hoopoe, a Yellow Wagtail and a Whinchat from Peter Moore petermooreblog:


...one of the Short-eared Owls from Tony Hovell:

...a Ring Ouzel from Joe Mitchell:

...Goldcrest and Firecrest from Simon Kidner:

...and one of the Subalpine watchers from Joe Stockwell joe-stockwell.blogspot: