2nd May

The heavily overcast, damp conditions that rolled in late yesterday were just right for dropping migrants to an audible height in the hours of darkness - a whole variety of waders in really good quantity were heard passing over the Bill - and had grounded plenty of newcomers by dawn. The general dreariness and brisk westerly breeze made for difficult birding on the land and, at least until it brightened up in the evening, the best handle on numbers came from the steady succession of birds turning up in the Obs garden mist-nets; overall estimate from the Bill/Southwell area included 150 Blackcaps, 100 Willow Warblers and 25 Garden Warblers, but amongst the lower totals there was plenty more variety including 2 Purple Sandpipers and singles of Snipe and Pied Flycatcher; the latter were also well represented elsewhere, including 6 in the Wakeham area where 2 Cuckoos were also of note, whilst a single Black Redstart at Blacknor and an increase in waders at Ferrybridge (including 170 Dunlin) attracted attention. The sea was well-watched throughout and Chesil came up with the best of the numbers, including 600 commic terns, 12 Great Skuas, 5 Arctic Skuas and 3 Pomarine Skuas; of these totals the Bill could only better the Arctic Skua tally with 10, but 3 Great Northern Divers and 3 Pochard were decent additions there. Late in the day a notable influx of Pale-bellied Brent Geese included 19 settled in Portland Harbour, although we're not sure whether a larger flock of more than 60 that were close to Portland Harbour ever actually impinged on island airspace.

Blackcap, Spotted Flycatcher, Arctic Tern, Pale-bellied Brent Geese, Arctic Skua and Pochard - Southwell, Chesil Beach, Portland Harbour and Portland Bill, 2nd May 2016 © Debby Saunders (Blackcap & Spot Fly), Joe Stockwell joe-stockwell.blogspot (Arctic Tern and PbBrents), Martin Cade (Arctic Skua) and Keith Pritchard (Pochard)