6th April

We're not quite sure what happened to the cloud cover that was supposed to be overhead by dawn but the weather forecast was so wayward that throughout the subsequent daylight hours sightings of a cloud within more than 25 miles of the island were as infrequent as Wheatears are turning out to be. In such conditions it was no surprise that migrants were pretty thinly spread: Swallows and Linnets were passing through in their highest numbers to date, but on the ground only Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers - each numbering a few dozen at the Bill - were at all conspicuous; the Wheatear total there didn't get beyond 3, whilst 3 Short-eared Owls, 2 Redstarts and a Yellow Wagtail provided the only other interest. The breeze remained firmly offshore and sea interest was limited to 4 Red-throated Divers, a Little Egret and a Whimbrel through off the Bill.

The first Clouded Yellow of the year was on the wing at the Bill.

Despite searches on and off all day there was only one rather brief sighting of the/a Vagrant Emperor in flight at Suckthumb Quarry.

Whilst searching for the Vagrant Emperor at Suckthumb Quarry Ken Dolbear stumbled across this Dotted Bee-fly beside the main path - as far as we know this is the first record for Portland. We weren't aware that there'd been previous records of any of the bee-flys on the island, but Ken tells us that he also has a sight record of Dark-edged Bee-fly at Penn's Weare. Perhaps we've just been dopey and overlooked them but we're pretty sure that neither species occurs at the Obs (...at least not as resident insects) and it'd be interesting to get clarification of their status elsewhere around the island © Ken Dolbear:

Not that we managed to photograph it particularly successfully, but there was a nice example of sun pillar visible in the dawn sky this morning © Martin Cade: