6th May

With a band of rain occupying the width of the Channel - its northern boundary just a few miles off the Bill - only the most optimistic had high hopes for the day. In the event there was just enough clear weather for a small movement of Pomarine Skuas to develop, with a total of 21 tracked eastwards past viewpoints along Chesil and at the Bill; 3 Great Northern Divers, a Red-throated Diver and an Arctic Skua also sneaked by off the Bill, whilst a typical miscellany off Chesil included 3 Red-breasted Mergansers and 2 Eider amongst the selection of waders and terns. Visible passage was largely confined to a short window of opportunity through the middle of the morning, when Swallows and to a less extent House Martins streamed through on a broad front for a couple of hours and a corridor of wider variety over Weston saw a Red-rumped Swallow, 7 Yellow Wagtails and 2 Hobbies logged from one viewpoint and 50 Swifts and a third Hobby from another. By and large the land was the poor relation, with 100 or so Willow Warblers making up the bulk of the numbers at the Bill; 2 Wood Warblers in a private garden at Weston and a Grasshopper Warbler at the Bill were the only oddities reported amongst the generally thin spread of other more routine migrants, whilst a wintering Purple Sandpiper also lingered on at the Bill.

Two Risso's Dolphins lingering off Chesil for a while during the morning were a major Portland rarity; a lone Basking Shark also passed by there.

A customary episode of crass ineptness saw us time our foray to the Bill tip for a Pomarine Skua photo for the blog such that we left just before flocks of 13 and 4 passed by in quick succession at blisteringly close range - the 2 we did see were by far the most distant Poms of the morning! © Martin Cade: