8th April

For a good part of the day it seemed as though Portland was close to the edge of rain creeping north across the Channel to the east of us but the threat rarely materialised into more than the odd outbreak of spitsy drizzle. Given the conditions it was a tad disappointing that more wasn't on the move along this weather boundary, with the weekend observers having to content themselves with no more than a small flurry amongst which 5 Firecrests, an Iceland Gull, the spring's first Whitethroat and another Hawfinch at the Bill and a Ring Ouzel lingering on at Barleycrates Lane were about the best on offer. Numbers at the Bill included 30 each of Blackcap and Chiffchaff but, for example, no more than 10 Willow Warblers and 4 Wheatears - the latter in particular have for the most part been really poorly represented so far this season. Long-stayers still about included the 'Eastern' Lesser Whitethroat at Southwell and at least 2 Short-eared Owls at the Bill. The sea ticked over without being ever busy, with 47 Common Scoter and singles of Red-throated Diver, Black-throated Diver, Canada Goose, Goosander and Arctic Skua through off the Bill and 2 Gadwall dropping in at Portland Harbour.

With so many white-winged gulls in Devon and Cornwall this year it's been a surprise how few have shown up at Portland, with today's Iceland Gull being the first of either species for over a month - there again, we were graced with the presence of the Ross's Gull which we'd take in compensation every time! © Roger Hewitt: