22nd May

Not that it perhaps should have come as that much of a surprise since the mix of a very brisk northerly and, at least for a while after dawn, decent cloud cover would have seemed like potential fall conditions anytime in the spring, but today came up with a pretty good flurry of tardy migrants. There was a perceivable sense of urgency to proceedings the Bill where hirundines and Swifts were racing through overhead and precious little of what pitched in on the ground lingered for long; the most thorough of the sample West Cliff counts returned 90 minute totals of 126 Swifts, 78 Swallows, 60 House Martins and 4 Sand Martins, whilst additional grounded and overhead totals there included 15 Spotted Flycatchers, 10 Chiffchaffs, 8 Wheatears, 5 Willow Warblers, 4 each of Barnacle Goose, Turnstone and Reed Warbler, 3 each of Hobby and Whinchat, 2 each of Purple Sandpiper, Redstart and Garden Warbler, and singles of Whimbrel, Ruff, Short-eared Owl, Sedge Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat and Blackcap. Coverage elsewhere was very limited but included another Hobby through at Blacknor and a noticeable increase in waders at Ferrybridge where there were 39 Dunlin, 20 Ringed Plover, a Sanderling and a Whimbrel. Seawatching wasn't really the order of the day in such a brisk offshore wind but odds and ends of interest from the Bill included yet another steady movement of Manx Shearwaters, 46 Common Scoter, 2 Dunlin and an Arctic Skua.

A very small increase in immigrant moth numbers saw 2 Diamond-back Moths, a Rusty-dot Pearl and a Silver Y trapped overnight at the Obs.

We're not really at all well up on raptor ageing but when we saw Keith's scorching photos of one of today's fly-by Hobbys we took it that on the basis of the scaly upperparts, pale-tipped upperwing coverts, really densely marked underwing and not very red 'trousers' it was - like many of the late arriving migrants that it's possible to age at this time of year - a first-summer bird (in the case of Hobby still wearing largely juvenile plumage that it won't finally fully moult out of until it returns to winter quarters in Africa later this year) © Keith Pritchard...

...we might have better comparison photos of what we presume to be an adult but for the time being these two of a bird at the Bill on 28th May 2014 will probably suffice © Martin Cade: 

Barnacle Geese are an often derided sight in Dorset but we wouldn't mind betting that the four overhead today were 'proper' migrants rather than plastics wandering from a feral population somewhere in southern Britain © Keith Pritchard: 

We're not sure whether this Raven on West Cliffs at the Bill this morning is the Guillemot egg stealer but if it is then it may have become even more of a nuisance - did it actually capture and kill this Kittiwake? © Keith Pritchard: