17th April

No improvement on the passerine migrant front but a Black Kite that arrived over the island after earlier passing over Weymouth provided some welcome rarity interest, even it proved pretty tricky to catch up despite spending more than half-an-hour overhead. Further island oddities came in the form of a Coal Tit at Thumb Lane (presumably another ater Continental bird but it wasn't seen for long enough to be sure of that), a Jay at Verne Common and a Greylag Goose over the Bill. After a bit of a lull, sea passage picked up with 300 each of Manx Shearwater and Gannet, 76 Common Scoter, 87 Bar-tailed Godwits, 85 Kittiwakes, 55 commic terns, 35 Whimbrel, 26 Sandwich Terns, 11 Little Terns, 8 Arctic Skuas, 5 Red-throated Divers, 3 Puffins, 2 Teal and 2 Little Gulls among the totals from long watches at Chesil and the Bill.

Black Kite has always been a notoriously difficult bird to catch up with at Portland and today's individual maintained that record despite having all the hallmarks of something that you wouldn't have thought you could have missed: there was ample warning of its approach over Portland Harbour but it then proceeded to vanish for quite a while before making a languid pass high over Weston and Easton - as can be seen from this record photo it was very distant indeed from our viewpoint at Portland Heights! © Martin Cade: