19th May

Premier League we may have been back in the heady days of late April but fast forward a month and proceedings feel a lot like being stuck in a League Two relegation battle - with today's abject performance suggesting we're nailed on for a drop into the Noddy leagues. Ten or so hours of mist-netting at the Obs for no birds, the grounded migrant total for the Bill area in low single figures and the sandflats at Ferrybridge entirely bereft of migrant waders - the litany of underperformers was almost squad-wide, with only the sea putting up any sort of fight: 4 Arctic Skuas and a Great Northern Diver were nice tardy migrants and a Balearic Shearwater was still lingering offshore but the oddest movement of the day concerned 28 Black-headed Gulls, along with 3 Common Gulls and 2 Mediterranean Gulls, passing by.

It's often under-appreciated by visitors just how scarce Black-headed Gulls are at the Bill: being more inshore/inland birds they're rarely present amongst feeding gulls offshore, whilst most migrants take the short-cut over Chesil Beach and Portland Harbour; this year, just 13 migrants were logged passing the Bill during April and, up until today, 31 had passed during May - quite why 28 should suddenly pass by today in a steady procession of small groups in utterly benign conditions defied obvious explanation but was one of those silly little things that keeps you looking and pondering © Martin Cade: