8th May

With the breeze back firmly in the east there were hopes for the day and these were quickly realised with the discovery of a Woodchat Shrike at the Bill - initially in the Obs Quarry field it soon made its way up into the Strips where it remained for the rest of the day. More was expected of the sea in the seemingly propitious conditions but it once again proved hard work to garner a respectable tally: 5 Arctic Skuas and singles of Red-throated, Black-throated and Great Northern Divers were the pick from Chesil where a varied selection of small numbers of waders and terns also passed, whilst 2 Shoveler and a Pomarine Skua were additions amongst an otherwise samey selection from the Bill. The shrike aside, the grounded migrant selection included a Cuckoo and a Turtle Dove at the Bill where there was a decent miscellany of late arrivals albeit none bar Willow Warbler (60ish) in any numbers. Visible passage flattered to deceive: the likes of small numbers of overflying Swifts and Spotted Flycatchers offered promise but hirundines in particular weren't at all numerous.

The Woodchat Shrike...

...Even at a glance the bird looked pale enough that it was assumed it'd be in first-summer plumage but that fact was confirmed by, amongst other features, the presence of a chunk of old, faded juvenile feathers in the inner primaries and outer secondaries. Sex-wise, the amount of paler feathers in the forehead and ear-coverts would suggest it's a female © Martin Cade:

Episodes of spring moth immigration seem in recent memory to have become as rare as the proverbial rocking horse manure: is it really already eleven years ago that right at this time we logged singles of Patton's Tiger and Powdered Grass-veneer Thisanotia chrysonuchella at the Obs on consecutive nights? - has there even been a noteworthy spring immigration since then? This spring has provided precious few moth highlights but you can usually rely on a waft of easterly to perk up interest and so it proved this morning with a Pine Beauty - a far less than annual stray from the heathlands - making into the Obs moth-traps © Martin Cade: