19th March

What proved to be lovely conditions for a Mother's Day drive to Portland for a Cream Tea weren't ever likely to be much cop for those travelling to the island hoping to tap into some early migrants and so it came to pass that today's sunny skies were the undoing of the birders. Two Red Kites did get aloft and strayed all the way out to the Bill but the migrant tally there otherwise consisted of little more than 23 Wheatears, 10 Chiffchaffs and 3 Firecrests on the ground and 2 Sand Martins and a few pipits and wagtails passing overhead; what we must have missed after it all passed overhead without stopping during the hours of darkness was hinted at by the decent tally of 166 Redwing calls logged overnight by the Obs nocmig recorder. Three Red-throated Divers and a lone Manx Shearwater were all that the seawatchers could muster off the Bill.

Once a highly sought-after rare migrant at Portland, Red Kite has been massively devalued by the dumping of umpteen of them all over the British countryside; however, they actually remain surprisingly infrequent on the island, with most of the wanderings of the introduced population being confined to the mainland © Martin Cade:

Small White was on the wing for the first time this year © Martin Cade...

...whilst after their being reduced to considerable infrequency in recent years it's nice that two of the few butterflies seen in recent days have been Small Tortoiseshells © Steve Mansfield: