19th June

As the relentless downpour settled into a more bearable, but no less consistent, drizzle we were treated to a couple of surprise migrants. A Cuckoo found perched on the fence posts of the strips was accompanied, virtually simultaneously, by a Turtle Dove in Southwell (speculation is rife that this is the safe individual that has been frequenting the gardens of Southwell for much of the Spring). The nets remained relatively quiet but a Spotted Flycatcher and a Chiffchaff were perhaps signs of the beginnings of autumn rather than a late spring rush.

The lingering Bar-tailed Godwit at Ferrybridge was finally joined by a pair of passing Whimbrel © Debby Saunders:



18th June

Once more unto the rain drenched fields we trudged with little encouragement from our avian quarry. Passerine highlights were limited to a small smattering of Reed Warblers, a Willow Warbler (honestly when we saw this hunkered in the Pulpit Bushes we were hoping for a little more...) and the first fly-over Siskin since April. The sea was once again limited to single figure counts with the highlight of a single Arctic Skua causing chaos amongst the gull flock.

17th June

Having seen the weather forecast it appears that the end of the rain may be a temporary break as opposed to the start of a glorious summer. However, we still took the opportunity  presented by the dry spell to get out searching for some birds. Unfortunately most hunts were unsuccessful and the day tally remained pitifully low with the main excitement being a Lesser Whitethroat trapped at the obs. The sea provided the rest of the interest with single figures of Arctic Skua, Balearic Shearwater, Sandwich and Common Terns and Mediterranean Gull (as well as the common fare). Although the variety of species was pretty low the Bill Wheatears were keeping things interesting with the ringed male (from the East Cliffs) putting in some graft with the Bill female whilst the Bill male was tending to his fledglings; needless to say we'll be keeping an eye on these scandalous birds.




16th June

Precious little to report on another day when it was far too breezy to engender much confidence that any lurking rarity that had dropped in might actually offer itself up for discovery. A Spotted Flycatcher at Thumb Lane was the only new arrival reported from the land, a Great Skua passed over at Ferrybridge and 7 Sandwich Terns were off the Bill.

Butterfly-friendly conditions have been at a premium in recent days but the occasional bit of warm sunshine has seen Marbled Whites now on the wing in good quantity and a few Painted Ladys cropping up here and there © Ken Dolbear (Marbled White) and Martin Cade (Painted Lady):



15th June

A day of two halves, with a miserably drizzly morning giving way to a bright but still breezy afternoon and evening. Odds and ends from the sea included 2 Arctic Skuas and a single Great Skua lingering off the Bill, whilst a Reed Warbler in song at Culverwell was the day's only new arrival on the land.

It was nice to find a couple of fledged Wheatears at the Bill Quarry this evening - the second year in succession that there's been a successful outcome here...


...the youngsters might have looked plump and tidy but the male's looking decidedly shoddy and scrawny after his efforts over the last few weeks:


It was also nice to finally confirm from the part-read ring number that the female of the pair is indeed one of last year's youngsters; sadly, the male's never been trapped so we can't prove he's the same individual in both breeding attempts but, this being Portland where incest's evidently a deeply ingrained facet of local culture, we wouldn't mind betting that's the case © Martin Cade:



14th June

A respite from the recent rain didn't arrive in tandem with much of a reduction in the strength of the nagging southwesterly but some pleasant sunshine was certainly most welcome. Tardy migrants keep appearing, even in the prevailing seemingly wholly unsuitable conditions, with 4 Reed Warblers and 2 Spotted Flycatchers new in at the Bill. The sea provided the rest of the interest, with 4 Arctic Skuas, 2 Common Scoter and 2 Balearic Shearwaters through off the Bill along with a nearly three figure total of Manx Shearwaters.

13th June

A truly miserable day with constant heavy cloud and drizzle meant little was done in the way of field searching. Despite the wet conditions visibility remained good so sea-watching was the order of the day. The lingering gull flock eventually attracted in a small selection of followers including a Balearic Shearwater (in amongst a flock of 23 Manxies), three Arctic Skuas and a pair of Common Terns.  

12th June

The unsettled weather that we've been experiencing brought with it a rather unusual selection of birds today. In terms of island rarity the highlight came in the form of the third Glossy Ibis for Portland that flew over Ferrybridge shortly after dawn; Ferrybridge was scored with a south-bound fly-by Cuckoo. In terms of numbers, the day saw (at least by June's standards) a decent fall of Reed Warblers with a minimum of 12 throughout the recording area; Spotted Flycatchers also put in a good showing with three trapped and a further two elsewhere, whilst singles of Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler were also new in. Once again Swifts were a prominent feature of the day although in lower numbers than yesterday.

11th June

The stir-up in the weather that's been so evident over recent days seems finally to be generating a few rewards on the bird front, with a Rosy Starling that dropped in at Southwell stealing the show today. From the spectacle point of view the day's highlight was actually a spectacular movement of Swifts associated with a band of intense rainfall just to the north of the island during the afternoon: many hundreds left out to sea ahead of the rain, with most later trailing back northward into the teeth of a brisk northeasterly that sprung up after the rain. Another small flurry of migrants on the ground included 2 Reed Warblers, 2 Spotted Flycatchers and a Willow Warbler at the Bill and 13 Sanderling, 9 Dunlin and a Bar-tailed Godwit at Ferrybridge.

The first Convolvulus Hawkmoth of the year was trapped overnight at the Obs.

The Rosy Starling dropped in just long enough to allow for a snatched record photo © Nick Stantiford:


The Convolvulus Hawkmoth looks to be the earliest ever recorded at Portland - the previous earliest record we can find is of one on 15th June 2015 © Martin Cade:


With Alpine Swifts to the east and west of the island more scrutiny of the evening rush of Swifts might have paid dividends...


...laggards were till arriving in off the sea at the Bill as night fell, with several making attempts to find roosting spots on the window ledges of the Obs lighthouse tower © Martin Cade:

10th June

With the storm clouds looming ever closer it was up to the morning to produce the good today. The land fell a little short with no more than a new Reed Warbler in the nets, a Spotted Flycatcher at Culverwell, a fly-by Turtle Dove up-island and 13 each of Dunlin and Sanderling at Ferrybridge, whilst an unexpectedly eventful morning seawatch at the Bill came up with a Pomarine Skua, 2 Arctic Skuas, a Barnacle Goose and a handful of Manx Shearwaters.

We had a pleasant little off-island jaunt yesterday evening up onto the downs above Dorchester to have a listen for a Quail that Richard Newton had stumbled upon the day before. It was soon apparent that there were 2 birds singing at the site we'd been directed to and, with the conditions so perfect, we had a drive about and quickly came across another a few fields away - with seemingly suitable habitat for as far as the eye could see it makes you wonder how many more must be tucked away out of earshot this summer:

9th June

Two things were most welcome today, the slackening of the wind and the appearance of a small selection of migrants. Presumably yesterdays Golden Oriole continued its skittish rounds back and forth between the Obs garden, Culverwell and the huts, a Reed Warbler set up in one of the Obs sycamores and sang through most of the day (as is their wont at this time of year) and a Spotted Flycatcher put in an appearance in the Top Fields. The sea continued to be quiet but the first signs of returning Mediterranean Gulls are beginning both on the sea and at Ferrybridge. Ferrybridge wader numbers showed a small increase with the Bar-tailed Godwit remaining for a second day.

A rare view of the Golden Oriole in the open at Culverwell © Roger Hewitt:

8th June

A wildly windy day hadn't been expected to produce on the land but it was a Golden Oriole that showed up in the Obs garden that stole the show (...it later transpired that it or another had been reported earlier from a private garden at Weston). Whatever else might have dropped into the largely unbirdable bushes escaped detection but the fact that there was certainly some other late passage afoot was evidenced by a nice flurry of waders at Ferrybridge, where 23 Sanderling, 9 Dunlin and a Bar-tailed Godwit were all new in. The sea got plenty of attention with 6 Arctic Skuas, 2 Balearic Shearwaters and a Great Skua the best on offer off the Bill.

As is often the case the oriole was heard before it was seen and it proved to be typically elusive and mobile, affording no more than fleeting flight views as it dashed about the Obs garden and the beach hut fields © Martin Cade:


7th June

The cyclical vortex of precipitation that engulfed much of the south-west today put pay to most birding attempts. There was, however, a brief respite in the middle of the day as the eye of the storm sat directly above Portland revealing beautifully warm, clear skies. During this period those of us at the Obs put our skates on and headed to as many places as possible before the onslaught ensued again. Unfortunately the rain didn't drop any marvellous presents onto our shores but the sea-watch provided a couple of Balearic Shearwaters, 45 Manx Shearwaters and 2 Puffins. The land produced little more than a new Chiffchaff, and a small handful of Swifts and House Martins still on the move.

6th June

With the breeze remaining firmly in the west nothing much was expected of the land and singles of Chiffchaff and Spotted Flycatcher looked to be the only new arrivals at the Bill. A single Balearic Shearwater was lingering off the Bill during the evening.

Never a regular Portland breeding bird in living memory, this year has seen an interesting turn of events for Wheatear with a pair breeding at the Bill Quarry for the second successive year and at least three unpaired males holding territories elsewhere for varying lengths of time. One of these additional males is still about and from the part-read ring number seems pretty likely to be one of last year's Bill Quarry youngsters © Erin Taylor:

5th June

With the skies woefully devoid of any signs avian life, much of the day was spent in search of some of Portland's scare and rare plant life (see pictures below). The pinnacle of the birding day came in the form of two Balearic Shearwaters lingering amongst the evening gull flock. Otherwise land-based migrants were limited to...(don't get too excited now folks) Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps and a pair of Rooks.

The field adjacent to the Obs that was purchased last year is one of the few remaining (relatively) untouched areas of limestone grassland left on Portland and every year it provides a stunning display of orchids. This year is, so far, no exception with many of the nominate form of Bee Orchid appearing as well as this Wasp Orchid  © Martin King:



It's not just orchids that make Portland special but also the incredible diversity of vetches! Of the three pictured two are nationally scarce one of which, the Bithynian Vetch, is also declining in its coastal strongholds  © Erin Taylor:

Bithynian Vetch...


Grass Vetchling…


Yellow Vetch...

4th June

In a small way today exceeded expectations, with the miscellany accrued by the end of the day confounding what had looked to be an utter lack of promise in the first hours of the morning. Migrant-wise, the Bill turned up 7 Black-tailed Godwits through overhead and singles of Turtle Dove and Lesser Whitethroat on the ground, with a Reed Warbler at Nicodemus Knob an addition to the tally from elsewhere. The sea get a fair bit of attention and although passage was limited to low double-figure totals of Common Scoter through off Chesil and the Bill there were a few lingerers of note: the first 2 Balearic Shearwaters of the summer were off the Bill where 3 Arctic Skuas were harassing the flocks of large gulls feeding offshore; a flurry of smaller gulls included an unseasonable Common Gull off the Bill and a few presumably returning Mediterranean Gulls off there and Chesil.

How do you identify a Siberian Lesser Whitethroat in the spring/summer? We'd been immediately struck in the field by how brown-backed today's new arrival at the Obs had looked and made a bit of effort to cajole it into a net to get a better understanding of its features © Nick Hopper...


...it did indeed turn out to be appreciably sandy-brown on the upperparts and had what seemed to be a rather poorly defined mask. The tail possessed a peculiar mixture of old and new feathers that could be taken to suggest that the bird was a first-summer although we weren't actually convinced that the old feathers were actually juvenile © Martin Cade:


In the past when they were more numerous migrants Turtle Doves were to be expected in early June so this evening's fleeting visitor wasn't too out of season © Nick Hopper:


One of this evening's Arctic Skuas lingered distantly for the duration of our watch and caused pandemonium amongst the hundreds of large gulls feeding offshore every time it tried its luck at getting its evening meal © Martin Cade:


The oddest bird of the watch was this Common Tern that for the most part was feeding distantly amongst the gulls. At very long range we kept getting tantalising glimpses of features that hinted at it not being an adult even though it looked to have a full hood but it wasn't until it eventually came closer (...and, most unusually, even landed for a while) that the signs of immaturity - scruffy plumage, two generations of outer primaries, partial secondary bar and the like - were revealed. It also became clear that the bird's bill was deformed but if this was related in any way to the non-adult plumage features - maybe it can't preen properly? - remained uncertain © Martin Cade:


3rd June

Not at all surprisingly with a brisk westerly blowing migrant interest was limited to 3 Spotted Flycatchers and 2 Reed Warblers at the Bill; a lone Whimbrel also passed by on the sea there.

Visiting entomologists reported the discovery of a Green Hairstreak butterfly this morning at High Angle Battery; we're aware of only one previous island record of a single at an unknown location on 20th May 1958.

2nd June

A tantalising report of an apparent Woodchat Shrike beside the Admiralty Hedge only added to our frustratingly empty day as all but a couple of visitors failed to track down the bird. Other migrants were extremely thin on the ground with doubles of Spotted Flycatcher and Blackcap being the only species of note. Common Scoters once again led the charge on the sea with 76 recorded through the morning but the highlight was a pair of unseasonable Brent Geese.

1st June

A very quiet morning at the Obs was highlighted by the unusual occurrence of a June Goldcrest in the nets, a female recently finished breeding. The only other glimmers of migratory hope at the Bill came from a fly-over Hobby, a small trickle of Swifts and singles of Lapwing, Reed Warbler and Chiffchaff. The mornings watch of the sea was only interrupted by 71 Common Scoters, 7 Sanderling and a lone Manx Shearwater.

31st May

Heavily overcast skies - at least until the sun finally broke through during the afternoon - made all the difference today and there was a welcome flourish of late migrants to get amongst. As expected, Spotted Flycatchers were to the fore with at least 17 scattered about at the Bill; 3 Chiffchaffs, 2 Reed Warblers and a Pied Flycatcher were also new there and 3 lingering Blackcaps were an addition to the mix. Offshore, 57 Common Scoter were still on the move even if the increasing component of westbound birds amongst them suggests that many now are non-breeders.

You'd think that a Red-breasted Flycatcher would be more on the cards at this time of year but we drew the short straw today and our one non Spot Fly was 'just' a Pied © Martin Cade:


If ever there's a characteristic sound of the late spring at Portland it has to be the constant chuntering of a Reed Warbler; we have some ringing evidence to suggest that these late arrivals include a lot of the previous year's youngsters that are presumably making exploratory trips northward way after the main passage of breeding adults has finished. For whatever reason they always seem perfectly happy to sing all day in inappropriate habitat and it's an odd feature that they're often rooted to the same bush or tree they pitched up in: we didn't ever see/hear today's bird at the Obs leave one small clump of trees - it was singing there at dawn and it was still singing there when we left at the end of the afternoon © Martin Cade:


30th May

Today's most intriguing report was of 4 Puffins settled off the Bill during the morning - 2 birds have been seen together on several dates in recent weeks but 4 is the highest count of settled birds for some years. The day's migrant (in)action was limited to 2 Spotted Flycatchers at the Bill and 23 Sanderling and 3 Dunlin at Ferrybridge; the only other reports were of a few Manx Shearwaters milling around off the Bill.

After the discovery last year of Small Eggar larval nests at several sites around the north of the island we weren't surprised when many of the regular moth-trappers reported captures of adults during their flight season earlier this year. The species is clearly now well established on the island and Phil Sterling sent us through this interesting photo of a larval nest at High Angle Battery that's been co-occupied by Lackeys - the latter are currently super-abundant throughout the island © Phil Sterling:

29th May


A tolerably pleasant still and overcast dawn rather belied what was in store for the rest of the day, with the drizzly rain that set in by mid-morning a precursor to the misty low cloud and freshening wind that spoilt the rest of the day. A Curlew Sandpiper at Ferrybridge was the pick of the few new arrivals that also included 4 Spotted Flycatchers at the Bill.

We have a sketchy memory of reading somewhere that many/most sub-adult Curlew Sandpipers remain in Africa during their first summer so it's been a bit of a surprise that several of the late spring records at Ferrybridge over the years - like this evening's individual - have involved birds in non-breeding plumage. Our knowledge of wader ageing is pretty scant but we took it that this bird was indeed a first-summer and that fact looks to be confirmed by the moult discontinuity in the primaries - new outer feathers and old, worn inners (it seems that an adult ought to have more uniform primaries - as well as also presumably showing at least some signs of breeding plumage by now) © Martin Cade:




Ken Dolbear has asked us to draw attention to the second instalment of his review of the accelerating decline of the flora and fauna of Portland:

28th May

With the exception of an evening movement of 250 Manx Shearwaters off the Bill today was not a day of quantity but there was still a few signs of late passage afoot. New passerine arrivals included 3 Spotted Flycatchers, a Grey Wagtail and a Reed Warbler at the Bill where 5 Common Scoter and an Arctic Skua passed through on the sea. Elsewhere, waders at Ferrybridge included 14 Dunlin and 13 Sanderling.

Quality might be lacking - for now at least - but even the prevailing brisk northwesterlies keep turning up signs of late passage, with several Spotted Flycatchers fresh in today © Martin Cade:

27th May

A day when even the fleeting appearance of a Golden Oriole that was watched arriving in off the sea at the Bill didn't exactly fill everyone with enthusiasm: orioles have been relatively frequent in recent days and today's freshening northwesterly was so demonstrably poor for any other migrant activity that no particular significance was attached to this fly-by highlight. The handful of other summer migrants that did make the list at the Bill were largely lingerers, with a small increase in passage waders at Ferrybridge - 11 Dunlin and 7 Sanderling - one of the few signs of certain new arrivals.

26th May

There are not many ways to put it: today was well and truly dire. Not a sniff of an unusual bird anywhere and in fact even common migrants were difficult to come by. The grand total of our efforts today came to 5 Spotted Flycatchers and 2 Blackcaps on the land and 148 Manx Shearwaters and 19 Common Scoter through on the sea. Even Ferrybridge was disappointing with just 5 each of Dunlin and Ringed Plover.

Thankfully (for the blog's sake), Nick Hopper joined us early last week for a few more nights of nocturnal recording and, whilst still far from busy, it was more rewarding than on many other attempts this spring. The highlights included a Nightjar and, oddly, a Teal; other species included Greenshank, Redshank, Knot, Turnstone, Whimbrel, Common Sandpiper, Ringed Plover and Dunlin on the wader front, as well as Common Tern, Pied and Spotted Flycatcher and a Swallow. Guillemot was also recorded a couple of times, presumably wanderers from the colony.

The Nightjar was a quick fly-by giving just a single call but the Whimbrel were good value since they were not only calling as they passed over but also breaking into snatches of song:



25th May

As is usually the case with beautiful clear days on Portland, the only real bird of interest arrived early and left almost immediately after singing for a brief period. This was certainly the case today although not a Golden Oriole as the theme has been recently but a Common Rosefinch at Culverwell. Other migrants were extremely limited to a slack handful of Phylloscs (predominantly Chiffchaffs), Reed Warblers, Sedge Warblers and Spotted Flycatchers as well as the lingering Turtle Dove. The sea was equally quiet with 73 Manx Shearwaters, 4 Mediterranean Gulls and a lone Arctic Skua.

The non-avian highlight of the day was the first Lulworth Skipper of the year; traditionally, Portland's population emerges later than those to our east and this year is no exception being 19 days later than those at Lulworth itself © Roger Hewitt:

24th May

A bit of dawn cloud cover and a cool northwesterly breeze downed a nice selection of late migrants today, with yet another Golden Oriole - this one roamed widely between the Privet Hedge and Avalanche Road - the pick of the oddities. Singles of Red Kite, Marsh Harrier and a non-local Common Buzzard were of note overhead, whilst 15 Spotted Flycatchers and 6 each of Yellow Wagtail and Reed Warbler made up the bulk of the passerine arrivals at the Bill. Two Moorhens were still at Culverwell where breeding was proved when 2 recently fledged youngsters were sighted. Overnight, 4 Storm Petrels had been sound-lured and trapped at the Bill tip.

We wouldn't have bothered with our hopeless snaps taken at a couple of hundred metres range of the Golden Oriole (we were at Culverwell and it was in the middle of Top Fields) were it not for them actually capturing quite well the very characteristic jizz of a distant Top Fields oriole © Martin Cade:


The warmth of the middle of the day brought with it a minor raptor-fest, with a Red Kite, a non-local Common Buzzard and an in off the sea Marsh Harrier logged in quick time. The Marsh Harrier was unusual in as much as it looked to be an adult male - the majority of island records relate to immatures of some sort © Duncan Walbridge:


Having trapped Storm Petrels as early as 19th May in previous years we know they're gettable this early in the summer even if we rarely try because we'd rather be up early whilst there's still a fair  chance of migrants by day. An attempt last night was aimed as much at trying out a thermal camera as it was actually catching petrels; in the event we did sound-lure and trap four birds and the camera was a revelation when it came to getting a handle of what the birds were up to - anyone used only to seeing petrels on seawatches wouldn't belief how they behave at night! © Martin Cade:



Even if they're rarely seen they do call a fair bit so we've known there have been Moorhens at Culverwell for some weeks (perhaps even since last autumn) and there's been a suspicion that they might just be breeding. Proof came this morning when we were going to open the net in the photo below and nearly trod on two tiny youngsters that were creeping about in the marsh. They didn't oblige with further views then but a stake-out this evening was rewarded when they eventually snuck by the same spot. The only previous breeding record for Portland involved an attempt at Verne Common in 2013 that failed when the small pond being used dried up.


Now you see them...


...now you don't


Curiosity got the better of one of them and it couldn't resist a quick sneak back to check us out © Martin Cade:

23rd May

Today was rescued from total failure by a Serin first heard calling then seen within the Obs Garden and Hut Fields. A Cuckoo in Culverwell and a pair of Corn Buntings at the Bill were an excellent supporting cast, but common migrants were extremely thin on the ground with just two each of Spotted Flycatchers and Reed Warblers and singles of Redshank and Yellow Wagtail. The sea was also quiet with little more than a Great Northern Diver and 62 Common Scoter.

Rather conveniently the night recording kit was still switched on when the Serin made a quick early morning dash over  the Obs patio: 



The Cuckoo was good value since it was gorging voraciously on what must have seemed to it like conveyor belts of Lackey caterpillars moving along the tree branches at Culverwell - wherever it chose to perch there was a constant stream of food on tap that it gladly made the most of © Martin Cade:



22nd May

A stunningly clear day from start to finish did little for the birding, but was greatly appreciated by the sun-worshippers of the south coast. The highlight of a largely predictable day was another singing Golden Oriole at Culverwell, as is the trend this year it was hugely elusive showing for brief glimpses before vanishing back amongst the Sycamore leaves to whistle its melody once more. Other migrants were decidedly thin on the ground with little more than a handful of Spotted Flycatchers, Reed Warblers and Chiffchaffs and singles of Sedge Warbler, Willow Warbler and Yellow Wagtail. The sea too was quiet with just a measly passage of Common Scoters to keep us occupied.



Perhaps not the best day for birding was an excellent day for butterflies with this Adonis Blue, found away from the usual haunts, on the Slopes © Erin Taylor:


21st May

Not before time it was beginning to feel really quite warm today in unbroken sunshine and with just a waft of a northerly breeze. The birds too had a flavour of warmer climes about them, with a rash of Golden Oriole sightings or hearings at various points between the Bill and Easton; many of the reports likely related to just one very mobile individual but 2 were considered to be present at Avalanche Road at one point. Two Nightjars (different individuals) were at the Bill, where Spotted Flycatcher again topped a double-figure total and ones and twos of a few other late common migrants continued to feature on the day-list; Spotted Flycatcher was also by far the most conspicuous migrant elsewhere, with another 10 at Avalanche Road alone, whilst one or more Turtle Doves were still at Southwell. Seawatching at the Bill returned just 45 Common Scoter, whilst waders at Ferrybridge included 48 Dunlin, 7 Bar-tailed Godwits, 2 each of Sanderling and Whimbrel, and a lone Grey Plover.

As well as being rather drowned out by the customary Bill dawn cacophony, this morning's Golden Oriole wasn't such a strident singer as yesterday's bird although it was calling quite frequently: 

20th May

It would've taken something extraordinary for someone to have guessed the combination of birds sighted today. A couple of anticipated scarcities included a Golden Oriole singing in Southwell and a fly-over Bee-eater at the Windmills and the Bill.  Less expected - but actually more gripping for Portland! - were 2 passing Egyptian Geese off East Cliffs; combine this with the first Greenshank of the year, a fly-over Golden Plover and the lingering Turtle Dove and you've got a truly varied selection of oddities. Common migrants were present but in lower numbers than previous days with Spotted Flycatchers only just breaching double figures. Singles of Red-throated Diver, Great Northern Diver and Great Skua through off the Bill salvaged some interest from on otherwise pretty quiet sea.

It's looking like most of the local breeding Swallows are back on station but tardy migrants - along with a few Swifts and House Martins - continue to trickle in off the sea © Nick Hopper:


Although perfectly audible the Golden Oriole was initially tucked away out of view behind the houses in Southwell



eventually though it did give itself up in typically fleeting circumstances as it dashed between Avalanche Road and Thumb Lane © Nick Hopper: