June 2003


Kentish Plover - Ferrybridge, June 30th 2003 © Martin Cade

  June 30th A Kentish Plover was a new arrival at Ferrybridge, and there were also 35 Black-headed Gulls and 7 Dunlin there. The only news from the Bill was of 3 Manx Shearwaters, 3 Sandwich Terns and a Great Skua passing through on the sea. June 29th A Serin made a couple of brief visits to the Obs garden early in the morning, but the only other news was of 2 Sand Martins and a Chiffchaff at the Bill and 17 Common Scoter passing through on the sea there.


Nuthatch - Portland Bill, June 28th 2003 © Martin Cade

  June 28th A surprise new arrival this morning was a Nuthatch trapped and ringed at the Obs and seen later at Culverwell (the seventh island record and only the second ringed at the Obs). Two Spotted Flycatchers and a Grey Wagtail were also at the Bill, where 120 Manx and 5 Balearic Shearwaters, 4 Common Scoter, an Arctic Skua, a Great Skua and a Sandwich Tern passed through on the sea. June 27th More of the same today, with the Bill area producing 2 Dunlin, a Curlew, a Blackcap and a Spotted Flycatcher, as well as 140 Manx Shearwaters, 9 Common Scoter and a Great Skua passing through on the sea. A single Greenshank was at Ferrybridge. June 26th Still very quiet. The only reports were from the Bill where there were 2 Sand Martins, a Curlew, a Grey Wagtail and a Reed Warbler, and Ferrybridge where there were 2 Sanderling and a Redshank. June 25th The only news was of a Curlew and a Robin at the Bill, a few Manx Shearwaters passing through on the sea there, and 4 Sandwich Terns, 3 Sanderling and 3 Dunlin at Ferrybridge. June 24th Surprisingly good variety today, with 8 Dunlin and a Curlew Sandpiper still at Ferrybridge, and 3 Grey Herons, a Turtle Dove, a Grey Wagtail, a Wheatear, a Redstart and a Reed Warbler at the Bill. Seawatching at the Bill produced 39 Common Scoter and 12 Manx Shearwaters. June 23rd The only news today was of 12 Dunlin, 2 Sanderling and a Curlew Sandpiper at Ferrybridge, and a lone Grey Heron flying over at the Bill.


aberrant Swallow - Portland Bill, June 22nd 2003 © Martin Cade

  June 22nd A muggy day with occasional thundery showers. New arrivals included a Tree Sparrow at Barleycrates Lane and a couple of Reed Warblers at the Bill, whilst interest was maintained at Ferrybridge where there were 9 Dunlin, 2 Knot, a Curlew Sandpiper, a Sanderling and a Roseate Tern. Seawatching at the Bill produced 39 commic terns, 3 Manx Shearwaters, 3 Common Scoter, a Sandwich Tern and a Curlew.



Common Rosefinch (very distant!) - Verne Common, June 21st 2003 © Martin Cade

  June 21st A touch of east in the wind sparked a little interest today, with the highlight being a singing Common Rosefinch at Verne Common for a couple of hours in the middle of the day. Elsewhere there were 2 Reed Warblers, a Turtle Dove, a Sand Martin, a Wheatear and a Willow Warbler at the Bill, and another Turtle Dove at Avalanche Road. A trickle of Manx Shearwaters and 2 Common Scoter passed through on the sea at the Bill, and a Curlew Sandpiper, a Knot and a few Dunlin were at Ferrybridge. June 20th A typical very lean mid-summer selection today, with single Chiffchaffs at the Bill, Avalanche Road and Bumpers Lane, and 2 Sand Martins and a Grey Wagtail flying over at the Bill. The winter plumaged Curlew Sandpiper remained at Ferrybridge, along with 26 Dunlin. June 19th With fog and low cloud drifting in and out all day birding was never easy, and the only news from the Bill was of a trickle of Manx Shearwaters, at least 4 Balearic Shearwaters and 2 Great Skuas passing through on the sea. A single Curlew Sandpiper was reported to still be present at Ferrybridge. June 18th One Curlew Sandpiper remained at Ferrybridge today, where there were also 10 Dunlin and 3 Turnstones. There was precious little birding done at the Bill, with the only sightings of interest being of 7 Common Scoter and a Manx Shearwater past on the sea.



Curlew Sandpipers - Ferrybridge, June 17th 2003 © Martin Cade

  June 17th The 3 Curlew Sandpipers remained at Ferrybridge along with 15 Dunlin and a Sanderling. The only news from the Bill was of an overflying Grey Heron and a single Grey Wagtail on the land, and 4 Balearic Shearwaters past on the sea.


 Curlew Sandpiper - Ferrybridge, June 16th 2003 © Duncan Walbridge

  June 16th Yesterday's excitement proved short-lived, with the only news today being of 2 Curlews, a Grey Wagtail and a Reed Warbler at the Bill, a Chiffchaff and a Reed Warbler at Avalanche Road and a Grey Wagtail at Bumpers Lane. In the evening 3 Curlew Sandpipers (2 still in winter plumage and the third bird in partial summer plumage) were present on the rising tide at Ferrybridge, and 20 Manx Shearwaters passed through off the Bill. 


 Subalpine Warbler - Portland Bill, June 15th 2003 © Martin Cade

  June 15th There was some early morning excitement today when a Subalpine Warbler was trapped and ringed at the Obs (biometry and more in-hand photos); it showed briefly an hour after release in the Obs Quarry but there were no more sightings later in the day. A Tree Sparrow was another good but brief visitor to the Obs garden, a Black Redstart was at Lloyd's Cottage and 5 Common Scoter and 3 Whimbrel passed through on the sea. June 14th Still nothing of any great consequence to report. Seawatching at the Bill produced 49 Common Scoter, 4 Manx and 3 Balearic Shearwaters, a singing Willow Warbler remained at the Culverwell and 3 Buzzards were overhead at Verne Common.  June 13th A very quiet day, with the only news being of a Sand Martin, a Willow Warbler and a Redpoll at the Bill and a Spotted Flycatcher at Southwell. June 12th Once again the only news was from the Bill area, where there were single Grey Wagtail, Reed Warbler, Willow Warbler and Spotted Flycatcher on the land, and 70 Manx and a lone Balearic Shearwater on the sea June 11th The sea provided most of the interest today, with 14 Balearic and 13 Manx Shearwaters, 5 Common Scoter and a lone Arctic Skua passing the Bill during the morning. Tardy spring migrants totalled just 2 Reed Warblers and a Willow Warbler at the Bill, and 10 Dunlin and 2 Sanderling at Ferrybridge. June 10th It was with great sadness that we learnt today of the death of former PBO warden, Mick Rogers. Mick suffered a brain haemorrhage on 27th April from which he never recovered; he died peacefully at Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge, this morning. Our thoughts and sympathies are with his family at this time of their sad loss.

The only news today came from the Bill area, where there were 2 Reed Warblers at Culverwell, 30 Swifts and a Curlew overhead and 50 Manx Shearwaters, 6 Balearic Shearwaters and 2 Sandwich Terns past on the sea.

June 9th Plenty of effort but little reward today. Two Buzzards were overhead at Fortuneswell, a Sand Martin passed through at Inmosthay, 9 Common Scoter and 4 Sandwich Terns were off the Bill and 24 Dunlin and 12 Sanderling were at Ferrybridge. June 8th Most of the interest today was on the sea, with 600 Gannets, 300 Manx and 7 Balearic Shearwaters, 19 commic and a single Sandwich Tern, 4 Arctic Skuas and a Common Scoter passing through off the Bill. The only birds of note on the land were a Reed Warbler at Culverwell and a new Whitethroat trapped at the Obs. Waders at Ferrybridge included 7 Sanderling and 3 Bar-tailed Godwits. June 7th A very frustrating day, with neither of the two  good birds discovered being at all easy to catch up with. Bird of the day was a Greenish Warbler heard singing in the Royal Naval Cemetery at Verne Common for a couple of hours either side of midday; it was always tricky to see and - aside from some later confusion with a look-alike Willow Warbler - there were no further sightings after it had stopped singing in the early afternoon. Earlier in the day a Bee-eater was heard calling over Southwell. The only other noteworthy sightings were of 17 Manx and 3 Balearic Shearwaters, a Great Skua and a Sandwich Tern off the Bill, a Reed Warbler in the Obs garden, a Turtle Dove at Suckthumb Quarry, and 15 Dunlin and 4 Sanderling at Ferrybridge. June 6th Very little to report today, with only a couple of hours birding possible early in the morning before persistent rain set in. A Grey Wagtail flying overhead at the Bill was the only bird of note on the land there, where a few Manx Shearwaters were also milling around offshore. June 5th There was a near miss today in the form of a presumed Rose-coloured Starling that was well described by a non-birder who saw it with Starlings at Blacknor early in the morning; unfortunately, searches there and elsewhere later in the day proved fruitless. Odds and sods in the Bill area included a Sand Martin, a Yellow Wagtail, a Wheatear and a Yellowhammer, whilst seawatching there produced at least 3 Balearic Shearwaters and a single Arctic Skua. June 4th A Woodchat Shrike was reported at Verne Common at midday but subsequent searches there drew a blank. With common migrants again absent at the Bill, the only other news was of seawatching there: up to 4 Balearic Shearwaters lingered offshore during the morning, and 600 Gannets, 100 Manx Shearwaters, 20 Common Scoter, 3 Sandwich Terns and 2 Arctic Skuas passed through.


 Curlew Sandpiper - Ferrybridge, June 3rd 2003 © Martin Cade

  June 3rd A couple of Balearic Shearwaters were again off the Bill during the morning, where 12 Manx Shearwaters, 9 Common Scoter and 2 Sandwich Terns also passed through. Thirty Swifts and a late Wheatear were the only birds of any note in the Bill area. At Ferrybridge, a Curlew Sandpiper was a new arrival amongst the small numbers of Dunlin and Sanderling still present.


 Storm Petrel - Portland Bill, June 2nd 2003 © Martin Cade

  June 2nd After another extremely lean morning on the land, with no noteworthy migrants at all on the land, things perked up briefly when a Bee-eater lingered high over the Obs for a couple of minutes in the early afternoon; it was heard shortly afterwards flying over Southwell but further searches drew a blank. Off the Bill, Manx Shearwaters trickled past all morning and there were several sightings of 2 or 3 Balearic Shearwaters lingering offshore; 46 commic Terns, 6 Common Scoter, a Whimbrel, and single Arctic and Great Skuas also passed through. Eight Sanderling were among the few waders present at Ferrybridge in the evening. After dark, a single Storm Petrel was trapped and ringed during a tape-luring session at the Bill. June 1st Still precious little to report, with just 2 Turtle Doves and a Hobby on the land at the Bill, and 13 Manx Shearwaters, 8 Common Scoter, 3 Sandwich Terns and a Great Skua on the sea there.