May 2011

31st May

Despite the return of fair weather it was certainly not a bird-filled day. The only reports came from the Bill where 100 Manx Shearwaters, 7 Black-headed Gulls and an Arctic Skua passed through on the sea and up to 20 commic terns (presumably some of the Lodmoor breeders) were feeding distantly offshore; nothing of any consequence showed up on the land.

A Hummingbird Hawk-moth was on the wing around the Obs garden, where overnight a lone Dark Sword Grass had been the only immigrant attracted to the moth-traps.

30th May

Thick fog blighted any attempts at serious birding through the morning and the day's promised rain amounted to so little (just half a millimetre at the Obs) that the gaping cracks in the ground hadn't even closed up by the time it stopped. A handful of new arrivals at the Bill included singles of Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler and Spotted Flycatcher, whilst an afternoon seawatch there after the fog lifted produced just 3 Manx Shearwaters. The only report from elsewhere was of 38 Dunlin at Ferrybridge.

29th May

With precious little change in the weather most attention was given to the sea, with watches at the Bill producing 100 Manx Shearwaters, 18 Common Scoter, 6 Arctic Skuas, 3 Balearic Shearwaters, 3 Great Skuas, 3 Pomarine Skuas and a Sandwich Tern. The only report from the land was of another Spotted Flycatcher at the Obs.

28th May

A stiff westerly and dreary skies today...and still not a hint of any rain (we can't remember a spell that's been so Atlantic-dominated and yet so consistently dry as this month has been). The overcast conditions did drop the odd late migrant, notably 2 Spotted Flycatchers and a Reed Warbler at the Obs, but otherwise it was another day for seawatching: Manx Shearwaters were again quite numerous off the Bill where well over 1000 had been logged by mid-afternoon; 2 Arctic Skuas and a single Great Skua also passed though there.






Small Tortoiseshell, Large Skipper, Dingy Skipper and Speckled Yellow - Portland Bill and Tout Quarry, 27th May 2011 © Martin Cade

...we've been remiss in not keeping up with butterfly first dates just recently: this week both Large Skipper and Meadow Brown have appeared on the wing in quantity. Small Tortoiseshell also continues to figure around the island, having recovered somewhat from the alarming decline in numbers that occurred in the late 1990s. The other two species are both website newcomers: despite being common enough throughout the island we don't seem to have featured a photo of Dingy Skipper until now, whilst Speckled Yellow moth has probably just eluded the camera through being both a day-flyer and only rather sparsely spread in its haunts around the north of the island.

And to continue the lepidotera theme, after we'd posted the above images Ken Dolbear got in touch with some nice Adonis Blue photos from the High Angle Battery:



  27th May

Yesterday's brisk wind - now a north-westerly - slowly subsided through the day but not before several hundred Manx Shearwaters had trickled back westwards past the Bill; singles of Balearic Shearwater and Arctic Skua were the only other worthwhile sightings on the sea there. The land came up with nothing of any consequence at the Bill (at the Obs not a single bird was trapped and ringed in six hours of trying!)' and just 16 Sanderling amongst the commoner waders at Ferrybridge.

A lone Delicate was the first immigrant caught in the Obs garden moth-traps for over a week; immigrant lepidoptera during the day included a Painted Lady at Tout Quarry and a Hummingbird Hawk-moth at the Bill.

26th May

A completely different day to yesterday with a very brisk westerly having set in overnight. A couple of new Spotted Flycatchers and a Turnstone did drop in at the Bill and there were still 87 Dunlin and 26 Sanderling at Ferrybridge but most attention was given to the sea. Manx Shearwaters featured well at the Bill, where after a slow start passage picked up to the extent that they were passing at between 500 and 1000 per hour during the afternoon and evening; the only other reports from there were of 3 Arctic Skuas and singles of Great Skua and Pomarine Skua.





Golden Oriole and Storm Petrel - Portland Bill, 25th May 2011 © Kevin Lane (in-field oriole) and Martin Cade (in-hand oriole and petrel)

   25th May

With a forecast of light south-easterlies today looked likely to be the one day of this week worth persevering with on the land, and the day's chief reward came promptly when a Golden Oriole was trapped and ringed shortly after dawn at the Obs; it showed on a few more occasions through the morning as it headed northward before eventually disappearing near Southwell. Further quality came in the form of a Bee-eater heard calling briefly over Easton and a Common Rosefinch seen equally briefly at Verne Common. Commoner migrants included little more than a handful of new Spotted Flycatchers at the Bill and Verne Common, and a lone Willow Warbler at the Obs. Overnight, 6 Storm Petrels had been tape-lured and ringed at the Bill, but the only seabird interest during the day related to a Great Skua that strayed over the land and passed close by the Obs.



Sanderling and Dunlin - Ferrybridge, 24th May 2011 © Martin Cade

   24th May

A pleasant enough day but hardly leaping with action on land or sea. The only reports from the Bill where of 4 Chiffchaffs and a Spotted Flycatcher on the land and 30 Manx Shearwaters and singles of Arctic and Pomarine Skua through on the sea. Elsewhere there were 80 Dunlin and 30 Sanderling at Ferrybridge.

23rd May

In the not too distant past a day of constantly strengthening south-westerlies at this time of year would likely have produced a hatful of Storm Petrels but their recent demise continued and it was left to some largely routine fare to provide interest at the Bill: 2 passing Roseate Terns were a surprise, but 500 or so Manx Shearwaters, 6 Great Skuas and singles of Great Northern Diver, Arctic Skua and Pomarine Skua were in line with expectations. The land received little coverage and came up with nothing more than 3 Chiffchaffs and 2 Spotted Flycatchers at the Bill and 75 Dunlin and 15 Sanderling at Ferrybridge.



yesterday's May Highflyer - Portland Bill, 21st May 2011 © Martin Cade

   22nd May

With the wind having freshened very conspicuously most attention was given to the sea, with 150 Manx Shearwaters, 8 Sanderling, 6 Whimbrel, 5 Common Scoter, 2 Great Skuas, a Balearic Shearwater and a Pomarine Skua logged at the Bill through the morning. Waders at Ferrybridge included 100 Dunlin and 19 Sanderling.




Yellow Wagtails - Portland Bill, 21st May 2011 © Paul Baker The Bagsy Blog

  21st May

Still just odds and ends of late passage to report, with the Bill area coming up with 40 Manx Shearwaters, 15 Common Scoter, 5 Arctic Skuas, 3 Whimbrel, 2 Mediterranean Gulls, a Great Northern Diver, a Great Skua and a Pomarine Skua through on the sea and 3 Chiffchaffs, 3 Spotted Flycatchers, 2 Purple Sandpipers, 2 Yellow Wagtails, a Wheatear and a Reed Warbler on the land. Elsewhere there was a Whinchat at Barelycrates Lane and 100 Dunlin, 5 Sanderling and a Grey Plover at Ferrybridge.

A May Highflyer - only the third record for Portland - was the pick of the overnight moth catch at the Obs

20th May

The westerly airstream that's been firmly entrenched for ten days or so remained in place and the birding was much as it's been all week. Grounded migrants at the Bill included 10 Spotted Flycatchers, 6 Wheatears, 5 Reed Warblers and a Turtle Dove, whilst an all-day seawatch there produced 26 commic terns, 20 Manx Shearwaters, 3 Common Scoter, 2 each of Great Northern Diver, Pomarine Skua and Sandwich Tern, a Black-throated Diver and a Balearic Shearwater. Reports from elsewhere included another 7 Spotted Flycatchers, 2 Reed Warblers and a Lesser Whitethroat in the Southwell/Weston area and 100 Dunlin, 7 Sanderling, 3 Grey Plovers and 2 Shelduck at Ferrybridge.

We're sure that the world and his wife will be posting photos elsewhere but click here for a few shots of the Black-winged Stilt that necessitated a quick twitch to Radipole Lake this morning.

19th May

Today saw top notch conditions for topping up a tan but the crystal clear skies were certainly not conducive to dropping migrants in numbers. At the Bill there was a light but steady arrival of hirundines - mainly Swallows - arriving in off the sea, whilst 15 Spotted Flycatchers, 9 Wheatears, 6 Chiffchaffs, 2 Purple Sandpipers, 2 Sedge Warblers, 2 Willow Warblers and a Lesser Whitethroat made up the tally on the land and 3 Sanderling passed through on the sea. 

A single Clouded Yellow was logged at the Bill, whilst the only immigrant in the Obs garden moth-traps this morning was a lone Diamond-back Moth.

18th May

Still no great change in the weather although there was enough foggy, low cloud about at times to produce the odd spit of drizzle as well as drop a few more migrants. The majority of reports came from the Bill where there were 20 Spotted Flycatchers, 13 Wheatears, 6 Chiffchaffs, 5 Sedge Warblers, 3 Reed Warblers, 2 Purple Sandpipers and singles of Golden Plover, Cuckoo, Redstart and Lesser Whitethroat on the land and 2 Pomarine Skuas and singles of Great Northern Diver and Great Skua through on the sea. Elsewhere a lone Little Stint joined the 100 or so Dunlin, 13 Sanderling and single Bar-tailed Godwit at Ferrybridge.

17th May

Somewhat drearier conditions today dropped a handful more late migrants at the Bill, where 3 Black Redstarts were the pick of a list that otherwise included 9 Spotted Flycatchers, 4 Wheatears, 3 Reed Warblers, 3 Chaffinches, 2 Yellow Wagtails and singles of Common Buzzard (seemingly a migrant arriving in off the sea), Turtle Dove, Sedge Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler. A similar scatter elsewhere included 5 more Spotted Flycatchers at Avalanche Road, whilst waders at Ferrybridge included 120 Dunlin and 5 Sanderling. Three more Great Northern Divers and 2 Pomarine Skuas passed through on the sea at the Bill.



Small Blue - Portland Bill, May 2011 © Roger Isted

   16th May

Very samey at the moment: breezy Atlantic conditions and a trickle of tardy migrants on land and sea. The Bill area came up with 15 Spotted Flycatchers, 10 Wheatears, 2 Purple Sandpipers and singles of Whimbrel, Tree Pipit, Sedge Warbler, Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler on the land and 6 Common Scoter, 4 Great Northern Divers and an Arctic Skua through on the sea. The only reports from elsewhere were of 75 Dunlin and 3 Sanderling at Ferrybridge.






Yellow Wagtail, Wheatear and Wall Lizards - Portland Bill and Duncecroft Quarry, 15th May 2011 © Paul Baker The Bagsy Blog (Yellow Wagtail) and Ken Arber (Wheatear and Wall Lizards)

...also a couple of nice photos from last week of some intimate Guillemots in the auk colony at the Bill (photos © Roger Isted):



  15th May

On another fair, breezy, north-westerly day there were only poor rewards on offer around the island. The mix of late arrivals at the Bill was much as yesterday although numbers were reduced, with a dozen or so of both Wheatear and Spotted Flycatchers making up the bulk of the tally; 4 Yellow Wagtails, 2 Whinchats, a Whimbrel and one of the lingering Purple Sandpipers provided further interest there, whilst elsewhere the Dunlin and Sanderling totals at Ferrybridge crept up to 84 and 6 respectively. The only worthwhile reports from the sea were of another 3 Great Northern Divers and 3 Bar-tailed Godwits through off the Bill.







Purple Sandpiper, Turtle Dove, Spotted Flycatcher and Great Northern Diver - Portland Bill, 14th May 2011 © Brett Spencer (Purple Sandpiper) and Martin Cade (other photos)

...and nicely illustrating a potential pitfall we've mentioned before, notice how 'yellow-billed' the Great Northern looks when the morning sun is catching the bill at just the right angle. Out of a whole sequence we took of this bird virtually every shot taken as it approaches the observation point shows an apparently pale bill; only when the bird starts to head away does the bill suddenly turn black (photo © Martin Cade):


  14th May

Despite crystal clear skies the strength of the north-westerly was enough to drop quite a little arrival of late migrants. Spotted Flycatchers were very conspicuous, with 50 or more grounded or moving straight through at the Bill, where there were also 10 Willow Warblers, 7 Wheatears, 2 Purple Sandpipers, 2 Whimbrel, 2 Reed Warblers, 2 Yellow Wagtails and singles of Hobby, Common Sandpiper, Turtle Dove, and Sedge Warbler; a Curlew Sandpiper at Ferrybridge was the best of the new arrivals elsewhere. Seawatching at the Bill produced 9 Sanderling, 7 Great Northern Divers, 2 Arctic Skuas and a Great Skua.

13th May

The cooler, westerly weather looks to be getting well established and there were again just a handful of tardy migrants on show around the island. The Bill area came up with 10 Wheatears, 6 Spotted Flycatchers, 3 Willow Warblers and singles of Yellow Wagtail, Redstart and Chiffchaff, whilst a more of the same list elsewhere included 4 more Spotted Flycatchers and 3 Lesser Whitethroats around Southwell and a Cuckoo at Hamm Beach. Nine Common Scoter, 5 Manx Shearwaters and an Arctic Skua passed through on the sea at the Bill.

A single Dark Sword Grass was rthe only immigrant in the Obs garden moth-traps this morning.



A reminder that the next In Focus field event at the Obs takes place between 10am and 4pm tomorrow, Saturday 14th May. 






Curlew Sandpiper and Delicate - Ferrybridge and Portland Bill, 12th May 2011 © Martin Cade

  12th May

Sunnier skies today but feeling surprisingly chilly at times in a brisk west/north-west wind. An Osprey that flew north along the West Cliffs at the Bill during the afternoon and a Curlew Sandpiper at Ferrybridge in the evening were the day's highlights. Among the commoner migrants a scatter of Spotted Flycatchers included 14 dotted around at the Bill, where 6 Wheatears, a Hobby, a White Wagtail and a Tree Pipit provided the only other migrant interest; elsewhere there were 20 Dunlin and 3 Sanderling at Ferrybridge. The only 'seawatch' sightings of note concerned a Great Northern Diver heading west over the Obs and 19 Manx Shearwaters, 9 Common Scoter and an Arctic Skua through over the sea itself at the Bill.

Considering the lack of more routine immigrants a single Delicate was a surprise overnight capture in the Obs garden moth-traps.



House Martins - Southwell, 11th May 2011 © Paul Baker The Bagsy Blog

  11th May

On the bird front we can only echo the comments made on another Dorset website yesterday that, on this part of the South Coast at least, it's looking like spring passage is all but over on land and sea. With a fair bit of cloud in the sky throughout the day it at least looked slightly more promising, but the fact that just 10 new birds were trapped and ringed at the Obs spoke volumes about the general dearth of new arrivals. At the Bill 7 Spotted Flycatchers, 3 Sedge Warblers, 2 Reed Warblers and singles of Hobby, Yellow Wagtail and Tree Pipit provided some minor interest amongst the handful of Wheatears, Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs present, a lone Purple Sandpiper was also still there and singles of Great Northern Diver and Balearic Shearwater passed through on the sea.

Singles of Rusty-dot Pearl and Silver Y were the only immigrants in the Obs garden moth-traps this morning.




   Goshawk - Portland Bill, 10th May 2011 © Kevin Lane

...and amongst the more routine fare this Purple Sandpiper was one of two still lingering on at the Bill (© Paul Baker The Bagsy Blog):


  10th May

On another fine and otherwise quiet day a Goshawk that flew north over the Bill was a very unexpected highlight; there have been a variety of records/claims of Goshawks at Portland over the years but this is certainly the first supported by photo-documentation. Odds and ends by way of routine migrants included 7 Yellow Wagtails, 6 Wheatears, 3 Willow Warblers, 2 Hobbys, 2 Purple Sandpipers, a Whimbrel, a Sedge Warbler and a Garden Warbler at the Bill, another Spotted Flycatcher at Avalanche Road and a White Wagtail at Reap Lane. Seawatch reports included 38 commic terns and singles of Red-throated Diver, Balearic Shearwater, Great Skua, Pomarine Skua and Arctic Skua through off the Bill; another Great Skua - unfortunately a beached, oiled individual - was at Chesil Cove.

Two Silver Y and a single Dark Sword Grass constituted the only overnight immigrant interest in the Obs garden moth-traps; an Oak-tree Pug was also a 'good for Portland' capture in the traps..

9th May

Hopeless today: pleasant weather but not far short of lifeless on both the bird and moth fronts. The handful of new arrivals on the land at the Bill ( really was just a handful; for example, just 2 new birds were trapped and ringed at the Obs all day) included nothing much more interesting than 5 Yellow Wagtails, 4 Whimbrel, 3 Whinchats, 2 Reed Warblers and a Sedge Warbler. Seawatching at the Bill produced 37 commic terns, 21 Common Scoter, 4 Teal and an Arctic Skua.

A single Silver Y was the only immigrant in the Obs garden moth-traps this morning.



Thisanotia chrysonuchella  - Portland Bill, 8th May 2011 © Martin Cade

  8th May

Yesterday evening's thunderstorms had been enough to keep the Red-backed Shrike grounded and it remained at the Bill all day; the Bee-eater also looked likely to have remained but, despite a couple of reports of it calling high overhead, it couldn't be pinned down and interest in it dwindled as the day went on. The overnight conditions certainly didn't see routine migrants get moving in any quantity and it remained pretty quiet everywhere on that front. The sea was still worth a look and eventually came up with totals of 125 commic terns, 3 Great Skuas, 3 Arctic Skuas, 2 Little Gulls and singles of Red-throated Diver, Black-throated Diver, Balearic Shearwater, Pomarine Skua and Roseate Tern  through off the Bill.

The first Small Heath of the year was on the wing at the Bill.

The Obs garden moth-traps came up with another nice highlight in the form of a specimen of the crambid, Thisanotia chrysonuchella; although still resident in south-east England it seems that this species hasn't been recorded in Dorset for 50 years or more and certainly hasn't been recorded at Portland before now. The only other immigrants in the traps were 4 each of Diamond-back Moth and Silver Y.







 Patton's Tiger, Square Spot, Red-backed Shrike and Bee-eater - Portland Bill, 7th May 2011 © Martin Cade

...and a few other odds and ends from the day. This quite late White Wagtail was frequently on view at the Bill (© Martin Cade):


...quite unexpectedly the Red-backed Shrike wandered into the Obs garden where it was trapped and ringed (© Martin Cade):


...and finally another shot recently received of the Bee-eater at the Bill (© Joe Kaplonek):


  7th May

The Obs garden moth-traps came up with the goods overnight when, after a series of thunderstorms had passed over, singles of Patton's Tiger and Square Spot were caught; the former is seemingly the fifth British record (the most recent two were recorded on the Isle of Wight yesterday) and the latter is a new species for Portland. Also in the traps a Barred Red was a good local record but, somewhat bizarrely, the only routine immigrant caught was a lone Diamond-back Moth

On the bird front a male Red-backed Shrike was a new arrival at the Bill, a Bee-eater (presumably yesterday's bird reappearing) made a brief visit to the Obs/hut fields area before showing twice later in the day in the Wakeham area. Seawatching came up with 3 Pomarine Skuas through off Chesil and 4 Pomarine Skuas, 2 Great Skuas, 2 Black Terns, a Balearic Shearwater and an Arctic Skua through off the Bill. On the land 2 Little Egrets, 2 Hobbys and a Merlin passed through but grounded commoner migrants were remarkably few and far between.



...with a fly-by rarity we often find ourselves torn between blazing away with the camera and trying to get a sound recording (and inevitably often mess up one or both) and today we only managed a quick recording of the Bee-eater as it was flying away; click here to have a listen. Fortunately it settled just afterwards and did allow one better photo before it whizzed off:


   Bee-eater - Portland Bill, 6th May 2011 © Martin Cade

And a few more photos from the Bill area today; Arctic Skua and Whimbrel (© Paul Baker):



...and Yellow Wagtail (© Ken Parker):


  6th May

Two really nice highlights today: a crack of dawn Golden Oriole that left rapidly to the north after initially being heard giving a few bursts of song in the Obs garden and a mid-afternoon Bee-eater that appeared from the north over the Obs and briefly settled on wires beside the Obs Quarry before heading away to the west. In the way of more routine fare it was again the sea that came up with the best of the variety, with 25 commic terns, 5 Arctic Skuas, 2 Red-throated Divers, 2 Great Northern Divers, 2 Tufted Ducks, 2 Mediterranean Gulls, 2 Pomarine Skuas and a Roseate Tern passing through off the Bill. In fair conditions - at least until some thunderstorms rolled in late in the day - Swallows had been on the move in quantity and another 7 Yellow Wagtails passed through but grounded migrants had been in relatively short supply, with 6 Sedge Warblers, 3 Whimbrel and singles of Turtle Dove, Short-eared Owl, Whinchat, Reed Warbler, Garden Warbler and Lesser Whitethroat the pick of the bunch at the Bill. Finally, we also received news today that a pair of Canada Geese have bred successfully on one of the Portland Harbour breakwaters (the adults were seen with 2 goslings yesterday); not surprisingly this is a new breeding record for Portland.

Small Blue butterfly and Emperor dragonfly were both seen on the wing for the first time this year.

Two Diamond-back Moth were the only immigrants caught overnight in the Obs garden moth-traps.






Meadow Pipit, Short-eared Owl, Peregrine and Pomarine Skuas - Portland Bill, 5th May 2011 © Nick Hopper (Meadow Pipit and Short-eared Owl) and Steve Gantlett (Peregrine and Pomarine Skuas)

  5th May

Some more quite productive seawatching at the Bill accounted for most of the day's action, with 200 commic terns, 170 Manx Shearwaters, 49 Common Scoter, 11 Whimbrel, 4 Pomarine Skuas, 3 Little Gulls, 2 each of Red-throated Diver, Arctic Skua and Roseate Tern and singles of Black-throated Diver, Balearic Shearwater and Black Tern passing through during the morning; an additional Pomarine Skua passed by off Chesil. The land remained the poor relation, with precious little in the way of numbers or quality; another 7 Yellow Wagtails, 5 Whimbrel, 4 Sedge Warblers and singles of Short-eared Owl, Tree Pipit, Black Redstart and Whinchat were just about the best on offer at the Bill

4th May

With grounded migrants remaining in quite short supply most of the day's reports came from the sea, with 300 commic terns, 28 Common Scoter, 12 Bar-tailed Godwits, 12 Arctic Skuas, 11 Whimbrel, 4 Pomarine Skua, 3 Black-throated Divers, 3 Little Gulls, 3 Roseate Terns, 2 Red-throated Divers, 2 Balearic Shearwaters and singles of Great Skua and Black Tern passing through/lingering off the Bill. A disappointing selection on the land included 4 Bar-tailed Godwits, 2 Whimbrel and a Knot at Ferrybridge and 8 Yellow Wagtails, a Merlin and a Short-eared Owl amongst a thin scatter of routine fare at the Bill; sample hirundine counts included 120 Swallows and 4 Sand Martins through in an hour during the afternoon on the West Cliffs.





Balearic Shearwater, Black Redstart and Whitethroat - Portland Bill, 3rd May 2011 © Steve Gantlett  

  3rd May

Quieter all round today although an Osprey that passed over at Chesil and the tip of the Bill before heading away to the east was a slightly unexpected early morning highlight. Despite it being much clearer and sunnier than yesterday the strength of the easterly wind again made for difficult birding on the land, where 9 Whinchats, 4 Yellow Wagtails and singles of Hobby, White Wagtail, Redstart, Black Redstart, Reed Warbler and Garden Warbler were the pick of the uncommon migrants at the Bill; elsewhere there were 46 Bar-tailed Godwits and a Knot at Ferrybridge. The day's only seawatch reports came from the Bill where 230 commic terns, 16 Whimbrel, 7 Black Terns, 4 Bar-tailed Godwits, 2 Arctic Skuas and singles of Great Northern Diver, Balearic Shearwater, Brent Goose and Mediterranean Gull passed through or lingered.







Grey Heron, Hobby, Arctic Skua, Willow Warbler and Roseate Tern - Portland Bill and Chesil Beach, 2nd May 2011 © Martin Cade (Grey Heron, Hobby and Roseate Tern) and Steve Gantlett (Arctic Skua and Willow Warbler)

...also thanks to Paul Baker for taking the trouble to secure photos of this colour-ringed/flagged Knot at Ferrybridge yesterday:



...not altogether surprisingly it's transpired that the bird was first marked on the Dutch West Frisian Islands on 23rd August 1999; it was sighting again not too far away in Schleswig Holstein, close to the German/Danish border, just over a fortnight later, but unfortunately there hadn't been any further sightings before it pitched up at Ferrybridge (thanks to Bernard Spaans of the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ) for this information).

  2nd May

The unrelenting easterly wind, which had noticeably freshened overnight, remained the main feature of the weather although there was the additional novelty today of a rain/hail storm around midday. The seawatchers again plundered plenty of reward at the two main watchpoints, with the pick of a decent passage being 570 Bar-tailed Godwits, 350 commic terns, 120 Whimbrel, 42 Dunlin, 18 Grey Plover, 18 Sanderling, 15 Turnstones, 15 Little Terns, 13 Knot, 9 Black Terns, 2 Long-tailed Ducks, 2 Roseate Terns, a Great Northern Diver, a Little Ringed Plover and an Arctic Skua off Chesil and 136 commic terns, 112 Bar-tailed Godwits, 13 Sanderling, 5 Grey Plover, 5 Arctic Skuas, 3 Balearic Shearwaters, 2 Great Northern Divers, 2 Pomarine Skuas, a Red-throated Diver, a Black Tern and a Little Tern off the Bill; plenty of waders also dropped in at Ferrybridge where 104 Bar-tailed Godwits, 7 Sanderling, 6 Grey Plover and a Knot were present at midday. The strength of the wind again made it hard work on the land but hirundines, mainly Swallows, were arriving in off the sea at the Bill at 250 or more per hour at times and 5 Grey Herons and 4 Hobbys also passed through there. Willow Warblers continued to dominate on the ground, with well over 150 at the Bill, whilst most of the other expected summer migrants were represented in smaller numbers. 

A lone Silver Y was the only immigrant in the Obs garden moth-traps this morning.






Black Redstart, Bar-tailed Godwits, Knot and Whimbrel - Reap Lane, Ferrybridge and Portland Bill, 1st May 2011 © John Lucas (Black Redstart), Paul Baker Bar-tailed Godwits and Knot) and Nick Hopper (Whimbrel)

...and a late post from yesterday of the unseasonable Scarce Bordered Straw at Southwell  (© Debby Saunders):


  1st May

Considering the apparent close proximity of a depression and associated weather fronts in the Western Approaches and across the other side of the Channel quite a few migrants still seem to be getting through on land and sea. The strength of the easterly wind made birding on the land quite difficult, although amongst the reasonable spread of common migrants there were 11 Yellow Wagtails, 9 Whimbrel, 9 Whinchats, 3 Tree Pipits, 2 Hobbys, 2 Cuckoos, a Common Sandpiper, a Purple Sandpiper, a Spotted Flycatcher and a Brambling at the Bill, 12 Yellow Wagtails, 6 Whinchats, a Hobby and a Black Redstart at Reap Lane, a Redpoll over Chesil and 140 Bar-tailed Godwits, 29 Knot, 22 Whimbrel, 8 Whimbrel, 5 Grey Plovers and 1 Black-tailed Godwit at Ferrybridge to provide interest. Variety on the sea included 55 Bar-tailed Godwits, 30 Knot, 9 Arctic Skuas, 5 Grey Plovers, 3 Great Northern Divers, 3 Pomarine Skuas, 2 Little Terns,  a Black-throated Diver and a Balearic Shearwater through off the Bill and 400 Bar-tailed Godwits, 200 commic terns, 21 Whimbrel, 6 Grey Plovers, 3 Sanderling, 2 Arctic Skuas and singles of Black-throated Diver, Knot and Black Tern through off Chesil.

Two Dark Sword Grass and a single Diamond-back Moth were the only immigrants in the Obs garden moth-traps this morning.