5th May

A seawatching day has certainly been in offing and today more than came up with the goods. In a near-perfect south-easterly breeze and under clear skies Pomarine Skuas featured in splendid fashion, with 47 through off Chesil, of which 39 also made the log at the Bill. Amongst an extremely varied back-up cast Chesil highlights included 947 commic terns, 354 Manx Shearwaters, 242 Common Scoter, 71 Bar-tailed Godwits, 58 Whimbrel, 46 Little Terns, 14 Arctic Skuas, 8 Sanderling, 4 Grey Plover, 3 Red-throated Divers, 3 Black Terns, 3 Roseate Terns, 2 Gadwall, 2 Great Skuas and singles of Black-throated Diver, Velvet Scoter and Knot; in general numbers were lower off the Bill, but additions to the tally from there included 8 Black Terns, 6 Teal, 4 Pochard and 2 Great Northern Divers, whilst waders pitching in at Ferrybridge included 23 Bar-tailed Godwits, 7 Sanderling and 4 Whimbrel. In terms of numbers the land was very much the poor relation, although there were more than a few morsels of quality: a Serin put in a couple of quick laps over the Bill Quarry, a Turtle Dove showed up in Top Fields, single Hobbys passed over at the Bill and Blacknor and a Wood Warbler lingered at Portland Castle.

Teal, Bar-tailed Godwits and Wood Warbler - Portland Bill, Ferrybridge and Portland Castle, 5th May 2014 © Martin Cade (Teal) and Pete Saunders (Barwits and Wood Warbler)
...the Wood Warbler was singing and calling rather nicely at times. You'd have imagined that the grounds of an English Heritage pile might have been a refuge of tranquillity with only the gentle rustle of leaves to deflect from the enjoyment of the ebullient songster; however you'd have been sadly mistaken, with our attempt at a sound recording playing out to the accompaniment of a barmy mariner attempting to mend his boat with six inch nails and the emergency services attending a nearby cardiac arrest:
 The day's spectacle was undoubtedly the Channel run of the Pomarine Skuas; thanks to Sean Foote for some video action from Chesil:
...and our effort from the Bill:
 Also of interest, this morning the ringers at the Obs controlled this Chiffchaff which constitutes only our second ever Heligoland-ringed recovery - the first was a Firecrest controlled here in November 2012 that had been ringed on Heligoland earlier that autumn (© Martin Cade):
And finally, we couldn't resist a bit of off-island poaching and nipped over to Lodmoor at the end of the day to have a quick look at the Black-winged Stilt: