6th May

After a wet night - seemingly too wet for many nocturnal migrants to have got moving - yesterday's south-easterly was replaced by a freshening westerly which saw sea passage drop right off; that said, there was still some movement, notably including 43 Sanderling, 5 Pomarine Skuas, 4 Great Skuas, 3 Arctic Skuas and 2 Great Northern Divers through off the Bill. The main feature on the land was another significant arrival of Swallows, with upwards of 500 per hour piling through either side of midday; another single Hobby also passed through at the Bill. On the ground the thin spread of downed migrants included 70 Wheatears, 10 Whinchats, 3 Spotted Flycatchers, 2 Lesser Whitethroats and a Cuckoo at the Bill, a Turtle Dove at Reap Lane and a Goldcrest at Portland Castle, whilst the wader selection at Ferrybridge included 82 Dunlin, 10 Sanderling, 9 Bar-tailed Godwits and 8 Whimbrel.

Whimbrel - Ferrybridge, 6th May 2014 © Debby Saunders
...and a peculiar feature of recent days, that hitherto we haven't had enough time to dwell on, has been the appearance at the Bill of three different Continental rubicola Stonechat lookalikes - we use the caveat 'lookalikes' simply because we're not sure whether there's actually much difference genetically between these birds and 'our' local hibernans Stonechats, even if they do usually look that bit different. This individual trapped and ringed at the Obs on 1st May...
...showed typical plumage features shared not only with the other two new migrants, but also with our resident breeding male (now in his third year of residence):
Visiting birders are often surprised by the quite striking appearance of these birds and it isn't unusual to hear mutterings about Siberian Stonechat; in reality, the latter are even more arresting - here's a few we were lucky enough to see in Russia last summer:
 photos all © Martin Cade