14th April

A night of clear skies but fog at ground level didn't bode well for a fall of migrants and it was only the north of the island that picked up any quality in the form of a scatter of 5 Ring Ouzels. For the first time this spring Blackcap was the most numerous of the migrants at the Bill where 50 or more were in evidence; the combined phyllosc tally didn't reach that level, whilst a lowly 6 Wheatears, along with 2 Redstarts and singles of Goldcrest, Firecrest (both very long-stayers that surfaced once again) and Bullfinch made up the rest of a pretty thin spread. Odds and ends elsewhere included 2 Tree Pipits at High Angle Battery, additional single Redstarts at Verne Common and Nicodemus Knob and a Grasshopper Warbler at Suckthumb Quarry. Once the fog lifted it was hoped that visible passage would feature, but in the event hirundines weren't particularly plentiful and passing singles of Kestrel and Sparrowhawk were poor compensation for the lack of larger raptors. After being invisible for the best part of the morning the sea came up with a little passage during the evening, when the 108 Manx Shearwaters through off the Bill were accompanied by singles of Red-throated Diver and Arctic Skua.

The first Speckled Wood butterfly of the year was on the wing at the Obs.

Immigrant Lepidoptera included singles of Hummingbird Hawk-moth and Clouded Yellow at Blacknor and the Bill respectively, and 3 Dark Sword Grass shared between the moth-traps at the Obs and Sweethill.

Speckled Wood - Portland Bill, 14th April 2015 © Ken Dolbear
...in common with several other butterflies and moths at the Obs, this first Speckled Wood of the year was a week or more later appearing on the wing than we've got used to in many recent years.