17th April

Despite a spasmodic cloud cover there were not the numbers of yesterday - although any 2 Hoopoe day shouldn't be sniffed at. The Hoopoes - yesterday's bird remained at Suckthumb Quarry and a new individual showed up at Tout Quarry - provided the best of the quality, but 2 Red Kites that appeared over the West Cliffs were a nice bonus and single Ring Ouzels at Broadcroft and West Cliffs were, as ever, very welcome. The day's common migrant tally again consisted predominantly of Willow Warblers, with 130 or so at the Bill alone; among the not particularly numerous other arrivals 2 Redstarts and singles of Common Sandpiper, Grasshopper Warbler, Garden Warbler and a Bullfinch were of note at the Bill, where a Firecrest retrapped at the Obs was found to be an individual present since 10th March (what was presumably this bird was even heard in song a couple of days ago) and a Red-legged Partridge was knocking about; singles of Lesser Whitethroat (the first of the spring) and Pied Flycatcher at Avalanche Road/Suckthumb were the best elsewhere. Swallows in particular were on the move overhead in good numbers at times but visible passage was otherwise not the feature that might have been hoped. The sea got plenty of attention but produced few rewards, with 100 Manx Shearwaters, a Black-throated Diver and a Great Skua off Chesil, and 54 Common Scoter and a Red-throated Diver off the Bill the pick of a poor return.

Red-legged Partridge - Portland Bill, 18th April 2015 © Phil and Linda Cooper
...the menagerie of game-birds grows; we hadn't mentioned a couple of sightings of Red-legged Partridges in recent days - perhaps in the hope that they might go away! - and we'll see whether more get released.