4th May

Roller coaster migration conditions at the moment: one moment utterly unsuitable and the next so good that nothing drops in; were it not for the fact that Swallows were making up for lost time and streaming through (at a rate of 1200 per hour at times) the fieldworkers trudging around relatively empty bushes would have been forgiven for believing that nocturnal migrants hadn't been on the move, which we're sure they must have been under a full moon and with conditions much improved over the Continent. The grounded tally was really pretty pitiful, with just 4 summer migrants ringed all day at the Obs and no more than odd ones and twos of a few expected species everywhere else; minor highlights included a Ring Ouzel at Coombefield, a Grasshopper Warbler at Suckthumb and 2 Bullfinches, a White Wagtail and a Pied Flycatcher at the Bill. Prizes from the sea were still hard to come by, with an awful lot of watching eventually coming up with precious little more than 4 Great Skuas, 2 Pomarines Skuas and an Arctic Skua off the Bill and 2 Arctic Skuas and a Great Skua off Chesil.

Great Skua - Portland Bill, 3rd May 2015 © Roger Hewitt
...it's usually assumed on distant seawatch views when detail can't be made out properly that scratchy-looking plumage like this is the result of pale feather bases being exposed due to moult; however, in this case it's pretty obvious that there are all sorts of white bits where there shouldn't be and that this is a leucistic individual.