19th May

On a fine, warm morning the Great Spotted Cuckoo was still about to be enjoyed (although in poorer conditions it wasn't reported during the afternoon) and hirundines continued to pass through in quantity - a sample count on West Cliffs suggested Swallows were moving at 550 per hour. However, grounded migrants were again very thinly spread, with no more than one or two each of Wheatear, Whinchat, Sedge Warbler, Garden Warbler, Blackcap and Chiffchaff at the Bill; another Sedge Warbler was also at Barleycrates Lane. With the exception of a few milling Manx Shearwaters, seawatching at the Bill produced just 3 Great Northern Divers and a tardy Common Gull.

Little Owl - Portland Bill, 19th May 2016 © Dave Butcher

Also some news from last week that we thought it prudent not to publicise at the time of a singing Wryneck on the island. Although not a regular birder, the finder had tracked down and identified the bird having first been alerted to its presence by a persistent and unfamiliar call. On visiting the site later in the day and initially being greeted by silence we were astonished when, in response to a last resort burst from a sound-lure, the bird flew straight into the top of the nearest tall tree and proceeded to sing loudly for several minutes! It was evidently still present and singing frequently the next morning but hasn't been heard or seen since so was presumably just a passing migrant that thought it would try its luck for a couple of days.