21st May

Any day with a Great Spotted Cuckoo residing on the island shouldn't be written off, but it has to be said that there were few other reasons for cheer with drizzle and low cloud a nuisance throughout the morning and bucketing rain preventing any meaningful fieldwork during the afternoon. The cuckoo aside, land observations consisted of just 2 Chiffchaffs, a Reed Warbler and a Spotted Flycatcher at the Bill, whilst seawatching came up with a trickle of Manx Shearwaters, 5 Arctic Skuas, 2 Great Skuas and a Little Egret through off the Bill and a Great Northern Diver through off Chesil.

Skylark - Portland Bill, 20th May 2016 © Simon Craft

Also today, courtesy of Dr Martin Collinson at the University of Aberdeen, we received confirmation that this chiffchaff trapped at the Obs on 26th April was indeed a Siberian Chiffchaff (to be completely accurate, since it was the mtDNA from a feather sample that was analysed, its mother was a Siberian Chiffchaff); as we mentioned at the time, there was nothing in the plumage, moult or wing formula to suggest it wasn't a Siberian Chiffchaff, but since it wasn't heard to call it was good to get confirmation in another way that we weren't barking up the wrong tree: