1st June

The heavily overcast sky and frequently brisk north-easterly that were the order of the day prompted Swifts to appear in quantity, with 686 logged on the day-sheet at the Bill and likely well into a four-figure total over the island as a whole - these birds didn't really have the look of active migrants and were presumed to be mainland breeders temporarily displaced by the conditions. On the ground, the Great Spotted Cuckoo was still about and the lingering Common Cuckoo at the Bill was joined by a second individual; 2 Chiffchaffs and a Willow Warbler also lingered on at the Bill, whilst other new arrivals included singles of Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Spotted Flycatcher at the Bill, a Hobby through at Blacknor and 2 each of Sanderling and Dunlin at Ferrybridge. Late commic tern passage saw 29 through off the Bill and 12 through over Chesil, whilst a trickle of Manx Shearwaters and Sandwich Terns, as well as a lone Great Skua, also passed through off the Bill.

The arrival of an immigrant swarm of Diamond-back Moths saw prodigious numbers recorded throughout the island: moth-trap totals included 383 at the Obs (in four traps) and 58 at the Grove (in one trap), but vast numbers - we'd guess at well into the low millions from the numbers seen in sample walks at several sites during the evening - were evident everywhere by day. The only other new immigrant lepidoptera logged were 3 Silver Y in various of the moth-traps and a lone Painted Lady in the Obs garden.

Diamond-back Moth - Portland Bill, 1st June 2016 © Max Hellicar

The Neil Arnold Memorial Fund

We hadn't intended to jump the gun when earlier in the year we announced the establishment of The Neil Arnold Memorial Fund but inevitably the administrative formalities required took longer than expected to complete. However, we're pleased to announce that the fund is now a UK registered charity in its own right, it has its own bank account to which donations may be made and it is now able to accept applications from young people (up to the age of 21) for support.
Initially the fund will provide financial support for young people wishing to visit Portland Bird Observatory, but as further funding becomes available it is anticipated that its remit will be broadened to encompass visits to any accredited UK bird observatory. Support will be available for all or part of the transport and accommodation costs incurred and potential applicants are invited to contact the warden at PBO to discuss their application.