2nd May

On a gloriously sunny day there was a major surprise in the form of Portland's first spring Dusky Warbler that showed up in Top Fields; the Eastern Subalpine Warbler also remained at Cheyne Weare as the other half of a nice rarity duo. It wasn't a bumper day for routine migrants but at the Bill the spread of 150 Willow Warblers and 30 Wheatears ensured there was enough about to keep the searchers entertained; 3 Yellow Wagtails, 2 Redstarts, 2 Spotted Flycatchers and a Hobby were the best of the less frequent migrants there, whilst elsewhere a Wood Warbler was at Avalanche Road and an Egyptian Goose was a quality fly-by at Ferrybridge. With the gentle breeze veering into the southeast there were high hopes for the sea but with the notable exception of 10 Pomarine Skuas through off the Bill action was very limited.

A small arrival of immigrant moths included 3 Silver Y, 2 Diamond-back Moth and a Dark Sword Grass trapped overnight at the Obs. After yesterday's influx Red Admirals remained conspicuous everywhere, with evidence of continuing north-bound passage at the Bill.

Quite apart from being wholly unexpected, the Dusky Warbler showed remarkably well at times © Steve Carey stevecareybirdphotography (still) and Martin Cade (video):

Although there are occasional calls audible on the video footage (and if we get time we'll see what other recordings we got of them) of rather more interest in a UK context was that for a while it started half-heartedly singing:

At the local level, the Egyptian Goose over Ferrybridge was of considerably higher value than the Dusky Warbler (3 records of Egyptian Goose vs 16 Dusky Warblers) © Pete Saunders:

...its occurrence also gave us a chance to dredge out Graham Armstrong's photo of the rather bizarre first record for the island of ten juveniles, also at Ferrybridge, on 10th July 1978 - the circumstances of the discovery of these birds by Messrs Armstrong, Cade and Walbridge is a story for another day! © Graham Armstrong:

And there's nothing like milking the box of ancient photos: whilst searching for the Egyptian Goose print we came across this image of Portland first Dusky Warbler on 27th October 1984 - which, if nothing else, shows that we've refined our in-hand photography skills over the decades © Martin Cade:

Back in the realm of the present the Little Terns are now settling in well at Ferrybridge © Pete Saunders:

Red Admirals are suddenly about all over the island © Ken Dolbear:

Whilst searching for the Dusky Warbler we happened across the little longhorn moth Adela reaumurella in Top Fields; whilst quite common in places further up the island it's either been overlooked or is much scarcer further south - this one's the first we've ever seen south of Southwell © Martin Cade: