8th May

A spectacularly good day started with a nice local rarity at dawn - a Hooded Crow over the Bill - progressed through yet another fine fall of common migrants and ended on something of a crescendo with the discovery of a really showy Spectacled Warbler - a first for Portland and Dorset, and evidently only the ninth for Britain - on the Slopes at the Bill. The migrant fall was again out of a clear blue sky with the brisk northeasterly headwind seemingly doing the trick for the umpteenth time this spring (...back in the 1990s chilly, easterly springs were almost uniformly dreadful for migrants - why the complete turn around these days?). The Bill area got all the coverage and came up with totals that included 200 Willow Warblers, 100 each of Wheatear and Whitethroat, 60 Blackcaps, 50 Spotted Flycatchers, 35 Sedge Warblers, 30 each of Whinchat and Garden Warbler, 25 Redstarts, 20 each of Yellow Wagtail and Chiffchaff, 15 Reed Warblers, 6 Lesser Whitethroats, 3 Pied Flycatchers, 2 Grasshopper Warblers and singles of Hobby, Tree Pipit, Ring Ouzel and Wood Warbler; there were again bags of hirundines passing through but events on the ground ensured that their numbers weren't fully quantified. The sea got some coverage but 64 Common Scoter, 8 Bar-tailed Godwits, 7 Whimbrel, 3 Red-throated Divers and 3 Great Skuas were about as good as it got off the Bill.

Spectacled Warbler has always been one of those birds that you thought would eventually turn up at Portland but that in no way diminished the excitement generated by today's occurrence © Keith Pritchard:

...and a bit more of the action © Martin Cade:

The Hooded Crow was imperfect in obvious ways - and ought to be easy to spot as this particular individual if it turns up anywhere else - but the well-defined extent of the grey plumage did suggest it was a 'pure' bird © Keith Pritchard:

Yesterday's mystery finch was pinned down briefly early in the morning and in this view at least looks to be a Canary; we don't know anything about the variation of 'domestic' canaries vis-à-vis 'proper' Atlantic Canary and it would be interesting to get a complete view of this individual © Keith Pritchard: