21st July

Balearic Shearwaters aside, Portland's long, long been the poor relation when it comes to early autumn seawatching, with the east Devon headlands in particular (which are visible from West Cliffs!) regularly trouncing the island for variety and numbers. Today Portland was trounced again but just for once a few crumbs fell from the Devon table and provided more than enough entertainment for us, with island record totals of at least 26 Cory's Shearwaters and 4 Great Shearwaters (as well as several unidentified large shearwaters) the chief rewards. The back-up cast included 750 Manx Shearwaters, 46 Common Scoter, 10 Balearic Shearwaters, 6 Sandwich Terns, 3 each of Storm Petrel, Whimbrel and Arctic Skua, 2 each of Sooty Shearwater and Arctic Skua, and a single Yellow-legged Gull. The only other reports were from Ferrybridge, where there were 120 Mediterranean Gulls, 2 Sanderling, 2 Whimbrel and a Common Sandpiper.

It was way too windy overnight to have expected much reward from the moth-traps so another Splendid Brocade and the first Mere Wainscot for several years were surprises amongst the handful of commoner immigrants trapped at the Obs.

Some of the day's shearwater action; the stills are of one of the Great Shearwaters that doesn't feature on the video © Martin Cade: