24th May

A bit of dawn cloud cover and a cool northwesterly breeze downed a nice selection of late migrants today, with yet another Golden Oriole - this one roamed widely between the Privet Hedge and Avalanche Road - the pick of the oddities. Singles of Red Kite, Marsh Harrier and a non-local Common Buzzard were of note overhead, whilst 15 Spotted Flycatchers and 6 each of Yellow Wagtail and Reed Warbler made up the bulk of the passerine arrivals at the Bill. Two Moorhens were still at Culverwell where breeding was proved when 2 recently fledged youngsters were sighted. Overnight, 4 Storm Petrels had been sound-lured and trapped at the Bill tip.

We wouldn't have bothered with our hopeless snaps taken at a couple of hundred metres range of the Golden Oriole (we were at Culverwell and it was in the middle of Top Fields) were it not for them actually capturing quite well the very characteristic jizz of a distant Top Fields oriole © Martin Cade:

The warmth of the middle of the day brought with it a minor raptor-fest, with a Red Kite, a non-local Common Buzzard and an in off the sea Marsh Harrier logged in quick time. The Marsh Harrier was unusual in as much as it looked to be an adult male - the majority of island records relate to immatures of some sort © Duncan Walbridge:

Having trapped Storm Petrels as early as 19th May in previous years we know they're gettable this early in the summer even if we rarely try because we'd rather be up early whilst there's still a fair  chance of migrants by day. An attempt last night was aimed as much at trying out a thermal camera as it was actually catching petrels; in the event we did sound-lure and trap four birds and the camera was a revelation when it came to getting a handle of what the birds were up to - anyone used only to seeing petrels on seawatches wouldn't belief how they behave at night! © Martin Cade:

Even if they're rarely seen they do call a fair bit so we've known there have been Moorhens at Culverwell for some weeks (perhaps even since last autumn) and there's been a suspicion that they might just be breeding. Proof came this morning when we were going to open the net in the photo below and nearly trod on two tiny youngsters that were creeping about in the marsh. They didn't oblige with further views then but a stake-out this evening was rewarded when they eventually snuck by the same spot. The only previous breeding record for Portland involved an attempt at Verne Common in 2013 that failed when the small pond being used dried up.

Now you see them...

...now you don't

Curiosity got the better of one of them and it couldn't resist a quick sneak back to check us out © Martin Cade: