6th May

Much improved variety today: despite the crystal-clear conditions and big moon overnight there a decent selection of grounded migrants, whilst a brisk easterly saw it that visible passage along West Cliffs was very conspicuous for a while. Rarity of the day was undoubtedly a black morph Montagu's Harrier in off the sea over Chesil. More routine visible passage included sample one hour totals of 310 Swallows, 146 House Martins and 108 Sand Martins through at the Bill, with a good selection of other passerines - as well as 2 Hobbys - tagging along wherever this passage was tapped into; a Merlin settled below West Cliffs was no doubt also a pausing active migrant. The grounded selection included much of what might be expected in late spring, with the season's first Turtle Dove and well into double figure totals of Whinchat and Spotted Flycatcher of particular note. The sea continued to disappoint, with 2 Canada Geese and singles of Great Northern Diver, Arctic Skua and Little Tern as good as it got at the Bill.

Any Portland record of a Montagu's Harrier is exciting news these days but a black morph male is pretty well off the scale in grip value - raptor prizes don't come much better in this country © Joe Stockwell:

Today's Merlin was a peculiar looking bird that sadly didn't permit close scrutiny; it was always distant and in a very shady spot that, according to the observers, perhaps made it appear somewhat darker than it really was - whether its plumage was aberrant or indicative of more distant origin than usual couldn't be established © Pete Saunders:

We don't usually need an excuse to post ropey video clips but in this case Turtle Dove's become so infrequent at Portland that the first one of the year certainly merits some attention © Martin Cade: