13th May

With the island ringed by a band of heavy rain that lingered throughout the day we were lucky to escape during daylight hours with no more than the showery last remnants of an overnight downpour that petered out soon after dawn; we were also fortunate that a more than respectable number of migrants had managed to penetrate the rain and make landfall. The most welcome of these was the first Nightingale of the season that dropped in at Culverwell; the most surprising were an arrival of 50 Chiffchaffs at the Bill - an extraordinary total for so late in the season and on a day when there was just a low single figure total of Willow Warblers. Dunlin, Turnstone, Wheatear, Whitethroat and Spotted Flycatcher all chipped in with double figure totals at the Bill, where 2 Hobbys, a Merlin and a Redpoll - along with the Chough that was still present during the morning at least - were the best of the rest there, with 2 Cuckoos at the north of the island of note elsewhere. Three Great Northern Divers and an Arctic Skua through off the Bill were among the few moving seabirds to manage to get through the rain. 

The Nightingale - sadly, not even an annual visitor to the Bill these days © Martin Cade...

and a few snatches of it singing in the rain at dawn © Mark Cutts:

At the other end of the day we got oddly excited about coming across a singing Cuckoo at Easton; at least four of this spring's birds have been heard to break into fitful song but this also isn't a frequent event at Portland these days © Martin Cade: