20th May

Just as forecast, some really wild weather blew in today that scuppered most passerine hopes and was hardly richly rewarding on the sea. A couple of hours of relatively clement conditions after dawn revealed a handful of new arrivals on the land amongst which were a Whinchat at the Bill and 9 Sanderling at Ferrybridge. The stormy conditions that followed saw Manx Shearwaters milling around in three figure numbers off the Bill but movers were limited to 4 Arctic Skuas at Chesil Cove, 2 Great Northern Divers off the Bill, a few Common Scoter and increasing numbers of Kittiwakes.

Whimbrel at Ferrybridge this morning © Pete Saunders:

With a full blown gale blowing by the end of the afternoon there was a really wild sea running off the Bill and Chesil Cove...

...We have no idea what's going on with Kittiwakes right now: there have been some really high numbers lingering off the Bill for a fortnight or more, whilst this evening big packs of several dozen at a time (oddly, a high proportion of them looked to be full adults) were passing through off Chesil - an event a lot more like something out of mid-winter as opposed to mid-May; we were rather intrigued to see that most of the first-summer birds in these flocks looked to be in sparklingly good condition whereas most of the first-summers lingering off the Bill just lately have been shabby, sun-bleached, heavily-worn birds - have they been wintering in completely different parts of the Atlantic? © Martin Cade:

It's been a distressingly recurring theme this spring but the tedium of a non-event seawatch at the Bill was such that we felt the need to pop over to Lodmoor at lunchtime to get a rarity fix - this time the action being provided by a Bonaparte's Gull © Pete Saunders (still) and Martin Cade (video):