13th April

Ordinarily, Portland has a gratifyingly pre-eminent position in the early spring migration stakes but just lately a little bit of the lustre has worn off as migrants seem to be dropping in quantity on all sort of points westward, eastward and even northward whilst our fortunes have been decidedly downbeat; sadly, today made a hash of trying to put the usurpers in their place. With precious little seeming to be wrong with the conditions, migrants really weren't a feature anywhere: the odd Redstart and a single Black Redstart popped up here and there but even routine arrivals were far from numerous and included nothing else of note. The sea was more rewarding but then only by dint of many hours of watching, with 200 Kittiwakes, 150 Manx Shearwaters, 111 Common Scoter, 25 Sandwich Terns, 7 Red-throated Divers, 5 Arctic Skuas, a Great Northern Diver and a Great Skua about as good as it got at the Bill. Elsewhere, the Red-necked Grebe was seen again in Portland Harbour.

The Portland Harbour Red-necked Grebe keeps lingering on and on © Martin Cade:

From our viewpoint watching the Red-necked Grebe at Bincleaves this evening the vista presented of the island shrouded in fog was one that won't be firing the imagination with what might be in store for us tomorrow. Of course those with a long memory will remember a famously foggy day on 16th April 1988 when a fall of epic proportions dropped both a Little Bittern and a Rock Thrush at the Bill but an event like that is very much the exception and the rule in recent times is that spring fogs bring little but gloom and despondency for the birders! © Martin Cade: