23rd April

A day that only a little over a week ago would have seemed like the highpoint of spring almost paled into insignificance in comparison with the riches on offer over the last few days. A good dawn flurry of Willow Warblers looked to be setting the scene for further excitements to come but as early heavy cloud cover gradually evaporated so the birds rapidly upped and moved on. The Willow Warbler total from the Bill was up around 150, but nothing else reached that sort of level and the likes of 3 Pied Flycatchers at Avalanche Road, 2 Grasshopper Warblers at the Bill and a Marsh Harrier ranging between the Bill and Barleycrates Lane were the best of the less regulars. With the breeze a little towards the northwest the sea was watched more in hope than expectation so c100 Manx Shearwaters, 3 Red-throated Divers, an Arctic Skua and a Pomarine Skua (plus another of the latter reported only on the national news services) through off the Bill were reward enough. 

An adult male Marsh Harrier is a very rare sight at Portland - the majority of sightings are of immatures of one sort or another - so today's bird was much appreciated © Martin Cade: