13th May

We're pretty sure we've been spiteful about World Migratory Bird Day in the past but inevitably it proved to be the death knell for almost all migration at Portland - not that there had been much going on anyway since the month of May seems to have become almost a rarity-only period these days. With dawn far clearer than had been anticipated grounded arrivals really weren't expected in any quantity and proved in fact to be almost absent, with a Yellow-legged Gull at the Bill and 2 Whinchats and a Redstart either side of Southwell as good as it got. Hirundine passage might have been expected given the lovely windless conditions and clear, sunny sky but even they were inexplicably sparse and it was left to the likes of the odd few overflying Swifts, Tree Pipits, Yellow Wagtails and Spotted Flycatchers, along with a single Hobby, to provide interest overhead. Offshore, 3 Arctic Skuas and 2 Great Northern Divers passed through off the Bill.

It's a bad job when you're reduced to looking at seagulls in mid-May - this Yellow-legged Gull was just about bird of the day at the Bill © Martin Cade:

We don't know what's happened to wader passage this year - presumably the Dunlins and Sanderlings just haven't got going yet for on four evening visits to Ferrybridge in the last week we literally haven't seen a single small wader on the sandflats. The conditions were so glorious on this evening's abject visit that we decided to abort and head over to Lodmoor to see if the Purple Heron that had been seen there earlier in the day might put in a reappearance. As luck would have it our timing was perfect but our ineptitude was such that we managed to mess up what could have been a great view of it: shortly after arriving our desire for a call of nature was sufficiently great that we had to pop behind some strategic bushes and it was at just this moment that an odd-sounding heron started calling and on looking up we realised the Purple Heron had emerged from a nearby reedbed - with hands momentarily otherwise engaged there was no chance of a photograph until the bird was considerably further away and before long was in fact disappearing high out to sea across Weymouth Bay, never to be seen again! © Martin Cade: