16th May

May continued to work its magic today with a Woodchat Shrike showing up at the Bill and lingering in the Strips all day, whilst on the common migrant front the clear, sunny sky clearly tempted plenty of late migrants aloft, with the noticeable headwind dropping many - particularly Swifts - to a height where they were readily encountered arriving over the Bill. The day's tally of 254 Swifts was certainly the high point numbers-wise; tardy Swallows and House Martins reached 184 and 86 respectively, whilst a fair few of the 21 Spotted Flycatchers logged around the south of the island were watched passing straight through overhead. The migrant variety otherwise included the Hawfinch that had roosted overnight but quickly left northwards at dawn, an overflying Greylag Goose, an unseasonable Snipe, a single passing Hobby and ones and twos of a fair few commoner species. Given the conditions nothing was expected from the sea so 3 Great Northern Divers and a single Arctic Skua represented a fair return from the Bill.

Portland's first record of Woodchat Shrike apparently concerned one shot in 1928 but in the modern era of more enlightened ornithological exploration there have been 67 more records between 1952 and today's individual showing up - so they're running at a pretty respectable average of just shy of one a year which isn't too bad considering there have been several hiatus periods, for example, even quite recently there were none between 2012 and 2018 © Martin Cade: