4th May

A day that saw the beginnings of a weather shake-up actually begun in precisely the same vein as yesterday with a blasting easterly blowing but by the afternoon had deteriorated into frequent and at times heavy showers with the abating breeze having veered towards the south. A small arrival of mainly Willow Warblers was evident on the ground, with waders numbers also up a tad at Ferrybridge, where 63 Dunlin, 45 Ringed Plovers, 4 Bar-tailed Godwits, 2 Sanderling and singles of Grey Plover and Whimbrel - along with a lone Greylag Goose - were downed; most of the day's interest though was overhead or offshore. Overhead, Swifts and hirundines trickled in, along with singles of Honey Buzzard and Hobby - the former the earliest spring arrival ever recorded at Portland, whilst offshore 5 Arctic Skuas, 2 Balearic Shearwaters and 2 Pomarine Skuas were accompanied by singles of Red-throated and Great Northern Diver, a trickle of Manx Shearwaters and Common Scoter and a variety of waders that included 20 Bar-tailed Godwits, 15 Whimbrel, 2 Sanderling, 2 Turnstones, 2 Sanderling and a Grey Plover.

Singles of Painted Lady and Hummingbird Hawkmoth were on the wing at the Bill.

Seawatching can be highly entertaining, a terrible time-waster and pretty brutal - often all in the same watch! This morning we got occasional treats in the form of Arctic Skua and Balearic Shearwater, as well as having a couple of Turnstones - surely the very best of the Arctic waders - pitch right in front of us, but also had the massive frustration of watching what looked a lot like a Purple Heron appear out of nowhere miles out to sea and, totally bizarrely, instead of trying to make landfall head directly away in the direction of south Devon, as well as later dipping a Honey Buzzard that arrived in off the sea just behind us...

...Later in the day, having just been watching two Pom Skuas distantly from the Obs we got word of four more approaching Portland from the west so returned to the Bill for another 'proper' watch and the imagined scorching views of the lumbering goodies; more Arctic Skuas and another Balearic Shearwater entertained but of the Poms not the slightest sniff before we eventually got rained-off © Martin Cade: