1st June

Not that May has a shabby track record but June's always the month when the rare and scarce quotient ups a few notches and so it proved today, with a fly-by Golden Oriole at Top Fields/Sweethill, a Honey Buzzard through over Church Ope Cove and a Grey-headed Wagtail settled and showing nicely at Reap Lane. To confound expectations that an overcast morning would always outscore a cloudless one today's migrant tally was a considerable improvement on yesterday's, including excellent totals of 33 Spotted Flycatchers and 18 Reed Warblers scattered around the Bill and the centre of the island; the varied list of tag-alongs from the same area included 6 Willow Warblers, 4 Blackcaps, 3 Chiffchaffs and singles of Hobby, Turtle Dove, Whinchat, Redstart and Garden Warbler, whilst Ferrybridge chipped in with 68 Sanderling, 54 Ringed Plovers, 8 Turnstones, 6 Dunlin, 4 Bar-tailed Godwits, 2 Redshank and a Whinchat. Sea passage also continued, with 88 commic terns, 32 Common Scoter, 8 Sandwich Terns and a Balearic Shearwater through off the Bill.

Phil Cheeseman's a very assiduous recent addition to the local birding community and it was only a few days ago that in conversation with him we mentioned that it's always worth paying close attention to any late spring Yellow Wagtails he comes across; with that in mind, we were aghast this afternoon when Phil reported to us that he'd found a very dark-headed wagtail at Reap Lane but that it'd flown off shortly after discovery and been completely lost to view. The boc photos were indeed gripping and having been taken in the brutal midday light conveyed the impression of an almost black-head bird that certainly needed hunting for; although the follow-up emailed photos had allowed the identification as a Grey-headed Wagtail to be firmed up it was still a relief when, after a lot of hunting, Nick Hopper discovered the bird right back where it had first been seen - and where it was to remain for the rest of the day. As far as we're aware this is only the third record for the island, the others being of singles at the Bill on 24th September 1977 and at Reap Lane on 20th May 2011 © Phil Cheeseman (top), Nick Hopper (bottom) and Martin Cade (video):

The Church Ope Cove Honey Buzzard © Eleanor Page:

And a Redstart to add to the recent migrant bonanza © Martin Cade/Eleanor Page: