12th May

After the relative wealth of oddities over the last couple of days today was quieter, with a fly-through Turtle Dove at the Bill the best on offer. In the continuing warmth and sunshine not much was expected in the common migrant line and 12 Wheatears, 7 Yellow Wagtails, 5 Willow Warblers, 2 each of Redstart and Whinchat, and singles of Sedge Warbler and Garden Warbler constituted the suitably lean return from the Bill. The sea provided more in the way of numbers, with 500 Manx Shearwaters, 153 commic terns and singles of Pomarine and Arctic Skuas through off the Bill.

For entertainment value and dazzling colour the bird of the day was this Alexandrine Parakeet that pitched up during the morning in the Obs garden having earlier been spotted flying towards the island from Wyke Regis; later it returned to the mainland where it was seen over RSPB Radipole. Having been assumed on the initial flying views to be a Ring-necked Parakeet, the bird's correct identity was realised once it landed; in fact, if we didn't positively avoid the Home Counties we might have remembered from frequent familiarity that even on a brief flight view a Ring-necked Parakeet would look a whole lot smaller than this bird...

...the characteristic little maroon shoulder patch was mostly hidden when the bird was settled but shows up quite clearly on the flight photographs.

And as a bizarre postscript, in the middle of our evening seawatch at the Bill - ten hours or more after the earlier sighting - the bird suddenly appeared again right overhead at the Trinity House obelisk; from there it carried on purposefully straight out to sea and was eventually lost to view way, way out to the southwest - extraordinary! © Martin Cade: