4th May

The return of summer-like conditions was very welcome but did precious little for the land where, barring the unexpected appearance of a Hawfinch at the Obs that followed the almost as unlikely hearing of a Nightingale in song at Fortuneswell, migrants were few and far between and, apart from an incoming Short-eared Owl at the Bill, didn't include anything else that was in the least unexpected. In a propitious easterly breeze the sea was very disappointing for this date: 124 Common Scoter through off the Bill represented quite a resurgence in their passage that's been painfully slow just lately, but 2 Pomarine and an Arctic Skua off Chesil and 4 Pomarine and 2 Arctic Skuas, and 3 each of Red-throated and Great Northern Diver off the Bill was a poor showing of the marquee species. 

A Minke Whale off Chesil in the morning may be only the second record of this species in local waters.

Bug interest has been extremely limited just recently so it's good to get back into the groove with what we believe is the first confirmed record of Hairy Dragonfly for Portland - not that this is in any way a surprise since sightings have been expected following their remarkable increase in recent years in Weymouth. We're aware of at least one previous sight record from an experienced observer but in this day and age it seems almost obligatory to secure tangible evidence for a first record of pretty well anything so we're very pleased that Steve Mansfield obliged with some nice photographs of the specimen he came across today high up on West Cliffs beside the Southwell Business Park © Steve Mansfield:

Hawfinches are something of a Pomarine Skua of the land: rarer of course, but also similarly charismatic and - at least in the context of Portland - prone to turning up on a complete whim when least expected; today's bird showed up at midday on a bright, sunny day when there was almost no other passerine migration afoot and we can immediately remember that last year's bird was found in a mist-net that was just about to be shut right at the end of another equally birdless day. And why are so many of them adult males - what's all that about? © Martin Cade:

Four of the Sanderlings at Ferrybridge this morning © Pete Saunders: