24th June

Heavily overcast and humid conditions prompted a small arrival of grounded migrants at the Bill that included yet more singing Reed Warblers - at least 2 at the Obs - along with 2 Lapwings and Turnstones; lingering singles of Blackcap and Chiffchaff were also still at the Bill. As in recent days it was the sea though that provided the day's numbers, with c40 Balearic Shearwaters remaining offshore throughout the morning; a lingering Arctic Skua and more than 20 Common Scoter were also still about.

Puffins have been a lot showier off the Bill in recent weeks than at any time in the last few years - all the sightings seem to involve just two individuals that, like this morning, are often together © Pete Saunders:

Lapwings have gone rather the way of Puffins and are pretty infrequent visitors to the Bill these days: they can still be abundant during the increasingly irregular snowy spells in mid-winter and there are sometimes fair showings of migrants in easterly weather during October but post-breeding dispersers that used to be frequent during late May and June are rarely seen these days, presumably reflecting the decline in British breeding numbers © Martin Cade:

The recent arrival of good numbers of Balearic Shearwaters into local waters has got plenty of attention and late last week our photos of some of them revealed an interesting-looking shearwater in the background that immediately brought to mind the putative Yelkouan Shearwater(s) of a few years back; there were a lot of Manx about on this particular day and we weren't paying as much attention to the 'black and white' birds as we were to the Balearics. This individual was pretty obviously not a Balearic but its state of moult/ragged plumage ought to be extremely unusual for a Manx at this time of year - at least, that's what we thought...

...those thoughts were quickly shelved however when first this equally heavily moulting individual passed through amongst a strong evening passage of Manx the next day and then a third individual in an even more extreme state of moult was seen well but not photographed the next morning:

In every respect except for their state of moult these latter two individuals were perfectly obvious Manx and we suspect the first bird might well have been as well but we can't be absolutely certain of that as it wasn't watched in the field and, for example, leg-length isn't visible in the photographs © Martin Cade