One of my favourite websites to keep an eye on, especially at this time of year, is that run by the Portland bird observatory, where I check out the latest sightings page. Martin Cade, the warden and excellent all round naturalist, keeps an informative diary of events taking place at this key site for migrants.
I checked out the activities from this equivalent weekend last year and it read “A day of constant warm sunshine” and the following day, “Another day of unbroken sunshine and unseasonable warmth with 5 species of butterfly on the wing”. This year’s entry started “Another uniformly foul day – blasting, cold easterlies and frequent spells of rain”. Nevertheless, although the butterflies are not prepared to venture out, the migrants are starting to appear on our shores despite the rather bleak welcome.
The highlight of yesterday was a white-spotted bluethroat, a stunning little bird caught in the observatory mist net and photographed. Also beginning to arrive in numbers are wheatears, sand martins, swallows, chiffchaffs, willow warblers and a couple of Ring ouzels thrown in for good measure. So, if you are beginning to despair that spring is never going to arrive this year, then cheer yourself up by taking a look at the comings and goings at Portland, because things are definitely livening up!