April 2000

April 30thAnother slow day for common migrants in very fine weather. A scatter of birds dropped in overnight and most left soon after dawn; hirundines arrived in good numbers as the day went on and at least 3 Hobbies passed through. A Nightingale - apparently present for its fifth day - was heard on and off all day behind the Mermaid Pub. Sea watching remained surprisingly unproductive: 140 Bar-tailed Godwits, 66 Common Scoter and 2 Arctic Skuas were logged at the Bill, whilst Chesil Beach provided the first Black Tern of the spring among a steady passage of commic Terns and waders.
April 29thThe long-awaited return of decent fine weather meant common migrants were hard to find - most no doubt having passed over without stopping during the night. Fortunately 2 Serins appeared to give weekend birders something to see: they were initially very mobile but settled quite well at Southwell during the afternoon. A probable Red-rumped Swallow nearby was less obliging - it flew past but did not stop. Elsewhere typical fair weather birds seen included up to 6 Buzzards overhead and 2 Hobbies passing through. Sea passage was poor: 2 Little Egrets and 2 Pomarine Skuas off the Bill were the only highlights.
April 28thA much more interesting day, with a decidedly odd selection of birds recorded. On the land common migrants were more numerous: the total of 56 birds ringed at the Obs was the highest day-total there for nearly a week. At the Bill 3 Serins were seen, although again none lingered for long. Less regular migrants reported there also included HobbyBlack RedstartWood Warbler and 3 Firecrests. A ringtail Harrier, thought to be a Montagu's, passed over the middle of the Island. Sea watching provided nearly 100 Common and a Velvet Scoter, 2 Pomarine Skuas and, more bizarrely, a Little Auk.
April 27thThere was a slight increase in numbers of common migrants today, but overall totals remain much lower than they should be in the last days of April. Two early morning Serins at Culverwell unfortunately did not linger, but at least 1 of the Blue-headed Wagtails was still present all day. At least four Buzzards were seen overhead across the Island, and single Spotted Flycatchers at the Bill and the Verne were the first of the year. Off the Bill there were 5 Arctic, 3 Great and 1 Pomarine Skua.
April 26thAlmost a re-run of yesterday, albeit with a few more birds on the land. The 2 Blue-headed Wagtails were still present, and among the sprinkle of migrants reported at the Bill were 5 Whinchats, 5 Lesser Whitethroats, 2 Bullfinches, a Cuckoo, a late Fieldfare, and  the first Swift and Reed Warbler. Offshore there were 9 Arctic Skuas, a few Whimbrel and Bar-tailed Godwits, and a Little Ringed Plover. The Kentish Plover remained at Ferrybridge, at least during the morning. 
April 25thAfter a night of continuous rain it was not surprising that the land was still very quiet: the 2 Blue-headed Wagtails remained on the Bill Road dung-heap, but the only noteworthy new migrant was a Wood Warbler at Weston. Sea passage perked up a little with 7 Arctic, 6 Great and 5 Pomarine Skuas seen off the Bill, where there was also a strong up-Channel movement of Fulmars totalling more than 280 during the morning. At Ferrybridge the Kentish Plover continued to show well all day.
April 24thWith common migrants remaining few and far between this was a day of quality rather than quantity. A very flighty Serin at the Bill gave many people the runaround, but a pair of Blue-headed Wagtails on the Bill Road dung-heap proved much more obliging. In the afternoon a female Kentish Plover was found at Ferrybridge. Seawatching at the Bill produced 5 Arctic, 1 Great and 1 Pomarine Skua.
April 23rdA typical 'fine weather but no birds' day. Common migrants were in very short supply on the land, where, for example, just 8 birds were trapped and ringed in the Obs. garden all day. In the warm sunny weather a Marsh Harrier arriving from the south at the Bill was not unexpected and there was another good movement of hirundines. With so few birds about a Black Redstart at the Bill and a Firecrest near the Obs. were popular. Off the Bill sea passage was disappointing, and included just 10 Bar-tailed Godwits, 8 Eider, 5 Arctic Skuas and a few divers. At Ferrybridge Little Tern numbers increased to over 40.
April 22ndA day which produced a good sprinkle of common migrants, particularly early in the morning at the Bill. Here there were at least 12 Whitethroats, 4 Grasshopper Warblers, 4 Sedge Warblers, 2 Whinchats, a Black Redstart and a Pied Flycatcher along with fair numbers of BlackcapsChiffchaffs and Willow Warblers; a total of 58 birds were trapped and ringed at the Obs.  Hirundines passed through in strength as the day went on. Elsewhere on the Island highlights included a Wood Warbler at Pennsylvania Castle and a new Firecrest at Weston Craft Centre. Seawatching provided 6 Arctic and a single Pomarine Skua, 4 Velvet Scoter and a Great Northern Diver.
April 21stDespite seemingly promising weather conditions this was a day of variety rather than numbers. Most of the expected common migrants were present but there were no noteworthy counts. A single Lesser Whitethroat at the Bill was the first of the year, and a very long-staying Firecrest near the Obs. was seen again after going unrecorded for several days. Offshore there were more than 100 Manx Shearwaters, 26 Whimbrel, 3 Great Northern Divers, and 5 Arctic, 3 Great and 2 Pomarine Skuas.
April 20thA much busier day - seemingly the result of the arrival of a milder southerly airflow. Damp, dreary weather at dawn was not encouraging but good numbers of migrants were soon evident. At the Bill counts included 100 Willow Warblers, 75 Blackcaps, 20 Chiffchaffs, 6 Redstarts, 5 Whitethroats, 4 Yellow Wagtails, 2 Pied Flycatchers, 2 Sedge Warblers, 2 Garden Warblers (the first of the spring), and single Cuckoo and Nightingale. Ringing was brisker than of late at the Obs. where the 58 birds trapped included 26 Blackcaps and 23 Willow Warblers. Offshore, seawatching produced 8 Great and 7 Arctic Skuas, as well as many Manx Shearwaters and a Little Egret. At other Island sites there were plenty more common migrants, as well as at least 1 lingering Ring Ouzel and a Wood Warbler.
April 19thNumbers remained on the low side for the time of year despite the return of better weather. Migrants included the first Whinchat at Barleycrates Lane, as well as a scatter of Ring Ouzels and Redstartshirundines started moving in good numbers as the day went on. A lone Corn Bunting at the Bill was the first seen on the Island this year. Off the Bill there were 13 Arctic, 2 Great and a single Pomarine Skua.
April 18thAnother day spoilt by the continuing poor weather. Migrants reported included 4 Grasshopper Warblers at various sites but there was otherwise little to be found on the land in increasingly wet conditions. On the sea Manx Shearwaters trickled through all day; 6 Great and 5 Arctic Skua were logged at the Bill, and several of each also passed Chesil Cove.
April 17thWith blustery showers the order of the day most of the interest occurred off the Bill where there was a steady passage of Manx Shearwaters, particularly during the late afternoon. Also recorded were 50 Common and 2 Velvet Scoter, 14 Great and 8 Arctic Skuas, 12 Whimbrel and a few divers. Among the few migrants on the land were the first spring Sedge Warbler, a Grasshopper Warbler and a Ring Ouzel at the Bill, and 2 Ring Ouzels still at Barleycrates Lane.
April 16thOn the land new migrants were sparse but there was still a fair selection of left-overs from 15th. Ring Ouzels remained present in exceptional numbers with 15 at Barleycrates Lane, 3 at the Bill and at least 4 elsewhere. At the Bill an Osprey arrived from the south during the morning, and there was a trickle of diversCommon ScoterWhimbrel and skuas passing offshore.
April 15thRain and a bitter NE wind at dawn promised little but proved to have dropped a peculiar selection of migrants at the Bill. Warblers were conspicuously absent, but in their place there were an unprecedented 80 Song Thrushes and 12 Ring Ouzels, as well as 70 Wheatears, 7 Redstarts, 6 Turtle Doves and 2 Cuckoos; a Little Egret flew north up the East Cliffs during the morning. With improving weather in the afternoon a total of 1150 Manx Shearwaters were logged moving up-Channel. Elsewhere on the Island Ring Ouzels were prominent, with at least 5 at Barleycrates Lane and 4 at Tout Quarry.
April 14thMigrants arrived in strength today, with by far the best fall of the spring to date. At the Bill counts included 400 Willow Warblers, 50 Blackcaps, 15 Redstarts and 3 Whitethroats, as well as the first Common Sandpipers and Grasshopper Warbler. Ringing was busy at the Obs where the day total of 191 new birds trapped included 131 Willow Warblers. Visible passage included several 00's of both Goldfinch and Linnet. At other Island sites, as well as similarly high numbers of common migrants, there were at least 9 Ring Ouzels, 4 Pied Flycatchers and 2 Hobbies.
April 13thDespite the continuing cold winds there was a small flurry of new migrants. At the Bill there were 60 Willow Warblers and 25 Blackcaps as well as several Tree PipitsYellow Wagtails and Redstarts, and the first Whitethroat. Elsewhere there were 4 Ring Ouzels at Barleycrates Lane and the first Little Tern at Ferrybridge.
April 12thCold NW winds persisted and migrants remained few and far between. A steady westward passage of Manx Shearwaters continued offshore.
April 11thA quiet day with a handful of migrants on the land and 200 Manx Shearwaters offshore.
April 10thA fair number of yesterdays birds remained overnight but new arrivals were mainly restricted to a steady trickle of Blackcaps through the Obs garden. The first Whimbrel of the spring was at the Bill, where there was also another Little Ringed Plover.
April 9thAfter a long barren spell heavy cloud and showers after dawn led to the first good fall of the spring. At the Bill counts included 100 Willow Warblers, 80 Blackcaps and 75 Chiffchaffs, as well as the first 15 Redstarts and 2 Pied Flycatchers of the spring, 4 Ring Ouzels, 2 Little Ringed Plovers and a Short-eared Owl. At the Obs garden 117 birds were ringed including 36 Blackcaps, 35 Willow Warblers and 32 Chiffchaffs. Elsewhere on the Island there were at least 7 Ring Ouzels at Tout Quarry.
April 8thOnce again the main movements were of visible migrants up the West Cliffs where there were 200 Meadow Pipits, 50 Goldfinches and 400 Linnets. Elsewhere there were 2 Ring Ouzels at Tout Quarry.
April 7thNight migrants were still sparse but a small sea movement off the Bill totalled 4 Red-throated Divers, 250 Common Scoter, 4 Red-breasted Mergansers and 8 Sandwich Terns. Visible passage on the West Cliffs was still obvious: both Meadow Pipit and Linnet totalled 400. A Little Egret also flew north along the West Cliffs.
April 6thAlthough the weather continued to improve there were few new arrivals overnight. Visible passage of hirundines and finches was more conspicuous along the West Cliffs and a male Hen Harrier arrived in off the sea at the Bill. The Saker appeared once again and the first Redstart of the spring was seen at Weston.
April 5thDespite slightly better weather there was little of note at the Bill save for a single Red-necked Grebe passing offshore. A Saker over East Weares was presumed to be the same individual as that seen in mid-March at Blacknor.
April 4thWith the strong NE wind continuing migrants were virtually non-existent. The first Sanderling of the spring was seen at Ferrybridge.
April 3rdPortland at its worst: 24 hours non-stop rain and a bitter NE wind. Surprisingly a trickle of hirundines were moving north throughout the afternoon.
April 2ndIt remained quiet on the land although some visible passage got going as the day went on: 1100 Meadow Pipits and 300 Linnets were counted moving up the West Cliffs. An Osprey flew over Weston during the late morning.
April 1stA low-key start to the month with a dearth of land migrants anywhere on the Island; a Ring Ouzel at Reap Lane was the only highlight. A small sea passage saw 7 Red-throated Divers, 21 Brent Geese, 36 Common Scoter and 2 Red-breasted Mergansers logged.