22nd April

Just a reminder that the next In Focus field event at the Obs takes place between 10am and 4pm tomorrow, Wednesday 23rd April.

After a pretty productive last fortnight or so it came as no surprise when some very promising-looking conditions at dawn - complete cloud cover and heavy rain as close as Dorchester - came up with another good fall of routine migrants. Although variety was excellent it was the totals of 400 of both Wheatear and Willow Warbler that made up the bulk of the numbers at the Bill, where Yellow Wagtail, Tree Pipit, Redstart, Whinchat, Garden Warbler, Blackcap and Whitethroat all chipped in with counts in the 10-50 range, and single figure totals included 2 Ring Ouzels, 2 Pied Flycatchers and a Nightingale; plenty more of the same elsewhere included 2 Hobbys over Suckthumb Quarry. Sea passage only really got going once the early north-westerly breeze shifted back into the south-west, with totals of 97 Common Scoter, 19 Great Skuas, 6 Red-throated Divers, 5 Arctic Skuas and a Great Northern Diver eventually making the log at the Bill. Wader numbers continued to increase and included 145 Dunlin at Ferrybridge.

Blackcap, Whinchat, Willow Warbler, Ring Ouzel and Pied Flycatcher - Portland Bill and Suckthumb Quarry, 22nd April 2014 © Martin Cade (Blackcap, Whinchat and Willow Warbler), Pete Saunders (Ring Ouzel) and Brett Spencer Brett's Goosey Ganderings (Pied Flycatcher)

...also, just for a bit of fun/experimentation, whilst bumbling around birding this morning we tinkered with sound-recording with a smartphone (we had tried it once before a couple of years ago after stumbling upon a noisy Yellow-browed Warbler but on that occasion the result was acceptable but hardly inspiring) and were surprised at how decent the results were as long as you take a bit of care in keeping out of the wind; have a listen to a couple of the migrants in song:

And thanks to Joe for some photos (© Joe Stockwell Yet another birding blogand a bit of extra detail from his mist-netting at the Obs today; Grasshopper Warbler:

With Redstarts being quite a prominent feature in our nets over the last couple of days, the double capture this morning allowed us to compare both a 1st Summer male (top two photos) and an Adult male (bottom two photos) together