3rd May

With skies having cleared overnight it felt really chilly in a brisk easterly at dawn, although as the day wore on and the breeze eased away it did begin to get a good deal warmer. The bank holiday weekend visitors were treated to an unexpected highlight in the form of the Eastern Subalpine Warbler that surfaced again in Top Fields; the day's only other local oddities were the long-staying Iceland Gull and a fly-over Tree Sparrow at the Bill, although in this day and age the 2 Turtle Doves that also flew north there were almost of similar rarity value. The weather was too fine to have expected much in the way of an arrival of grounded migrants, but there was nonetheless a not too bad spread at the Bill where a Cuckoo was of interest amongst smallish totals of many of the commoner species expected in early May. The fair weather was much more rewarding overhead, with 50 Swifts, 9 Yellow Wagtails and 2 Hobbys through at the Bill amongst a strong passage of Swallows that were arriving at rates of over 500 an hour at times during the morning. The sea has been the poor relation just lately and that trend continued today when the seemingly very promising conditions inexplicably drew a virtual blank: singles of Great Northern Diver off the Bill and Arctic Skua off Chesil were just about all there was on offer.

Bar-tailed Godwit and Orange-tip - Ferrybridge and Bottomcombe Quarry, 3rd May 2014 © Pete Saunders (Bar-tailed Godwits) and Ken Dolbear (Orange-tip)

...and a bit more on the Eastern Subalpine Warbler. While we were hanging around this evening hoping to record some vocalisations from the bird we were struck by just how much the apparent extent of the red on the throat/breast varied; this was obvious in the photos we posted a couple of days ago that were taken in different situations/light by different camera/lens combinations, but even our own little selection that were all taken within a couple of minutes of each other in shade not long before sunset showed remarkable variation:

Eventually, we did have some joy on the vocalisation front, when a close encounter with a Whitethroat prompted both a burst of song and a somewhat varied selection of calls: