17th April

With the Easter weekend having hitherto been a slow-burner at best there was quite a need for an injection of excitement that duly arrived in the form of a whopping fall around the centre and south of the island. Under partly cloudy skies and with no more than the lightest of northwesterly breezes conditions were perfect for getting amongst the birds at the Bill, where 500 Willow Warblers and 150 each of Wheatear and Blackcap made up the bulk of the numbers on the ground and all three routine hirundines were moving through in quantity; far from extensive coverage of the southern half of the island returned scarcer migrant totals of 25 Redstarts, 23 Pied Flycatchers, 18 Grasshopper Warblers, 5 Yellow Wagtails, a Grey Wagtail, a Tree Pipit and a Firecrest. The only coverage reported from points northward was of Ferrybridge, where 7 Whimbrel, 2 Mallard and a Common Sandpiper were of note. The sea got some attention, with 2 Red-throated Divers and singles of Great Skua and Arctic Skua logged at the Bill.

Excepting the constantly moving carpet of Willow Warblers - a spectacle we're usually lucky enough to witness several times each spring - the sight of the day had to be the wealth of male Pied Flycatchers exhibiting themselves in multiples in just about every patch of suitable trees that were visited © Pete Saunders:

The sound of the morning was undoubtedly the reeling of multiple Grasshopper Warblers, with 13 counted around the Bill area and at least 5 more elsewhere; Richard Newton recorded this one singing beside the Obs garden: