7th April

With the seasons looking to have skipped spring and moved straight into high summer it was no surprise that grounded migrants were again at a premium on a day of cloudless skies and blazing sunshine. There was a light spread of both phylloscs and a handful of Blackcaps everywhere but Wheatear failed to register on the tally and only 2 Short-eared Owls and a Whimbrel provided any other interest at the Bill. Visible passage was lighter than might have been expected but did include a steady trickle of Swallows through at the Bill where a lone Tree Pipit also passed over. Although the breeze had backed into the east it was so light that sea passage didn't really get going: 48 Common Scoter, 7 Red-throated Divers and 2 Shelducks passed through off the Bill during the morning and 6 Teal, 2 Shoveler and a Red-throated Diver were becalmed and settled off Chesil during the evening.

In a twist to the Suckthumb Quarry Vagrant Emperor saga notification was received of a female having been seen briefly there yesterday; yesterday's other sighting had been of a male, as was the individual first reported there on Wednesday. Regular searches of the site today drew a blank.

It's got to the time of year when fly-by Shelducks are quite frequently seen off the Bill and Chesil - the majority of these sightings seem to relate to the wanderings of local breeders from the harbour breakwaters © Keith Pritchard:

For most of the duration of our evening seawatch we'd assumed that the small flock of silhouetted, becalmed ducks close inshore off Chesil but hundreds of metres to the west of us were going to be scoter but as they drifted slowly nearer we begun to appreciate that they were of two different sizes - and on shape alone the bigger ones had to be Shoveler. Having seen a group of Garganey in similar circumstances in the past we optimistically decided that the smaller ones were likely to be that species and as such would make a nice photo for the blog - it necessitated a knackering trudge along the shingle until we were way past the Little Tern colony before their true identity could be resolved as Teal! © Martin Cade: