11th March

A very welcome, half-decent flurry of migrants to entertain the weekend visitors today with a few new grounded arrivals and the first strong northbound push of Meadow Pipits overhead. In a brisk easterly the West Cliffs were the place to be for the numbers, with a sample 75 minute count at the Bill returning totals of 1230 Meadow Pipits, 13 Pied Wagtails, 11 Linnets, 7 alba wagtails, 2 Chaffinches and singles of Grey Wagtail and Goldcrest, whilst earlier an obvious eastbound movement of Carrion Crows - of uncertain origin and destination - totalled 34; similar numbers and variety of passage over Blacknor included in addition 4 Skylarks. The first 3 Wheatears of the season were always going to steal the show on the ground at the Bill, but 120 Starlings, 2 each of Goldcrest, Firecrest and Chiffchaff, and a single Golden Plover added interest there. Seawatching at the Bill came up with 9 Common Scoter, 6 Red-throated Divers, 4 Mediterranean Gulls, a Curlew and a Sandwich Tern.

We're not sure how many Barn Owls are about around the south of the island at the moment but there continue to be regular performances by one and sometimes two at Southwell and at least one at the Bill; this one was at Southwell this evening © Pete Saunders:

Whilst we await the return of the last of the ever dwindling population of Portland Puffins - this is a bit of a 'fingers crossed' event here since there does seem to be a painful inevitability about the fact that one of these years they're not going to come back - we were surprised to receive a call from Trevor Owens this morning reporting that he'd picked up a Puffin that he'd watched getting washed ashore on the Preston Beach in Weymouth. Despite our experience of such events being that they almost inevitably end in tears since the hapless birds usually have something so profoundly wrong with them that they eventually succumb, we thought we ought to make the effort and collect it to see if anything could be done. Puffin records in this area anywhere away from the Bill or occasionally off Chesil are really unusual so, as unlikely as it seems, it would be nice if this bird does manage to pull through © Martin Cade: