18th March

We can't say we weren't warned - and from the frequency with which flocks of Golden Plovers could be heard moving overhead during the hours of darkness it should have been obvious that something was afoot - but there was still genuine surprise at the substantial accumulation of snow evident around the island at dawn; in fact it kept snowing throughout the morning, although with the temperature creeping up a little by the afternoon the landscape was looking nowhere near as uniformly white by then as it had done earlier. As had been the case during the cold snap earlier in the month, the constituent parts of today's cold weather arrival/passage were hugely different to those observed just a few miles away on the mainland, with Golden Plovers overwhelmingly more numerous than anything else: at least 600 made landfall at the Bill, another 450 were at Ferrybridge and - once the sea was visible, which wasn't until midday when the snow abated - another 120 or so moved east off the Bill. Thrush movements were largely confined to Ferrybridge and then only involved 600 Redwings and 200 Fieldfares (20000 and 16000 respectively were counted moving west today on the West Dorset coast). Grounded Meadow Pipits featured in quantity everywhere but variety at the Bill otherwise didn't extend to much more than 4 Chiffchaffs, 3 each of Teal, Snipe and Firecrest, 2 Wheatears and singles of Ringed Plover, Dunlin and Knot. Odds and ends amongst the similar variety elsewhere included the 'Eastern' Lesser Whitethroat still at Southwell, 2 Blackcaps at Wakeham and singles of Woodcock and Black Redstart at Weston.

From the mainland Portland was only just about visible through the snow flurries © Joe Stockwell:

There was a fairly crisp and even spread at the Bill © Martin King:

Golden Plovers were certainly the feature birds of the day © Martin King...

...with the flock at the Bill including this oddly-plumaged leucistic individual © Martin Cade:

Knots joined the Golden Plovers at both Ferrybridge and the Bill © Joe Stockwell (upper photo at Ferrybridge) and Martin Cade (lower photo at the Bill):

It's pretty hard work being a passerine migrant at the best of times and they could certainly have done without today's events © Geoff Orton (Goldcrest at Easton) and Martin Cade (Wheatear at the Bill):