11th April

After the gloom - literal and metaphorical - of the last few days today was a revelation of sunshine, warmth and migrants. The clearance overhead saw plenty of birds get moving, with grounded totals at the Bill of 150 Chiffchaffs, 100 Blackcaps, 75 each of Wheatear and Willow Warbler, 50 Fieldfares, 30 Redwings, 10 Redstarts, 4 Black Redstarts, 2 each of White Wagtail, Grasshopper Warbler, Whitethroat, Brambling and Redpoll and singles of Ring Ouzel, Mistle Thrush and Firecrest, whilst visible passage included 6 Yellow Wagtails amongst the lightish movement of Meadow Pipits, hirundines and finches; reports from elsewhere included the 'Eastern' Lesser Whitethroat still at Southwell, a Pied Flycatcher at Weston and the Green Woodpecker at Portland Port. On an otherwise good day the sea was the poor relation, with 45 Manx Shearwaters, 41 Common Scoter and a Little Egret through off the Bill and 3 Curlews and singles of Whimbrel, Bar-tailed Godwit and Arctic Tern the best of equally poor numbers off Chesil.

Having handled and seen any number of perplexing 'Heinz 57' redpolls over the years we've always been sceptical of the merit of splitting them into a variety of species/forms. Yesterday's bird turned up in a net today permitting a closer look at it: plumage-wise, there wasn't really much to add to what had been visible in the field...

...and on the face of it you wouldn't have thought it could have been anything other than what would conventionally be called a Lesser; however, it had looked to be noticeably long-winged in the field and, sure enough, the primary projection measured up to be outside the published range for Lesser © Martin Cade