16th April

A day of oddities and sea passage rather than quantities on the land. In an onshore breeze and fair conditions until late in the afternoon when it clouded up the Hoopoe lingered on at the Bill, a Hawfinch passed over there, the Green Woodpecker stopped in at several spots whilst undertaking yet another lap of the island and an unseasonable Sooty Shearwater lingered for a while off the Bill. The very thin scatter of routine migrants at the Bill included the season's first Garden Warbler and singles of Golden Plover, Ring Ouzel, Black Redstart and Firecrest. Seawatch tallies were dominated by an unquantified total - well into the hundreds - of Manx Shearwaters milling or heading in either direction off the Bill; later a more concerted eastbound movement developed that included 150 through off Chesil. Gulls were also on the move, with 163 Kittiwakes and 76 Common Gulls through off the Bill during the morning and a movement - to roost? - of mainly Herring Gulls off Chesil during the evening that included an Iceland Gull; other sea totals from the day included 11 Eider, 8 Whimbrel, 8 Great Skuas, 6 Red-throated Divers and an Arctic Skua through off the Bill and 10 Eider settled off Chesil.

The official record has it that Sooty Shearwater has been recorded in every month of the year off the Bill although we wouldn't mind betting that a straw poll of informed observers in the modern era would have revealed more than a little scepticism about the veracity of the single records for the months of March, April and May, all of which date from the 1960s and 70s and none of which have photo-documentation. Well, April can now be knocked off the list of dodgy months © Ted Pressey (top photo) and Joe Stockwell (lower photo):

Moving gulls were a feature offshore throughout the day, with a good passage of Kittiwakes and Common Gulls off the Bill © Joe Stockwell...

...and an Iceland Gull through off Chesil © Martin Cade:

One of the Great Skuas passing the Bill © Joe Stockwell:

Once again, the Green Woodpecker was the island rarity of the day on the land © Martin Cade: