20th April

Another gloriously hot and sunny day with the bonus of an unexpected flurry of migrants. Wheatears staged a strong arrival with at least 150 at the Bill, where 120 Willow Warblers and 30 Chiffchaffs made up the bulk of the rest of the numbers on the ground and Swallows - along with the first 2 Swifts of the spring - were moving through steadily overhead; 8 Whinchats, 5 Redstarts, 3 each of Yellow Wagtail, Lesser Whitethroat, Redpoll (including a Mealy Redpoll) and Bullfinch, 2 each of Tree Pipit and Siskin and singles of Pied Flycatcher and Continental Coal Tit were among the less common migrants featuring there, with singles of Marsh Harrier, Black Redstart and Pied Flycatcher of note at other sites around the centre of the island. Two Mute Swans and singles of Red-throated Diver, Great Skua and Arctic Skua were as good as it got on the sea at the Bill.

A single Clouded Yellow was at the Bill, whilst Holly Blue and Wall Brown were both on the wing for the first time this year.

Singles of Diamond-back Moth and Dark Sword Grass at the Obs and Silver Y at the Grove made up the night's immigrant moth tally, with a Pine Beauty at the Obs a good local record.

As we've mentioned before, having seen all manner of intermediate birds we've never been great fans of splitting the redpolls but today's frosty adult male Mealy-type was as obvious as they come and as far removed as they come from the dowdy Lesser-types that make up the majority of birds trapped at Portland © Martin Cade (in-hand side) and Nick Hopper (in-hand front and in-field):

The ater Coal Tit was seen in particularly bizarre circumstances: whilst watching Wheatears in the Bill Quarry we became aware of the vaguely Yellow-browed Warbler-like calls of what we took to be a Continental Coal Tit high overhead. Assuming that it was an overflying migrant we looked up to try and locate it and discovered it was on the very top of the Bill lighthouse from where it parachuted down - by now in song - onto the chimneys of the lighthouse cottages; it continued to alternate between these two perches, sometimes also landing on the window ledges of the lighthouse tower and still calling and singing, for a couple of minutes before making off north © Martin Cade:

Redstart, Pied Flycatcher and Clouded Yellow from today © Mark Eggleton:

Lulls in the flow of visible migrants moving along West Cliffs can always be spent keeping your hand in at flight photography © Nick Hopper: