6th April

In a fresh south-easterly there were high hopes for the sea today, although ultimately there was perhaps less to show by way of rewards than might have been expected. The Bill and Chesil were well watched with the former only scoring slightly higher total by virtue of longer coverage; the dawn to midday tally at the Bill was 201 Common Scoter, 98 Sandwich Terns, 75 Manx Shearwaters, 10 commic terns, 9 Red-throated Divers, 8 Arctic Skuas, 7 Red-breasted Mergansers, 7 Whimbrel, 4 Puffins (that looked like passing migrants rather than an out-of-the-blue increase in the local population), 2 Garganey, 2 Shovelers, a Black-throated Diver and a Great Skua, whilst a shorter watch at Chesil came up, amongst others, 123 Sandwich Terns, 6 Arctic Skuas, 6 commic terns, 4 Arctic Terns, 3 Mallard and singles of Garganey, Gadwall, Little Gull and Common Tern. An Osprey passed over at the Bill during the afternoon and Swallows were moving in their highest numbers so far this spring (including a brief sample count of 46 in 15 minutes along West Cliffs at the Bill) but grounded migrants remained stubbornly thinly spread, with only Chiffchaffs at all conspicuous; 2 Short-eared Owls, the Green Woodpecker, a Black Redstart and a Firecrest were the only minor oddities at the Bill.

Common Scoters and Red-breasted Mergansers passing the Bill this morning © Mike Trew: 

At the fifth time of asking we finally broke our duck with seeing/photographing an Osprey this spring when this one appeared between the Obs and the Higher Light during the afternoon © Martin Cade:  

The Green Woodpecker was still about but was hardly giving itself up easily © Martin Cade: 

There was a time when singing Greenfinches dominated the spring soundscape at the Obs but their sad demise (...there isn't a single one within earshot of the garden this year) has coincided with the arrival of Pheasants on the scene, with the latter's advertising 'song' and wing-flicking now characteristic sounds of the season © Martin Cade: