12th March

With the day's squally showers holding off until nearly teatime - although they did come thick and fast after that - it was only the stiff westerly wind that got in the way of half-decent conditions today. A briefly seen but very convincingly described Long-tailed Skua off Chesil would have been a major surprise for the time of year were it not for the reports of others turning up in far-flung parts of the country - the explanation for quite how a multiple arrival of them reached these shores will make for interesting reading. An Iceland Gull also passed by off Chesil but the day's other reports consisted of just 4 Red-throated Divers and a handful of Lesser Black-back and Common Gulls passing through off the Bill, the 2 Eider still settled offshore, the Merlin still lingering and a light trickle of Meadow Pipits arriving in off the sea through the morning.

This rather fine male Sparrowhawk has been a regular visitor to gardens at Southwell for several years © Pete Saunders: