1st March

In the face a keen and really chilly northeasterly and under a drab sky most recognisable forms of enthusiasm dwindled away in an instant at dawn. After a few hours - and on the cusp of brighter skies materialising - a tiny trickle of incoming Meadow Pipits did develop with a few alba wagtails tagging along; a few dozen pipits were logged from a distance but it looked likely that a concerted watch on West Cliffs would have been rewarded with the first three figure passage of the spring. It otherwise looked to be very quiet everywhere with a Black Redstart at the Bill and a Red-throated Diver passing by offshore all that could be mustered.

We remarked a while ago on the relative paucity of young Mediterranean Gulls this winter and the same comment could be applied to Black-headed Gulls, with last year's youngsters making up a considerably smaller proportion than usual of the winter numbers at Ferrybridge © Pete Saunders:

This Blackcap in a Southwell garden today was the first seen at that particular spot since December but, in the light of a little experience we had last week, we'd caution against taking that as believing it might be a new arrival: with a lot of other indoor and outdoor jobs to get on with at the Obs this winter we'd not even made a ringing attempt there between 8th December and the tail end of last week when one of the first birds trapped turned out to be a Blackcap that had been first ringed on 23rd October and was retrapped once more in late November; we've had the feeders stocked all winter, there have been apples skewered to the bushes throughout but never once have we seen this bird visiting the provisions provided nor had we any suspicion of it being around during the nigh on three months when there were no sightings of it! © Nick Stantiford:

We get the impression that Adders are much scarcer these days than they were a few decades ago but they can still be found in a few favoured spots - this one was making the most of the warm sunshine on Saturday © Andy Mitchell: