23rd April

A continuation of yesterday's bitter easterlies resulted in a pretty comprehensive clearout on the land but there was more than adequate compensation in the form of both numbers and variety overhead and on the sea. Grounded migrants were really thinly spread and those that were about weren't giving themselves up very easily in the blasting wind, with a Ring Ouzel at Suckthumb, 3 Common Sandpipers at the Bill and 46 Bar-tailed Godwits and 6 Sanderling at Ferrybridge the best on offer. Some good pulses of visible passage were evident along West Cliffs, where several Swifts, 2 Merlins, a Short-eared Owl and a Siskin passed through along with the routine hirundines, pipits and finches. The sea got plenty of attention with eventual joint Chesil/Bill totals that included 291 Whimbrel (252 of these at Chesil), 89 Little Gulls (all but 3 at Chesil), 79 Bar-tailed Godwits, 22 Grey Plovers, 13 Arctic Skuas, 12 Sanderling, 9 Red-throated Divers and singles of Great Skua and Pomarine Skua

There were a few birds about on the ground but it took perseverance to get amongst them; Yellow Wagtail © Erin Taylor and Blackcap © Martin Cade at the Bill:

The grounded Bar-tailed Godwits at Ferrybridge were looking great © Pete Saunders:

Apart from the really good tally of Whimbrel over Chesil the day's sea highlight was a quick-fire movement of 86 Little Gulls there during the evening - this wasn't the sort of event that would appeal to anyone wanting to gross out on views or secure a frame-filling photo but was entirely gripping nonetheless with decent-sized parties of birds scooting through high over the beach and heading away over Portland Harbour © Martin Cade

The most bizarre event of our Chesil watch begun to unfold once we'd got onto a peculiar-looking beige duck seemingly arriving from far out to sea; in the shoddy evening light plumage details were hard to discern even as it neared the shore and we were completely perplexed as to what it was. Once at the shoreline it dodged past the fishing rods of various bemused-looking anglers...

...and proceeded to crash down onto the beach barely 50 metres away from us...

...where it's true identity was revealed - it wasn't the sun-bleached vagrant seaduck that we'd begun to envisage but a crushingly more prosaic heinz 57 domestic duck! © Martin Cade: