14th March

In conditions that made it feel very much like we'd finally seen the back of winter there was a flurry of appropriate interest that included spring firsts in the form of a Firecrest trapped at the Obs, a Reed Bunting at the Bill and a party of 3 Red Kites that headed south over the Bill before leaving high out to sea - two were lost to view still heading directly towards France, whilst the third individual chickened out and was last seen heading towards Purbeck. Further seasonable fare at the Bill included 4 Chiffchaffs, 3 Wheatears and a Brambling on the ground and a trickle of Meadow Pipits, alba wagtails and a Siskin overhead. It was almost a little too calm for the seawatchers, with 32 Common Gulls, 24 Common Scoter, 13 Mediterranean Gulls, 6 Red-throated Divers, 5 Manx Shearwaters and singles of Great Northern Diver and Great Skua the pick of the combined Bill/Chesil totals. Singles of Red-necked and Black-necked Grebe were still in Portland Harbour.

After their disastrous showing last autumn when only two were trapped and ringed at the Bill we can but hope that today's on cue arrival proves to be the first of a few Firecrests this spring © Martin Cade:

With no overwintering Reed Buntings this year, today's arrival at the Bill was a certain migrant © Matt Ames: