22nd March

More lovely conditions for migration but not so good for anyone wanting to get amongst the migrants that no doubt streamed overhead during the crystal-clear hours of darkness. What precious little did make it to ground level included a scatter of 6 Redwings, 3 Bramblings and a Goldcrest amongst the handful of Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs; a lingering Bullfinch was also still about, as were 9 Purple Sandpipers, 2 Black Redstarts, a Short-eared Owl and a Great Spotted Woodpecker. In seemingly perfect conditions overhead passage was unexpected far slower than had been the case yesterday, with 400 Meadow Pipits and 3 Siskins the best of the morning's offerings on West Cliffs. Some bitsy sea passage included combined Bill/Chesil totals of 43 Common Scoter, 15 Red-throated Divers, 13 Brent Geese, 11 Teal, 6 Sandwich Terns, 5 Pintail, 3 Garganey, 2 Red-breasted Mergansers, a Black-throated Diver and an Arctic Skua.

Not that it sounds like the Sussex and Kent seawatchers need any more Pintail but these 5 that headed high east over Ferrybridge this morning no doubt bolstered their totals still further sometime this afternoon © Pete Saunders:

Garganey are notorious for providing some peculiar encounters at Portland and this morning's drake that we fluked from Pulpit Rock was no exception: in contrast to most moving waterfowl that head east up-Channel at this time of year this bird flew in from the south and looked for a moment like it might land amongst some auks before it shot off north gaining height all the time - by the time it disappeared from view in the vicinity of the auk colony it was already at clifftop height and had anyone been vismig-ing high up on West Cliffs it looked a lot like it'd have flown past them at eye-level! © Martin Cade: