12th April

A funny old day when expectations were on the high side but reality dealt a different hand. A Hoopoe that dropped into the Strips for a while was just the sort of arrival that the southerly airflow had promised but, based on reports from elsewhere, it seems that the dose of heavy rain that set in for a couple of hours after dawn likely deflected an awful lot of common migrants away from us. It wasn't entirely dead on the ground, with the season's first Whinchat the pick of a light scatter around the south of the island that also included low single figure totals of Yellow Wagtail, Redstart, Whitethroat, Pied Flycatcher and Brambling. After yesterday's excesses the sea seemed underwhelming but did eventually return perfectly respectable totals that included 200 Manx Shearwaters, 106 Common Scoter, 28 Sandwich Terns, 22 commic terns, 17 Arctic Skuas, 14 Red-throated Divers, 10 Great Skuas and 4 Arctic Terns.

In days of old when the island was swathed in bird-friendly agricultural crops the Linnet was pretty much of year-round resident, but these days the era of pony paddocks has seen them become almost entirely migratory (or maybe dispersive?). This year the local population seems to have snuck in a little under the radar and suddenly they're everywhere © Martin Cade:

Alongside them today there were some decidedly prettier flashes of red as Redstarts popped up here and there at the Bill and Southwell © Pete Saunders (top) and Martin Cade (bottom):

There still haven't been any really large incursions of Manx Shearwaters into Portland waters this spring but numbers have picked up to the extent that in recent days they're a more of less constant sight offshore © Pete Saunders: