30th April

April went out with a whimper rather than a bang, with today's quieter conditions less advantageous for us than they seemed to be for the birds: hirundines and other visible migrants were still a conspicuous feature overhead but grounded arrivals were considerably fewer than they have been of late. The relatively few migrants that did deign to drop included a Jay at Southwell Business Park and a Ring Ouzel at the Bill but the Willow Warbler tally fell to 100 at the Bill where although most of the expected late April migrants were represented there were no particularly notable totals accrued. Hirundines were again storming through in hundreds per hour quantities, with 4 Hobbys, 2 tardy Siskins and a Marsh Harrier of note amongst the taggers along. Once again, the sea didn't live up to its billing with 6 Red-throated Divers, 4 Arctic Skuas, a late Dark-bellied Brent Goose, an Eider and a Great Skua off the Bill and a Little Gull off Chesil the best from plenty of watching.

Our Pom Skuas will come - so far we've only managed a measly two this month - but there have been plenty of Arctic Skuas to keep us entertained whilst we wait © Pete Saunders:

With Dorset seemingly awash with Black Kites the sight of this look-alike dark raptor arriving in off the sea at the Bill this morning - always at long range and right into the sun - caused some panic, particularly as it wasn't hard to imagine it had a forked tail...

...however, a rapid-fire dash after it in the car overtook it before it got to Church Ope Cove and showed it to be a perfectly straightforward Marsh Harrier, albeit a rather dark-headed presumably non-breeding youngster © Martin Cade: