9th April

Although hardly numerous in any one spot, such was today's quite uniform spread of the early season quartet - Wheatear, Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler - that, all told, there must have been a few dozen of each scattered about the south of the island; additionally, a singing Whitethroat back on territory near Fancy's Farm was an on-cue first for the year, yesterday's Ring Ouzel and Black Redstart lingered on at the Bill and 2 Siskins and a Brambling provided minor interest amongst the constant light trickle of alba wagtails, Swallows, Meadow Pipits and other finches moving through overhead. Sea-wise, the offshore breeze remained unhelpful but 34 Common Scoter, 5 Red-throated Divers, 2 Brent Geese and an Arctic Skua did provide at least some entertainment off the Bill.

Although of no consequence to anyone else, we've always had a stupid little thing going in our mind that today's the last day of what we think of as winter: from our dawn viewpoint on the Obs patio the sun always rises from the sea throughout the 'cold months' and the last date that this happens is about the 9th April (leap years put a spanner in the works so, from one year to the next, we can never remember whether this silly milestone is going to be on the 9th or not!). Today the sun rose partly hidden behind St Aldhelm's Head but for the next few months - summer for us - it'll be rising out of the Purbecks © Martin Cade