17th April

Wow, that was a pretty monumental day, with a whopping fall-out of migrants that was right up there with the best ever recorded at Portland. Grasshopper Warblers reeling everywhere as the calm and heavily overcast dawn broke gave an instant feel for what might be about to unfold and it was quickly apparent that the southern half of the island was carpeted in Willow Warbler and Blackcaps - estimates of 3000 and 1500 respectively were arguably very conservative since birds were literally pouring northwards in an uncountable stream over a broad front for several hours. The Grasshopper Warbler tally was an impressive 35, whilst the wide range of back-ups totals included 125 Wheatears, 40 Whitethroats, 28 Sedge Warblers, 25 Redstarts, 11 Ring Ouzels, 10 Yellow Wagtails (including a very freaky-looking Blue-headed x something southeastern hybrid), 10 Song Thrushes, 8 Whinchats, 5 Reed Warblers, 3 Turtle Doves, 3 Pied Flycatchers, 2 or more Hoopoes, 2 White Wagtails, 2 Black Redstarts, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 2 Firecrests, a Short-eared Owl and a Redpoll. A strong visible passage of hirundines was ongoing throughout but, not surprisingly, escaped full attention and quantification; 2 Ospreys in quick succession also arrived in off the sea at Chesil. The sea was well-watched and also quite rewarding, with 280 Common Scoter, 47 Whimbrel, 7 Red-throated Divers, 4 Teal, a Great Skua and an Arctic Skua through off the Bill, and 321 Common Scoter, 94 Whimbrel, 84 Bar-tailed Godwits, 6 Red-throated Divers, 3 Red-breasted Mergansers, 2 Tufted Ducks, 2 Little Ringed Plovers, 2 Arctic Skuas, a Black-throated Diver and a Great Skua the pick of a typically more varied selection off Chesil.

The sound of the day...

...and the sight of the day © Martin Cade: