22nd April

A somewhat lower key day than the last few, with a substantial blocking belt of rain in the Channel looking likely to have diminished the incoming flow of migrants. Willow Warblers did get through in plenty, with perhaps 250 at the Bill, but there were declines in both variety and number of other arrivals both on the ground and overhead; the likes of Redstarts and Whinchats were still represented but the total of just 30 Wheatears and 25 Blackcaps logged at the Bill reflected this general drop in quantity. The pick of the less regulars were singles of Little Egret, OspreyLapwing, Ring Ouzel, Black RedstartGrasshopper Warbler and Pied Flycatcher scattered around/over between the Bill and Reap Lane. Fairly constant attention was given to the sea, with 14 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 10 Arctic Skuas, 4 Eider, 2 Red-throated Divers, the season's first 2 Pomarine Skuas and a Pale-bellied Brent Goose through off the Bill and 1 of the 2 Pomarine Skuas through off Chesil. A Pale-bellied Brent Goose - the same individual as at the Bill? - dropped in at Ferrybridge where there were also 29 Bar-tailed Godwits and 3 Whimbrel.

On the premise that every view of a Pomarine Skua is a good view then this afternoon/evening's duo were great even if they were far enough out from the Bill tip to look a lot better through a 'scope than they did through a camera lens...

...Manx Shearwaters have been notably low in numbers in what's customarily a really good time for them so a three figure total at the Bill this evening was welcome © Martin Cade:

Black Redstart and Whitethroat at Sweethill today © Nick Stantiford:

Today's snippet of esoteric rubbish concerns Redstarts since we just happened to catch nice examples of both age classes over the last couple of days and their ageing is something that often seems to catch out even experienced ringers; besides, given a good view it's also something that's perfectly visible in the field so can be checked out by 'ordinary' birders...

...Although superficially very alike, the most important bit to check out that's always different is the colour of the edges - not the tips - of the outer greater coverts: blue-grey in an adult and buffy-brown or paler in a first-summer; if you look closely the first-summers will always have one or two blue-edged feathers right on the inside of the tract - these are adult pattern feathers grown during the partial post-juvenile moult last early autumn at a time when the adults would have been moulting this whole tract and so don't end up with a discontinuity between two ages of feathers. There are other more subtle differences, some of which are visible in these photos, see which ones you can spot © Martin Cade: