4th April

It was a lovely day to be out birding and some pretty comprehensive fieldwork revealed by far the most varied selection of migrants to date, with plenty to see on the ground, over the sea and overhead. On the ground Redstart (singles at the Bill, Sweethill and the Verne) and Grasshopper Warbler (in a private garden at Southwell) were firsts for the year and the pick of a fair arrival otherwise dominated by the two phylloscs that were reported to be particularly numerous around the north of the island; at least 4 lingering Firecrests, a Snipe and a White Wagtail were also of note. Overhead, 2 Reed Buntings were also new for the year, with Sand Martin, Swallow and Linnet all reaching three figure totals amongst the day-long trickle of other arrivals. Variety was the chief reward from the sea: the Common Scoter tally reached 200, with the wader selection off Chesil including 9 Dunlin, 3 Grey Plover, 2 Sanderling and singles of Little Ringed Plover and Knot, whilst the Bill chipped in with, amongst others, 19 Red-throated and a single Black-throated Diver, 3 Arctic Skuas and 2 each of Shoveler, Red-breasted Merganser and Arctic Tern.

One of the day's Chiffchaffs enjoying the sunshine and warmth at the Bill © Geoff Orton:

Another routine capture of an already ringed bird - this Willow Warbler trapped at the Obs this morning was first marked as a departing youngster at a staging site on Salisbury Plain in August 2021 - gives us a chance to have a look at another of our recently compiled ringing recovery maps...

...not surprisingly, since they've been handled in greater numbers than anything else at Portland, we have a lot of Willow Warbler recoveries on our books, The map of these recoveries is one we need to work on to try and allow viewers to better see the wood for the trees as it's easy to miss amongst all the random migrant movements all sorts of other interesting facets - however, more on that another day © Martin Cade: