1st April

A pre-dawn deluge might have been hoped to be the shot in the arm that our needy cause required but in the event fell well short of expectations. Whilst quantity might have been deficient quality wasn't, with 2 Cirl Buntings at Barleycrates Lane and a Serin at the Obs delivering on that front; 2 more coburni Icelandic Redwings trapped at the Obs continued the run of records of this local scarcity, whilst 4 Greylag Geese overhead at the Bill come at a time of year that has a historic peak of occurrences here that the optimistic attribute to the occasional passage of birds of non-local origin. The drop of common migrants wasn't a spectacle to behold: 2 Redstarts, a White Wagtail and a Black Redstart dotted around in mid-island were welcome but they were accompanied by, for example, barely more than single figure totals of Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler at the Bill, whilst Wheatears remained crazily few and far between everywhere. The day's clear sky remained all but bereft of diurnal migrants. The sea ticked over in a more productive manner than passage on other fronts, with morning totals from the Bill that included 310 Gannets, 75 Mediterranean Gulls, 66 Common Scoter, 46 Common Gulls, 21 Sandwich Terns, 16 Eider, 11 Red-throated Divers, 6 Arctic Skuas and 3 Little Gulls. Winter fare still about included a Slavonian Grebe in Portland Harbour.

We strongly suspect the recent Serin sightings all involve the same individual, although quite where it goes between its infrequent appearances at the Obs remains to be established © Martin Cade:

Despite being no more than a long range spectacle from the Obs, the flock of Eider were of interest since they were tracked moving along the best part of the length of the Dorset coastline: they took about 30 minutes to cover the 15 or so miles from West Bexington at c30mph; the timings of their next 23 miles until they passed Peveril Point at Swanage were more precisely established and showed they speeded up and covered this leg of their up-Channel passage in 32 minutes at a speed of 43mph (thanks to Mike Morse for the initial heads-up and to James Leaver and Steve Smith for the Peveril details) © Martin Cade:

Another day and two more Icelandic Redwings: quite apart from looking the part these birds were whoppers, with wing lengths of 130mm and 128 mm respectively © Martin Cade: