16th April

A stiffer north-easterly did the trick today and although the skies were still mainly clear there was big improvement in migrant numbers and variety. A Hoopoe that showed up at Suckthumb Quarry stole the show rarity-wise, whilst a Garganey through off the Bill, a Garden Warbler at Southwell, a Swift over Blacknor, a scatter of at least 4 Whinchats and an Arctic Tern in Portland Harbour were all also additions to the year-list. Migrants were surprisingly patchily distributed, with hot-spots such as the Obs garden/hut fields area very busy with activity but other areas almost devoid of interest; in the Bill/Southwell area Willow Warblers were overwhelmingly dominant and numbered a good 300, but most other expected species put in appearances with 10 Redstarts and 2 Firecrests (1 a newcomer) of particular note; elsewhere, a Brambling at Perryfields was a nice late record. It was also conspicuously busier overhead everywhere, with House Martins outnumbering Swallows at times, and a Merlin and half a dozen each of Yellow Wagtail and Tree Pipit of interest at the Bill. Sea passage was varied rather than spectacular, with the best of the bunch being 10 Black-tailed Godwits and 2 Arctic Skuas off Chesil and another Arctic Skua off the Bill.

Immigrant moths included 3 Diamond-back Moth and a Silver Y at the Bill and a Dark Sword Grass at Cheyne, whilst a Scorched Carpet was an infrequently caught species from the Sweethill moth-traps.

Three Red Admirals passing through at the Bill had the look of newly arrived immigrants, whilst at least 2 Clouded Yellows were at the Bill.

Hoopoe, Willow Warbler and Redstarts - Suckthumb Quarry, Portland Bill and Southwell, 16th April 2015 © Martin Cade (Hoopoe and Willow Warbler) and Debby Saunders (Redstarts)