6th April

After a crystal-clear night when there were at times plenty of migrants on the move (we'll give a fuller report on Nick Hopper's latest overnight sound recording escapades tomorrow, but for the time being it's worth mentioning that in one 9 minute spell at 8pm yesterday evening he logged 81 Redwings passing over the Obs) it wasn't too much of a surprise when dawn produced a nice flurry of phylloscs dropping in very briefly at the Bill. Late risers would be forgiven for being disbelieving, since pretty well all of the 400 or so Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs (they were back to almost level pegging today) that touched down were gone within an hour; Wheatear also topped a three figure total, whilst odds and ends of variety around the south of the island included 2 Redstarts and singles of Short-eared Owl, White Wagtail, Tree Pipit, Black Redstart, Fieldfare and Ring Ouzel. In increasingly warm conditions visible passage featured strongly but was tricky to quantify with birds passing on a very broad front. Hirundines and Meadow Pipits dominated but better quality came in the form of a Red Kite over the Bill (and maybe the same individual later over Verne Common) and a Yellow Wagtail over Blacknor; a report was also received of an Osprey over Barleycrates Lane. Sea passage was limited in numbers at least to Common Scoter, with 170 through off the Bill and 38 off Chesil; singles of Red-throated Diver, Red-breasted Merganser and Arctic Skua off the Bill and a Sanderling through off Chesil provided some variety.

Willow Warblers and Sparrowhawk - Portland Bill, 6th April 2015 © Martin Cade

...although a fair few of the phylloscs at the Obs lingered just long enough to be trapped and ringed plenty didn't get down to mist-net height and just whizzed on through over the tree tops; during the periods we were able to watch them 2 likely migrant Sparrowhawks shot through as well.
And from up-island, thanks to Peter Moore Peter Moore's Birding Blog for a photo of the year's first Redstart at Avalanche Road: