31st March

It seems that migrant momentum really has got going, with a nice fair weather drop of arrivals at the Bill through the morning and a decent bit of onward movement elsewhere as the day went on; if anything, visible passage was a let down although it did include an exceptionally early Swift through at the Bill (not quite the earliest ever, but still only the second March record). Clear skies and a chilly northerly breeze often do the trick in spring, and today was no exception with 150 Chiffchaffs, 100 Wheatears, 20 Blackcaps, 10 Willow Warblers and 10 Goldcrests through at the Bill in quick time once the sun got up. Lesser numbers included 7 Firecrests, 5 Black Redstarts, 3 White Wagtails, 3 Siskins, 2 Short-eared Owls, a Grey Heron and a Brambling; whilst 2 more Black Redstarts, another Short-eared Owl and another Firecrest cropped up elsewhere and a single Sanderling dropped in at Ferrybridge (where a Great Northern Diver was still present). Visible passage was something of nothing, with hirundines and Meadow Pipits never getting beyond a disappointing trickle.

A Brimstone in a private garden at Southwell was the first record this year of what's an infrequently recorded butterfly at Portland.

Sandwich Tern and Wheatear - Smallmouth, 31st March 2016 © Joe Stockwell

And amongst the catch of migrants at the Obs it was good to get a 'control' Chiffchaff: