12th April

Another day of nice variety with the fieldwork undertaken in lovely warm, sunny and calm conditions. Scarcity-wise, it was something of a re-run of yesterday with a Hoopoe showing up at Suckthumb Quarry (the RN Cemetery bird was also reported once at midday) and an Osprey arriving in off the sea at the Bill; a Serin also made the briefest of appearances at the Obs. The crystal-clear skies didn't look likely to have favoured an arrival of grounded migrants, but there was more than enough to get amongst at the Bill where Chiffchaffs slightly outnumbered Willow Warblers in the phyllosc tally, and 10 Wheatears, 5 Goldcrests, 3 Short-eared Owls, 2 Redstarts, 2 Firecrests and the first Hobby and Sedge Warbler of the year were among the list-padders; elsewhere year-ticks included Cuckoo at Reap Lane, a Whinchat on West Cliffs and Lesser Whitethroats at Suckthumb and Portland Castle, whilst only the second Pied Flycatcher was also at Portland Castle. A sample one hour count of visible passage on West Cliffs came up with 161 Linnets, 148 Swallows, 81 Meadow Pipits and 48 Sand Martins along with lower numbers of a variety of other mainly routine fare. The sea was a distinctly poorer relation than it had been for a couple of days, with nothing moving in numbers off either the Bill or Chesil; 3 Great Northern Divers and a Black-throated Diver were settled in Portland Harbour.

A party of at least 11 Bottle-nosed Dolphins were off East Cliffs for the best part of the day.

The first Large White butterfly of the year was on the wing at the Bill.

Hoopoe, Osprey, Pied Flycatcher and Bottle-nosed Dolphins - Suckthumb Quarry,  Portland Bill and Portland Castle, 12th April 2016 © Martin Cade (Hoopoe video), Mark Eggleton (Hoopoe still and Bottle-nosed Dolphins), Pete Saunders (Pied Fly) and Duncan Walbridge (Osprey)

Also thanks to Anthony Bentley for a photo from the Bill Common last week of what, even allowing for the Heinz 57 varieties of plumage exhibited by our local Rock Pipits, looks likely to be a Scandinavian Rock Pipit:

And finally, another couple of ringing 'controls' - a Willow Warbler from today and a Blackcap from 9th (considering we're not catching anything approaching exceptional numbers of migrants we do seem to have been rather favoured with other people's birds just lately):

Postscript. We weren't trying to make tonight's update an ornithological War and Peace but every time we think we've finished so something else crops up...now it's a Coot that's just flown past the office window!