15th April

A day that threatened to be a washout as rain tracking across the Channel took until well into the afternoon to clear through ultimately turned out to be quite rewarding, with decent numbers of common migrants grounded and passing through overhead. The lingering Hoopoe at Suckthumb Quarry could again be relied on to provide some colour on a grey day, whilst a Hawfinch that showed at the Bill just as the rain stopped was a nice spring surprise. A full migrant census wasn't possible in the grim conditions, but from partial coverage it looked like there were well over 100 Blackcaps at the Bill, where Wheatears and both phylloscs were numerous and the likes of 4 Redstarts, 2 Little Ringed Plover and singles of Whitethroat, Whinchat, Lesser Whitethroat and Pied Flycatcher were all of note; elsewhere, 27 Dunlin were new in at Ferrybridge. Odds and ends on the sea included 6 Brent Geese and singles of Red-breasted Merganser and Arctic Skua through off Chesil and a Great Crested Grebe through off the Bill.

A pod of around a dozen Bottle-nosed Dolphins were again off the Bill before leaving to the north off West Cliffs.

Hoopoe and Hawfinch - Suckthumb Quarry and Portland Bill, 15th April 2016 © Steve Carey stevecareybirdphotography (Hoopoe), Duncan Walbridge (Hawfinch settled) and Martin Cade (Hawfinch flying)

...the Hawfinch was extremely vocal, uttering its quite Robin-like ticking pretty well all the time when it was zooming around overhead: