20th April

The pleasures of fieldwork undertaken in the calm and warmth of yesterday were in marked contrast to the discomfort heaped on today's workers of bush and shore by a blasting, cold easterly that had sprung up overnight. Rewards-wise, the day was something of a poor man's version of yesterday: there was a decent sprinkle of grounded migrants and visible passage was at times impressively strong but numbers and variety fell far short of yesterday's excesses. Among the routine migrants around the centre and south of the island 3 Ring Ouzels, 2 Cuckoos, 2 Pied Flycatchers, a Black Redstart and a Firecrest provided the best of the quality, whilst a good spring total of 11 Siskins through along West Cliffs were the pick of overhead passage. There were high expectations for the sea but in the event passage was very subdued: 37 Whimbrel, 20 Bar-tailed Godwits, 2 Great Northern Divers and singles of Red-throated Diver, Red-breasted Merganser and Arctic Skua passed through off the Bill, whilst Chesil didn't manage much more than 30 Black-headed Gulls, 24 Whimbrel and a lone Red-throated Diver; another 30 Bar-tailed Godwits, along with small numbers of other expected waterfowl and waders, pitched in at Ferrybridge.

A single Harbour Porpoise passed by off Chesil.

Shelduck, Whimbrels, House Martin and Cuckoo - Ferrybridge and Portland Bill, 20th April 2016 © Pete Saunders (Shelduck) and Joe Stockwell joe-stockwell.blogspot (Whimbrel, House Martin and Cuckoo)

The highlight of our little evening seawatch off Chesil - there weren't any birds! - was this passing Harbour Porpoise:

...whilst mulling over whether we'd ever actually featured an image of a porpoise on the blog/website before this (they're surprisingly infrequent/overlooked in these waters) we stumbled across the 3 Mallards that have been roaming around Portland Harbour/Ferrybridge in recent weeks, which set us wondering whether even they'd featured before this - surely not two photo firsts for the blog in one evening?