22nd April

Most people's idea of a thoroughly enjoyable day probably wouldn't involve damp and drizzle from dawn 'til late afternoon, having wet feet all day or needing two coats to stave off the effects of both a cold and the cold, but those minor hardships were more than compensated for by the quality of today's birding. Although variety wasn't really that great, an ongoing arrival of Willow Warblers that had presumably left the Continent in decent conditions before being downed by what greeted them on the South Coast provided spectacle enough; in the absence of full coverage the only hint at numbers came from the Bill where there was a minimum of 300 but likely far more, whilst cursory looks elsewhere suggested the fall was island-wide. Back-up fare included small numbers of many of the expected common migrants along 3 Lesser Whitethroats, a Grasshopper Warbler and what's now a rather late flurry of Goldcrests at the Bill and the first Spotted Flycatcher of the year at Southwell; lingering singles of Short-eared Owl and Firecrest also remained at the Bill. Seawatching was never likely to be too productive but did come with 73 Whimbrel and 44 commic terns off Chesil and a Great Skua off the Bill.

Spotted Flycatcher - Southwell, 22nd April 2016 © Pete Saunders