23rd April

An overnight about-turn by yesterday's cloud and damp that was just clearing to the south as dawn broke didn't look to be an encouraging scenario migrant-wise, but in the event there was a fair spread of variety even if numbers were nothing to shout about. Being a late April weekend the Bill area got saturation coverage which returned totals on the ground that included 75 Blackcaps, 40 Wheatears and 25 Willow Warblers by way of numbers and 4 Redstarts, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 2 Pied Flycatchers and singles of Short-eared Owl, Yellow Wagtail, Whinchat, Black Redstart, Ring Ouzel, Grasshopper Warbler, Reed Warbler (the first of the year), Firecrest and Corn Bunting by way of better quality. Passage overhead was very subdued, although a Marsh Harrier that passed by out to sea was of interest. The sea highlight was the first 14 Black Terns of the spring through off the Bill amongst a total of 127 commic terns; morning passage there included little more than 14 Whimbrel, although the day's numbers did get a late boost from an evening movement of 450 Manx Shearwaters.

The first Small Blue butterflies of the year were on the wing at Bottomcombe railway cutting.

A party of at least 10 Bottle-nosed Dolphins spent most of the day off East Cliffs at the Bill.

Yellow Wagtail and Small Blue - Reap Lane and Bottomcombe, 23rd April 2016 © Pete Saunders (Yellow Wagtail) and Ken Dolbear (Small Blues)

...also thanks to Simon Craft for passing us a much better photo last week's Fortuneswell Wood Warbler than the low res version we posted a couple of evenings ago: