24th April

Whilst there's always a danger in talking too soon about such things it does seem that this spring's going a long way toward redeeming the shocker that we endured last year, with the island being favoured with a decent run of migrant arrivals just lately. Despite the presence of a nearly full moon, today saw this pattern continue: Blackcap was the feature species of the day, with more than 200 through at the Bill alone; Wheatear and Willow Warbler both got into the 50-100 range there, whilst most of the other expected migrants at least made the day list even if their numbers were on the low side; an Iceland Gull over Southwell was the pick of the oddities, whilst 2 Grasshopper Warblers and singles of Hobby, Short-eared Owl, Cuckoo, Black Redstart, Pied Flycatcher and Firecrest scattered around the south of the island were the more interesting uncommon migrants. Sea passage didn't really get going in the brisk offshore breeze, but 3 Arctic Skuas and a single Great Skua through off the Bill were worth a mention.

Iceland Gull and Bar-tailed Godwit - Southwell and Ferrybridge, 24th April 2016 © Pete Saunders (Iceland Gull) and Mike Hetherington (Barwit)

...and we can always rely on Martin King to be on the lookout for landscape opportunities, with this evening's sunset being just up his street:

Digressing into the bugs, there's a very nice recent discovery to report from Ken Dolbear: this Honeysuckle Sawfly Zaraea lonicerae that Ken photographed in the Obs garden on 11th April is evidently a first record for Dorset (thanks to Bryan Edwards for ID and status information); interestingly, shortly afterwards Ken found another specimen in his own garden at Easton:

Last, and by no means least, we've been remiss in not mentioning sooner Nick Hopper's most recent night recording session. There have been more quiet nights than not just lately, but 18th/19th April did come up with a project first in the form of two parties of Purple Sandpipers; sadly, both were rather distant so even the loudest part of one of the recordings still only qualifies as the sound equivalent of a photo 'record shot'!:

Singles of Common Scoter and Coot were further notables during the night, but a flock of Dunlin and a single Common Sandpiper were the only other callers.