29th April

A day that fell into a neither one thing nor t'other category, with hints of interest all round but, ultimately, perhaps not the rewards that had sometimes looked to be on the cards. With a substantial block of cloud and rain on the other side of the Channel it was verging on the fanciful to have expected much at all in the way of passerine passage, but in the event there was fair little spread of arrivals everywhere: with Willow Warbler getting to around 100, and Wheatear and Blackcap 50 each, the Bill area had enough birds to check through, even if the quality amongst them didn't get beyond the level of one (or 2?) Cuckoos and a Pied Flycatcher; waders were also on the up, with 60 Dunlin, 50 Ringed Plover and 6 Sanderling at Ferrybridge. Visible passage was far stronger than anticipated but, sadly, wasn't really tapped into in any systematic way; Swallows and House Martins dominated, with another single Hobby among the more interesting extras at the Bill. After yesterday's evening rush there were high hopes for the sea but these were largely thwarted by the wind veering into the north-west: the year's first Balearic Shearwater through off Chesil and at least 20 Manx Shearwaters lingering in Portland Harbour were notable highlights, whilst routine passage off the Bill included more than 1000 Manx Shearwaters, 120 commic terns, 5 Red-throated Divers, 2 Great Skuas and singles of Great Northern Diver, Arctic Skua and Pomarine Skua; the 4 Great Northern Divers and single Black-throated Diver also continued their moult sojourn in Portland Harbour.

Black-throated Diver and Manx Shearwaters - Portland Harbour, 29th April 2016 © Joe Stockwell