24th March

 A bright, clear and beautiful day didn't do much to down the migrants but a good species total was still amassed. Chiffchaff totals were down on the last few days with 60 birds recorded and 23 trapped. Wheatear numbers were also down with just 36 birds. However, the star of the show came from the continued increase in Black Redstart numbers with 11 birds around the coast including an excellent adult male (see below). The Moorhen was once again showing in Culverwell and a Moorhen was also recorded over the Obs last night at 23:09. In the garden the crest movement had slowed to a trickle with just three each of Goldcrest and Firecrest, a pair of Redwings left the garden early and the highlight came from a trapped Water Rail. The sea produced 42 Common Scoter, a lone Red-throated Diver, a pair of Mediterranean Gulls and a pair of Sandwich Terns.

Elsewhere on the island there was a Ring Ouzel in Boradcroft quarry, a Sandwich Tern in Portland Harbour and a Wheatear at Ferrybridge.

The brilliant Black Redstart in the lower admiralty was showing off for a good portion of the morning © Roger Hewitt:

 The Water Rail trapped in the garden was obviously on the move weighing a whopping 164g (about 30g heavier than average) and was covered in fat, it would be amazing to know where he ends up © Martin Cade:

The improvement in the weather saw plenty of visitors scouring the north of the island for Large Tortoiseshells. Evidently most was unrewarded but we have seen photos of two different individuals that fortunate observers did jam into at various times; this one was at Kingbarrow Quarry videograb © Richard Donovan:

Last night's nocturnal recording session at the Obs was our busiest so far this spring; that shouldn't be taken to mean it was anything special but there was considerably more to tap into than there had been in the last few weeks when we've either contrived to sample on some pretty dud nights or there just hasn't been anything moving. Redwings featured nicely for a while - with 104, 66 and 21 calls in each of the hours after we started at 9:15pm - although thereafter they tailed right off. A few other seasonable thrushes and a lone Golden Plover were also logged, along with a nice close Moorhen:

At dusk we popped over to Lodmoor to see if any Bitterns took advantage of the first clear sky for a few days to depart towards their breeding sites. In the event one bird did oblige, even if its performance was a tad sub-standard in as much as it wasn't calling as frequently as we've sometimes heard in the past - that said, it was a great spectacle to watch it towering up into the gloom and listen to the calls get progressively fainter as it headed away to the east © Martin Cade: