17th April

Portland was very much an island of two halves today - pick the wrong one and you were in for real dud of a day but those that made the right choice were treated to the best fall of the spring to date. The Bill was the poor relation with a pea-soup fog seeing to it that birding was a largely fruitless enterprise; from Southwell northward, however, the sky was clearer and migrants made landfall in quantity. Widespread coverage of the usual up-island hotspots returned minimum totals of 300 Willow Warblers and 250 Blackcaps on the ground and some hundreds of hirundines, Meadow Pipits and finches through overhead; further variety included several dozen each of Wheatear, Whitethroat and Chiffchaff, 14 each of Redstart and Grasshopper Warbler, 3 Sedge Warblers, 2 Whinchats and singles of Swift, Reed Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat and Pied Flycatcher.