21st April

The continuing blazing sunshine and unseasonable warmth was very pleasant but, for the most part, it did less for the quality of the birding than it had during the last few days. The notable exception was a Hoopoe that showed briefly at the Bill early in the morning but migrant numbers took quite a tumble and the sea was none too productive. Most of the expected routine migrants made appearances on the day list but none was at all numerous and, the Hoopoe aside, yesterday's Tree Sparrow making a reappearance was about as good as things got both on the land and overhead. Two Great Skuas and an Arctic Skua were the best of the passing seabirds at the Bill.

This morning's Hoopoe at the Bill © Nevil Fowler:

Right on cue, the Ferrybridge Little Terns are beginning to show up for another breeding season © Pete Saunders:

At the end of the evening we dropped in at Radipole to follow up earlier reports of a singing Savi's Warbler there. Apart from being successful this proved to be an unexpectedly entertaining half-hour what with one of our companions having sufficiently compromised auditory abilities that he was, at least for a while, quite unable to hear it and so year-tick it, whilst the other was sufficiently drunk that we had to taxi him to the site to enable him to county-tick it - you couldn't make up a storyline like this! Anyway, despite being rather distant and entirely out of view the Savi's started singing quite well as dusk fell:

It provided a nice comparison with the many migrant Grasshopper Warblers that have been bursting into song around Portland in recent days - Erin made this phone recording of one in Top Fields yesterday:

Although usually described as having a reeling song - and thus inviting confusion with Grasshopper Warbler - to our ears a Savi's sounds a lot more like it's buzzing. Not only is it noticeably lower pitched but the individual notes are so run together as to be barely separable from one another - by the look of our comparison sonogram below it seems that the Savi's was churning out 48 notes/second, whereas the Grasshopper Warbler was only managing 25: