May the 4th (be with you)

The long-awaited first really decent fall of the spring came with a bang today courtesy of some pre-dawn showers and a stiff and chilly northeasterly breeze; the total of 240 birds trapped at the Obs and Culverwell reflected the wealth of migrants that kept the weekend fieldworkers more than entertained. Willow Warblers made up the bulk of the tally, with 250 at the Bill alone, whilst it was also a good day for Wheatear, Whitethroat, Blackcap, Garden Warbler and Spotted Flycatcher, each of which exceeded 60 there; Whinchat topped 40 and Sedge Warbler 25, whilst nice supporting totals included 12 Lesser Whitethroats, 4 each of Wood Warbler and Pied Flycatcher, 3 Turtle Doves and singles of Cuckoo, Grasshopper Warbler and Brambling.

There were great looks at Whinchats to be had today...


...including several of both sexes in the hand © Martin Cade




A couple of the day's Wood Warblers - trapped at the Obs © Martin Cade and in the field at Southwell © Debby Saunders



Portland seems to have bucked the trend of a national decline in Spotted Flycatcher numbers - for whatever reason we've been treated to some good years for migrants just lately with today's total being really high for so early in the season © Pete Saunders: