16th March

For a week now talk has been turning to the mythical perfect Monday: the forecasts had predicted the stiff westerly that has been battering us for over a month would finally abate and be replaced by a gentle northerly and clear skies - propitious conditions so often in the past. Just for once the reality lived up to expectations. Straight away from dawn, Wheatears were watched coming in off the sea over the Obs patio and soon Chiffchaffs were flycatching from the bushes. A sweep of the Obs recording area revealed a Wheatear tally of 125 (although the true figure was likely far higher as birds were passing through rapidly), Chiffchaffs were the most numerous species ringed with 29 trapped in the garden and a further 67 recorded throughout the obs area. The chat-fest continued as more Black Redstarts emerged and a total of 5 around the Bill were joined by singles at Church Ope, the Verne and Chesil Cove; Stonechats also put in an impressive showing with a conservative tally of 51 reached. Other migrants travelling in lesser numbers included a single Merlin (the first for the year), two Swallows, two White Wagtails, the first 2 Goldcrests of the spring and four Firecrests

The bright, warm day also brought out a few non-avian highlights: 2 Large Tortoiseshells were re-sighted at Church Ope, along with several Brimstones, whilst a further Large Tortoiseshell surfaced at Bottomcombe.

Large Tortoiseshells showed nicely in today's lovely sunshine; this one was at Bottomcombe © Ken Dolbear...

...and two or more were again frequenting Pennsylvania Castle/Church Ope Cove © Martin Cade: