18th April

The gods haven't been kind just lately when it comes to bringing together the many variables required to drop quantities of migrants at Portland, but today everything gelled just perfectly and we finally  caught up on a lot of the action we've been missing in recent weeks. A belt of rain arriving from over the Channel cleared to the north early in the hours of darkness and left in its wake nice heavily overcast conditions that dropped birds both overnight and throughout the day. On the ground Willow Warblers dominated, with 350 at the Bill alone; Blackcaps numbered 100 there, whilst Whitethroats staged their first good arrival of the spring and totalled a good 50. Among an almost complete suite of other routine mid-April fare all-island totals of 20 Yellow Wagtails, 5 Pied Flycatchers, 3 Grasshopper Warblers, a Nightingale and a Ring Ouzel were of particular note. Overhead, hirundines featured strongly with Swallows likely topping 500; 2 Hobbys were the best of the rest. The sea got plenty of attention and a steady if unspectacular passage included 258 commic terns, 8 Great Skuas, 6 Red-throated Divers and 2 Arctic Skuas.

Pied Flycatcher, Garden Warbler and Whitethroat were among the migrants dropping in at Sweethill © Debby Saunders: