29th April

Yesterday it was the land that required our undivided attention but today interest switched to the sea as a weather front moving up-Channel introduced windier conditions that in turn perked up passage from the pedestrian levels of recent days. Skuas included combined Chesil/Bill totals of 9 Greats, 6 Pomarine and 4 Arctics, whilst Manx Shearwaters - that have hitherto been under strength - staged their strongest movement to date with more than 700 through off the Bill. In increasingly blowy conditions spring staples like waders and terns were all but absent, but back-ups at the two watchpoints included c100 Common Scoter, 2 Red-throated Divers, 2 Black-throated Divers and a Great Northern Diver, along with a good Chesil record of 3 Puffins settled together. After yesterday's excesses the land was very much the poor relation: there were low numbers and poor variety everywhere, with visible passage in particular almost entirely lacking.

The writer of today's post is well known for having been a big fan of social distancing before it was ever trendy, but even he was astonished during his first 'proper' seawatch of the spring (…'scopes are so great these days that seawatching from the Obs is too easy and you get out of the habit of the real thing) to not see another soul during a two and a half hour watch at Pulpit Rock this afternoon - this lockdown business so improves the quality of your countryside experience when the general public aren't about to spoil it for you!

It was a decent enough watch with the skuas the stars of the show...

...whilst routine fare included plenty of the usual suspects © Martin Cade:

There was some productive social distancing to be had on Chesil as well © Joe Stockwell