4th May

A day that posed more questions than it answered: after a calm, often foggy night it was no surprise to find grounded migrants in short supply at dawn but, bearing in mind the relatively poor weather showing up on the weather charts over the near Continent, it came as quite a shock when the heaviest hirundine passage of the spring developed later in the morning. A sample couple of hours on West Cliffs returned hirundine totals of 666 Swallows, 205 Sand Martins and 171 House Martins, along with 49 Swifts and a trickle of the likes of Yellow Wagtails; elsewhere, a tardy Woodlark over Ferrybridge at the same time added variety to the mix. As falls go, the tally accrued from the ground wouldn't even have registered but in comparison with yesterday's utter dearth it seemed like a big improvement: Wheatears, Chiffchaffs and Spotted Flycatchers were the most conspicuous arrivals whilst a fair bit of hunting eventually produced a quite varied list of back-up ones and twos of other routine fare. Waders were slightly better represented, even if interest at Ferrybridge didn't get beyond 1 to 3 each of Grey Plover, Sanderling, Bar-tailed Godwit and Whimbrel. The less said about the sea the better: despite the wind freshening and backing into the southeast a lone Great Northern Diver was the best of it at the Bill.

Despite the recording kit detecting Whimbrel passage still ongoing nocturnally, offshore movements by day seem largely to have fizzled out now although there are still a few grounded birds kicking about at Ferrybridge © Debby Saunders: