23rd March

A welcome little taster of what'll hopefully come our way by way of sea passage in the next few weeks provided today's principal interest. Passage was never heavy but with a freshening onshore breeze looked to be taking place whenever the sea was checked throughout the day, with totals at the Bill that included 102 Common Scoter, 34 Common Gulls, 32 Red-throated Divers, 11 Little Gulls, 8 Teal, 6 Wigeon, 3 Mediterranean Gulls, 2 Shoveler, 2 Canada Geese and singles of Manx Shearwater, Sandwich Tern and Puffin. Beyond a surprise 4 new Firecrests at Culverwell (there was also another lingerer at the Obs) passerines were only very thinly spread: 5 Black Redstarts were also at the Bill, where Chiffchaffs only just scraped into double figures, Wheatears numbered a still measly 6 and a single Swallow passed through overhead. A Merlin at Reap Lane was the only report of note from the land.

A few new Black Redstarts have been popping up in recent days: there were five at the Bill today of which only one was a winterer - this was one of three on the East Cliffs up towards Southwell © Pete Saunders:

This escaped falcon wearing jesses and a bell was first seen along West Cliffs yesterday afternoon and was knocking around at the Bill for a while this morning; it seems to most resemble a Lanner but has some anomalous features so we're guessing it's a hybrid of some sort © Martin Cade: