13th March

A howlingly windy day that saw sea spray flinging up over the West Cliffs was perhaps an unexpected day for another Wheatear to appear on the Bill Common and a Willow Warbler in Southwell, only the second bird-day of the year for both species. Even the sea proved slow watching with just a handful of the usual suspects: six Red-throated Divers and two Common Scoters. The harbour numbers have dwindled but three Black-necked Grebes and a Great Northern Diver remain. 

It is remarkable to think that a bird that weighs about the same as your average light bulb can arrive in weather that would trouble a large fishing vessel © Erin Taylor:

And finally, a bit of entertainment from Weymouth. Having spent far too long in our younger years looking at gulls in the area we're always keen to get amongst whatever oddities in that line turn up these days, with a particular desire being trying to get to grips with them in the Weymouth Bay gull roost. We were first introduced to the roost by David Fisher way back in the mid-1970s; in that era it was an at times dauntingly enormous roost that topped out at 25-30000 birds, amongst which the challenge was to find the tiny handful of Mediterranean Gulls present - how times have changed! We'd never seen a Laughing Gull in the roost so have spent the last three evenings grossing out on the individual first seen mid-week at Abbotsbury that's presumbly now feeding inland and flighting in to the Bay at the end of the day. On Thursday evening Brett Spencer did really well to spot it in a very distant part of the roost in semi-darkness but it afforded the sort of views that would have been utterly inconclusive were it not for the knowledge that there was a Laughing Gull around. Yesterday and again this evening it was altogether more satisfactory - the more so for each time being able to find it rather than having it pointed out. We've been particularly fascinated to see what a right little chameleon it is - changing from being fantastically striking in overcast light to being surprisingly easy to pass over if the sun's out. This little compilation of massively zoomed video clips of it at huge range gives a flavour: in the first it's completely overcast, the sun's out in the next series and in the last sequence the sun's set but it's still relatively cloudless overhead © Martin Cade: