23rd March

At the risk of sounding like a broken record today brought forth a light easterly breeze, unbroken sunshine and precious little of great interest. Overhead passage again dominated the numbers with just shy of 1000 Meadow Pipits through north along West Cliffs; the varied back-up selection there included 77 Wood Pigeons, 13 Siskins, 8 Stock Doves, 8 Redwings and the customary assortment of alba wagtails, finches and the like, whilst 4 Greylag Geese headed in the opposite direction and were lost to view well on their way to France. For the most part it was hopelessly quiet on the ground with a lingering Firecrest, a Black Redstart and a brief Brambling the best on offer at the Bill. Routine fare aside, sea passage dwindled away with 8 Red-throated Divers the pick of the migrants off the Bill.

This super-smart male Wheatear was patrolling around the Ferrybridge car park - where it was even bursting into song at times - when we happened to drop in there today en route to Weymouth. Not wanting to look a gift horse in the mouth since we didn't have a blog photograph for today it seemed worth spending a few minutes on and it was at this point we noticed the bird was ringed; dozens of photographs later we hoped we might have captured enough of the characters in the ring number to at least give some idea where the bird had been ringed. On checking the images later we discovered to our astonishment that it was a bird (AFD7940) we'd ringed ourselves as a just-fledged youngster in the Bill Quarry in June 2019. We've told some of this story before but, to cut a longish story short, it's an individual that was the product of an incestuous pairing between a male and one of its own young. We haven't had time to check on the bird's subsequent history but if we remember rightly it was back at the Bill in summer 2020 (where it was holding territory but didn't attract a mate) but there were no reports of it last summer...

...and here's this individual or its sibling fresh out of the nest back in June 2019 © Martin Cade:

Moth happenings have been entirely underwhelming so far this year so a Red Sword-grass from the Obs moth-traps this morning is worth a mention - this former great rarity is now just about annual here although the origin of these occasional arrivals remains obscure © Martin Cade: