26th April

With scarcely a cloud in the sky from dawn 'til dusk even our much-loved northeasterlies couldn't work their magic today and the supply of grounded migrants dipped significantly. That said, it wasn't exactly birdless on the ground, with the Bill area returning totals of 100 Willow Warblers, 50 Wheatears, 20 Chiffchaffs, 7 Whinchats, 5 Blackcaps, 3 Redstarts, 2 Yellow Wagtails and singles of Redshank, Black Redstart, Ring Ouzel, Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler and Garden Warbler; another Ring Ouzel and a Grasshopper Warbler at Tout Quarry were the best of the rest elsewhere. Overhead passage didn't really ever get going: a steady if unspectacular flow of Swallows was maintain all day but little else looked to be making use of the seemingly perfect conditions. The sea demanded constant attention, as much in expectation as anything else: the season's first Pomarine Skua through off the Bill was much appreciated but the day's principal interest concerned a short, sharp movement of 650 Bar-tailed Godwits there during the evening; further day-totals included 161 Common Scoter, 159 Whimbrel, 79 Bar-tailed Godwits (before the evening rush), 8 Arctic Skuas and singles of Red-throated and Great Northern Divers.

Just as it was looking like we wouldn't get a 'Barwit day' this year so a decent little passage developed this evening when c650 passed through off the Bill in 90 minutes. It's hard to think of another migration event that involves birds being seen so poorly that as individuals they're not even remotely close to being identified to species level and yet as an almost amorphous, smoke-like flock at five miles range and moving at 70mph (...that's a wild guess but it really does look like they're seriously motoring) they're an instantly identifiable and fantastically compelling spectacle © Martin Cade: