1st May

Conventional wisdom of the past would have had it that the first wet day after what seems like weeks without rain would have been nailed on for a big arrival of migrants, but it doesn't seem to work like that these days and today's heavy cloud cover and eventual constant drizzle or rain certainly didn't come up with the goods. The day's ringing total was the lowest for nearly three weeks and was an entirely fair reflection on the dearth of new arrivals on the ground, amongst which a Blue-headed Wagtail and a Lesser Whitethroat were the best on offer at the Bill where a lingering Ring Ouzel also remained. Overhead it was a different kettle of fish, with another whopping passage of hirundines that had presumably left France in clear conditions but were then forced down to a very visible height as they approached Portland; sample counts had the passage running at c750 per hour for long periods during the morning; 3 more passing Hobbys were the pick of the rest of the visible passage. The sea again perplexed just as much as entertained, with terns in particular notably few on a date and in conditions that in the past would have been thought reliable for some strong movement; 50 Arctic Terns were of note off the Bill, with 5 each of Pomarine and Arctic Skua, 4 Red-throated Divers, 2 Great Skuas and three figure totals of Whimbrel and Bar-tailed Godwit the foremost constituents of the totals from there and Chesil.

As usual at this time of year, the odd grounded Whimbrels have been a daily feature at the Bill and Ferrybridge just lately - this one was at the latter today © Pete Saunders: