31st March

There endeth another month, blown out - perhaps rather fittingly bearing in mind how this March has played out - by a 60mph gale and mountainous swells offshore. The only reports were of storm-blown seabirds: 16 Sandwich Terns, 12 Kittiwakes and 3 Little Gulls through Ferrybridge, 22 Fulmars, 4 Manx Shearwaters, 3 Red-throated Divers and a Sandwich Tern through off the Bill and a handful of grounded Lesser Black-backed Gulls everywhere. With no grounded passerine migrants at all reported from the Bill there was no last minute fillip to some pretty dreadful month totals; as an example, our average March ringing totals during the last five years for Blackcap, Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff have been 60, 21 and 240 respectively, this month's totals for those three species are 6, 5 and 98.

Two of the Little Gulls and a Sandwich Tern at Ferrybridge this morning © Pete Saunders:

30th March

A windy but often surprisingly pleasant day with it feeling quite warm in any shelter. The sea was always going to get most attention and always entertained even if the rewards were hardly spectacular. A good movement of 33 Red-throated Divers highlighted but gulls were always a feature, with a steady passage that included 215 Kittiwakes, 80 Common Gulls and 16 Mediterranean Gulls; standard fare for this date such as Common Scoters, Manx Shearwaters and Sandwich Terns all featured but not in worthwhile totals. The land was always hard going in the breeze, with 2 each of Black Redstart and Firecrest the best amongst the handful of Wheatears and phylloscs scattered on the ground at the Bill, where the odd few Swallows passed through overhead. Elsewhere, 25 Brent Geese and 8 Sandwich Terns passed through at Ferrybridge.

Red-throated Divers trundled through offshore all morning, with the majority now in top-notch summer plumage...

...Kittiwakes aside, most of the smaller gulls passing though like these Mediterranean Gulls are now in varying degrees of immature plumage

...however, there are still a few super-smart breeding plumage Common Gulls in the mix © Martin Cade:

Passerine migrants have been in such short supply that it's hardly surprising that this Chiffchaff from a couple of days ago is the first bird that we've handled this year that was bearing someone else's ring - in this case a relatively routine recovery since it was ringed last October in Leicestershire © Martin Cade:

However, its capture does enable us to draw attention to a project we've been engaged in for the last few weeks. It's long been our intention to pull together in one accessible place all of our ringing recoveries and to this end Jodie's been working on how best to present these and has begun to construct interactive maps for each species - the map is zoomable and clickable so give it a try:

29th March

Every cloud has a silver lining and today it was the manufacturers of trench foot remedies that will have done well out of our misfortune in having to endure most variations of dampness known to meteorology.  However, in between the all-enveloping fog that begun the day and the chucking rain that ended it there were enough spells of amelioration that migrants were uncovered, even if none featured in numbers. Firecrests included at least 6 scattered about the Bill and Southwell, a new Black Redstart showed up at the Bill and, as it often does, the rain also dropped wader newcomers in the form of 2 Sanderling, a Little Ringed Plover and a Grey Plover at Ferrybridge; commoner fare even included the odd passing Swallow. A total of 16 Red-throated Divers was a worthwhile return from a sea that was barely visible for long periods.

Singles of Rusty-dot Pearl and Dark Sword Grass made up the overnight migrant tally from the Obs moth-traps.

The new Black Redstart at the Bill © Clare Harrison:

We'd noticed in recent days a few social media postings featuring a ringed Wheatear in residence at Ferrybridge and yesterday Debby Saunders photographed it clearly enough to confirm that it's last year's bird returning there - the full story of this individual that fledged from a nest in the Bill Quarry in 2019 featured in one of our blog posts last March © Debby Saunders:

28th March

We start with the sad news of the passing of two of the very last links with the 'pre-Old Lower Lighthouse' era of Portland birding. Barry Mathews and David Godfrey, who both died last week, were two of the true pioneer Portland birders who'd been active right back into the 1950s when the potential of the island as a migration watchpoint was first being explored. Once the Obs as we know it today had been established and formerly recognised as an accredited bird observatory, both Barry and David served long and distinguished terms as committee members and trustees. Our sincere condolences go out to the families and friends of both Barry and David.

Damp and increasingly turbulent conditions saw the sea get most of the attention today. The rewards weren't exactly fulsome but the feeling was certainly of up-Channel passage gathering a bit of momentum, with 76 Common Scoter, 8 Red-throated Divers, 2 Arctic Skuas and singles of Little Egret, Teal and Caspian Gull through off the Bill and 6 Pintail and 2 different Arctic Skuas through off Chesil. The land did get some attention before the worst of the weather blew in, with 30 Chiffchaffs and several Wheatears and Goldcrests new at the Bill where at least 2 Firecrests lingered on.

Today's small movement of Common Scoter was hopefully the harbinger of things to come in the next few weeks. What we're guessing won't be featuring in this years Channel dash are Great Skuas: time-wise and weather-wise, today looked ideal for a pulse of Bonxies yet not a single one was logged which, taken together with their terrible showing last autumn and complete absence through the winter, suggests that avian flu really has ravaged their population © Martin Cade:

27th March

The improvements in our fortunes have been incremental at best in recent days but today's little uptick was enjoyable nonetheless. The frustration of the day was another subliminal but very likely Alpine Swift that afforded only bin-less views as it shot through over a birder's garden at Southwell. That aside, the spread of common migrants at the Bill included 30 Chiffchaffs, 20 Goldcrests, 10 Wheatears, 5 Firecrests, 3 Willow Warblers and singles of Short-eared Owl, White Wagtail and Brambling on the ground, with a trickle of Lesser Black-backed Gulls, hirundines, pipits and finches through overhead; elsewhere, the Hooded Crow hybrid reappeared, this time at Fancy's Farm. The breeze was a little too offshore to be of much use to the seawatchers, with 3 Shelducks, 2 Red-throated Divers and 2 Sandwich Terns the best on offer at the Bill and Chesil.

An unexpected flurry of migrant moths included singles of Dark Sword Grass and Pearly Underwing trapped overnight at the Obs and a Hummingbird Hawkmoth seen by day in the Obs garden.

Finally, a plea to visiting photographers for some restraint: the various showy Little Owls at the Bill are attracting photographers from far and wide and today, for the second times in recent weeks, a photographer has had to be turfed out from the floor of the Obs Quarry after being discovered right underneath the Little Owl breeding crevice - the birders who discovered him reported to us that he was quite belligerent and reluctant to leave. Quite apart from blatantly ignoring our large warning/prohibition notice, the behaviour of these miscreants risks causing the owls to desert the site and spoiling everyone else's enjoyment of them. In addition to these difficulties at the Obs Quarry it's not been lost on us that several of the recently published photographs on social media of the other well-known Little Owls on East Cliffs at the Bill show one or other of the pair in flight - presumably after they've been flushed by too close an approach; it really would be sensible if photographers also left this pair of owls well alone during the breeding season.

26th March

Better today although without being in any way as rewarding as it could/should be at this juncture: there seems to be an awful lot of migrants that aren't showing up at all considerably later than they'd usually be expected in quantity - where are all the Meadow Pipits that should have been flooding through on a day like today? Today's quieter conditions after a night of heavy rain looked more promising and although variety wasn't too bad numbers were pretty paltry, with only single figure tallies of Wheatear, Blackcap and Willow Warbler at the Bill; Chiffchaffs fared a little better, with perhaps 40 at the Bill, where 2 Goldcrests and a Firecrest were new (the latter joining 2 additional long-stayers), with a further Firecrest at Reap Lane and 2 Grey Plovers at Ferrybridge. Visible passage was close to non-existent, with a single party of 75 Wood Pigeons through over the Grove and a Common Buzzard through over Portland Harbour but no more than a barely perceivable trickle of alba wagtails and Meadow Pipits through over the Bill. Three Red-throated Divers and 2 Manx Shearwaters accounted for what little sea passage there was at the Bill.

Today's Grey Plovers at Ferrybridge and yesterday's White Wagtails at Southwell © Pete Saunders:

We've always got time for a freak of nature and today's new Great Tit trapped at the Obs fitted the bill perfectly - it's clearly not leucistic or of the 'brown' aberration but we haven't read van Grouw (2006) in enough detail to work out whether its peculiar plumage is the result of a mutation or some sort of non-heritable dietary/condition issue. The odd new tits are regular captures throughout March and, although ringing recovery confirmation is sadly lacking, we wouldn't mind betting that most like today's bird are relatively long distance migrants that wintered well away from here and are returning to quite distant natal areas © Martin Cade:

25th March

Still only low single figure totals of common migrants to show for today's efforts but odd morsels of quality amongst them included 3 Firecrests, 2 White Wagtails and a Ring Ouzel dotted about the south of the island; winters still on show included 3 Purple Sandpipers and a Black Redstart. Eight Red-throated Divers passed through off the Bill where the 25 wintering Common Scoter were still in residence.

24th March

Migration really has ground to the halt, with today's continuing and always freshening southwesterlies doing absolutely nothing for us. Almost nothing amongst the handful of migrants on the ground looked to be new in, with singles of Black Redstart and Firecrest the only worthwhiles at the Bill. Three Red-throated Divers and a small passage of Kittiwakes passed by on the sea there.

23rd March

With a blustery morning following an intermittently wet night and the second half of the day knocked out by a substantial band of rain rolling in off the Channel, today was always going to have to go some to set pulses racing and it scarcely even tried. Migrant numbers were pitifully low and looked to consist mostly of lingerers, with single Firecrests at the Obs and Avalanche Road the only ones of note. Eight Red-throated Divers and 3 Manx Shearwaters could just about be made out through the continuing curtain of salt-spray at the Bill.

22nd March

Despite uninspiring conditions - overnight wind and rain that didn't look to have been very helpful on the migration front and left of a legacy of a very rough sea and copious amounts of opaque salt-spray that made seawatching a non-starter - the day was salvaged by the likes of the spring's first Ring Ouzel at the Verne and a continuing presence of half-a-dozen or more Firecrests around the south of the island. New arrivals weren't at all plentiful but with a bit of looking a fair spread of Wheatears, Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs were revealed, amongst which singles of White Wagtail at Reap Lane and Grey Plover at Ferrybridge were of interest. Seven passing Red-throated Divers accounted for pretty well all the sea interest at the Bill.

It doesn't take hungry migrants long to find some of the less salubrious - but for them richly rewarding - venues on the island: this White Wagtail was making itself at home on the veritable manure mountain at Reap Lane © Martin Cade:

An oft remarked-on component of the local breeding population of Rock Pipits are these pseudo-littoralis individuals; we're not sure if it's always the case but many with this look seem to be males - since it was song-flighting and engaged in all sorts of courtship pursuits with its mate this individual we watched this morning was pretty obviously a male. At this time of year the white supercilium, greyish cast to the head and mantle, and pinkish flush to the underparts certainly invite confusion with littoralis, even if their presence as breeding birds here should make them petrosus © Martin Cade:

21st March

Barring a likely Alpine Swift that flew in off the sea at the Bill but couldn't quite be clinched by its sole observer the day again belonged to Firecrests, with at least 5 at the Bill and 4 at Avalanche Road. Other migrants didn't fare too badly, with overnight rain dropping totals of 40 Chiffchaffs, 25 Wheatears, 4 Blackcaps, the season's first Willow Warbler and other singles of Merlin, White Wagtail and Goldcrest at the Bill, along with a good few more of the same elsewhere. The sea belonged to Red-throated Divers, with a decent passage of 35 through off the Bill; considering their good showing more might have been expected from other early movers, but in the event 14 Brent Geese, a trickle of Common Scoter and Kittiwakes, 3 Manx Shearwaters and the first Puffin of the year was all that could be mustered at the Bill.

It looks like there'll be another Barn Owl breeding attempt this year in the traditional spot at the Verne Moat © Andy Luckhurst:

20th March

Wot, still no Alpine Swift? - although fieldwork was severely curtailed by some pretty grim damp and dreary conditions there was still a fair bit of legwork put in traipsing around many a suitable swift location but all to no avail. What was in evidence included a nice little arrival of Firecrests - at least 8 scattered between the Obs and Reap Lane - amongst a good drop of Chiffchaffs. Rather oddly, other grounded migrants looked to be poorly represented with no more than a single figure total of Wheatears at the Bill, where 2 Fieldfares were of minor note; elsewhere, a Black Redstart was at Weston. In some of the few periods of better visibility 2 Red-throated Divers passed through off the Bill.

With flying insects at a premium, many of the Chiffchaffs were reduced to scratching about on the ground for sustenance © Nick Stantiford:

...whilst the normally dapper Firecrests were but bedraggled shadows of their usual dazzling selves - although even in reduced circumstances they lent some welcome colour to the day's otherwise uniform drabness © Martin Cade:

19th March

What proved to be lovely conditions for a Mother's Day drive to Portland for a Cream Tea weren't ever likely to be much cop for those travelling to the island hoping to tap into some early migrants and so it came to pass that today's sunny skies were the undoing of the birders. Two Red Kites did get aloft and strayed all the way out to the Bill but the migrant tally there otherwise consisted of little more than 23 Wheatears, 10 Chiffchaffs and 3 Firecrests on the ground and 2 Sand Martins and a few pipits and wagtails passing overhead; what we must have missed after it all passed overhead without stopping during the hours of darkness was hinted at by the decent tally of 166 Redwing calls logged overnight by the Obs nocmig recorder. Three Red-throated Divers and a lone Manx Shearwater were all that the seawatchers could muster off the Bill.

Once a highly sought-after rare migrant at Portland, Red Kite has been massively devalued by the dumping of umpteen of them all over the British countryside; however, they actually remain surprisingly infrequent on the island, with most of the wanderings of the introduced population being confined to the mainland © Martin Cade:

Small White was on the wing for the first time this year © Martin Cade...

...whilst after their being reduced to considerable infrequency in recent years it's nice that two of the few butterflies seen in recent days have been Small Tortoiseshells © Steve Mansfield:

18th March

A reduced post tonight via the phone app whilst we try and fix a desktop computer issue. 
An underwhelming day that saw the migration momentum of the latter half of the week evaporate despite not too shoddy-looking conditions: a murky dawn followed some overnight rain and by mid-morning  really warm sunshine had broken through. The migrant tally dipped conspicuously with no more than a handful of Wheatears and Chiffchaffs in evidence and nothing much better than 4 Long-tailed Tits, 2 each of Water Rail, Black Redstart and Firecrest, and the lingering Hooded Crow hybrid by way of scarcities at the Bill. Visible migrants hardly featured although an Osprey north at the Bill got a mention on the national news services (if anyone knows the details of this sighting please let us know). Seawatching was hampered by reduced visibility with a passing Teal the only oddity off the Bill. The only other reports concerned an early Whimbrel and the the 4 lingering Eider in Portland Harbour.

17th March

The continuing waft of southerlies did us no harm again today with the first decent push of Chiffchaffs bringing forth a well into three figure total for the island as a whole; Wheatears were also well represented, with 50 spread around the Bill, whilst amongst the lesser numbers at least 3 Firecrests were new today. Five passing Garganey were a first for the year off the Bill where the first sign of concerted up-Channel passage of Common Scoter saw 43 logged.

The first Small Tortoiseshell of the year was on the wing at Church Ope Cove and a lone Dark Sword Grass provided some migrant interest in the Obs moth-traps.

Hawthorn leaves bursting, pollened Chiffchaffs fresh in, a blue sky - everything's good © Martin Cade:

16th March

Plenty of positives again today, with the southerly airflow seeing migrants arrive in decent numbers throughout the south of the island. The constituent parts were much as they should in mid-March, with Wheatear, Stonechat and Chiffchaff accumulating totals of c50, 38 and c20 respectively between the Bill and Weston; Goldcrest and Blackcap were both firsts for the season, with at least 4 of the former and a single of the latter dotted about, whilst the 3 Firecrests logged included 2 new arrivals at Southwell. It was a bit too murky for visible passage to really get going but alba wagtails in particular looked/sounded to be trickling through all day. The sea was again disappointing, with little more than 7 Red-throated Divers, 5 Curlew, 2 Brent Geese and a Grey Plover through off the Bill along with a very light passage of routine gulls.

Tiny but perfectly formed - it's always good to see Goldcrests on the move © Martin Cade:

A good proportion of the Red-throated Divers were in nice summer plumage but the only one that came within camera range for us still wasn't fully coloured-up...

...the Curlews obliged by passing right underneath us at the Bill © Martin Cade:

15th March

The Alpine Swifts still weren't flying for us but in most other respects the outlook suddenly looked a lot rosier as a little flurry of early migrants hinted at passage at last gathering some momentum. Wheatear was the feature bird of the day with a good 50 at the Bill and a likely three figure total for the island as a whole; an overflying Iceland Gull provided some overdue quality at the Bill, where 2 Black Redstarts, 2 Firecrests and a handful of Chiffchaffs were scattered on the ground. Visible passage was far from heavy but did include amongst the trickle of Meadow Pipits and alba wagtails singles of Skylark, Sand Martin and Brambling at the Bill and a Bullfinch at Easton. Despite a promising waft of southeastly the sea was the poor relation with little more than 10 Red-throated Divers through off the Bill; additionally, several Sandwich Terns were dotted about Portland Harbour and Ferrybridge, and the 4 Eider were still in residence at the former.

14th March

Today's dreamy expectation: skeins of Alpine Swifts coursing through overhead; today's brutal reality: singles of Wheatear, Chiffchaff and Firecrest. The season's first Wheatear was much appreciated but the pitifully inadequate selection of back-ups included just the Firecrest of note on the ground, whilst the clear, sunny sky overhead was seemingly bereft of action - where were all the Meadow Pipits, alba wagtails, Linnets and the like that should have been taking advantage of the huge improvement in conditions? The Hooded Crow hybrid was still on show at the Bill, single Black Redstarts were still about the Bill and Southwell, and the 4 Eider were still in Portland Harbour.

After ten months of seeing scabbily-plumaged birds or none at all the sight of a spring male Wheatear is certainly something for sore eyes © Phil Cheeseman:

13th March

A sea day - not that the fierce gale that blew in overnight actually delivered much for those that took the trouble to look. Gull passage continued with 100 Black-headed Gulls through off Chesil and trickles of Kittiwakes, Common Gulls and Lesser Black-backs everywhere. Additionally, single Manx Shearwaters passed by off the Bill and Chesil, a Sandwich Tern was in Chesil Cove, 2 Pale-bellied Brent Geese were over Ferrybridge and Portland Harbour, and 5 Golden Plovers passed the Bill. The land was far too blown out to permit any meaningful migrant hunting.

Kittiwake and Pale-bellied Brent Geese through at Ferrybridge this morning © Joe Stockwell:

12th March

An uptick in the air temperature prompted some migrant movement today, with a fair bit of gull passage offshore, a handful of new arrivals on the ground and, particularly as the morning wore on, visible passage getting going overhead. Gulls provided the bulk of the numbers, with 193 Kittiwakes, 126 Common Gulls, 10 Mediterranean Gulls, 8 Lesser Black-backs and 4 Black-headed Gulls through of the Bill and 186 Common Gulls, 35 Black-headed Gulls and 7 Lesser Black-backs through off Chesil; also on the sea, 155 Gannets, 7 Red-throated Divers and singles of Manx Shearwater and Curlew were additions off the Bill. Grounded arrivals weren't at all plentiful but did include the first Firecrest of the season at the Bill. As might be expected, Meadow Pipits made up the numbers overhead with 48 dribbling in over the Bill but amongst the miscellany of also-rans a Greylag Goose over the Bill and Chesil, and a Woodlark over the Bill were both firsts for the year. The lingering Hooded Crow hybrid was again at the Bill, whilst winterers making the day's tally included 4 Eider and 3 Black-necked Grebes in Portland Harbour and 230 Dunlin and 3 Bar-tailed Godwits at Ferrybridge.

The Greylag Goose over Chesil: never a regular visitor to these parts and at this juncture just possibly of more distant origin than the majority of plastic waterfowl forever doing the rounds of the hinterland © Joe Stockwell

Regular readers of the blog will know we hold Black-headed Gulls in high regard: at the Bill they're scarce enough to never be taken for granted, whilst migrating flocks like these zipping through off Chesil are something we still get excited about seeing © Joe Stockwell:

The Bill Hooded Crow: written off as a duff hybrid but actually a pretty smart bird and nice to have about amongst the run-of-the mill corvids © Martin Cade:

11th March

Our very needy cause wasn't aided by some pretty grim conditions today as swirling drizzle and reduced visibility put off all but the keenest fieldworkers. A Caspian Gull through amongst a small movement of routine gulls off Chesil was a fitting reward for the stalwarts who persevered at that most inhospitable of watchpoints. Elsewhere, 2 Gannets were in Portland Harbour, the Ferrybridge wader totals included 257 Dunlin, 14 Ringed Plovers, 3 Bar-tailed Godwits and a Knot, 20 Common Scoter were still settled off the Bill and the wintering singles of Grey Heron and Black Redstart remained at the Bill and Portland Marina respectively.

10th March

We can only say it how it was: the Hooded Crow hybrid was back at the Bill after its sojourn at Barleycrates Lane, a Redwing dropped in at the Obs and a Black Redstart showed up again at Easton. Rubbish really!

9th March

The arrival of milder air might have been expected to be accompanied by frequent rain and reduced visibility and so it proved, with few opportunities for serious searches for new arrivals. The first Chiffchaff of the season was a welcome newcomer at the Obs but the usually quickly curtailed attempts at  tapping into other movement on land and sea drew a blank.

8th March

Topsy-turvy weather conditions saw the island miss out on snow that set in a few dozens of miles inland but it still felt raw in a stiff easterly at dawn; however, within hours it was mill-pond calm and the temperature had shot up to not far off double figures. In between the day's frequent showers there was some surprisingly rewarding migrant-watching to be had at the Bill, with Lesser Black-backed Gulls - 58 in total - trickling in from the south all day; also in from the south were 50 Wood Pigeons, 26 Meadow Pipits and a Pied Wagtail. The sea returned totals of 25 Brent Geese, 6 Red-throated Divers, 5 Mediterranean Gulls, 3 Black-headed Gulls and a lone Great Crested Grebe. Grounded migrants hardly featured, with a lone Redwing the only arrival at the Bill; elsewhere, a Hooded Crow at Weston was presumably the bird seen at the Bill for the last few days and a Bullfinch at Verne Common was the first reported on the island this year.

7th March

Barring an interlude of light rain either side of midday today's relatively quiet conditions saw a little bit of movement overhead and on the sea. Offshore, the first passing Sandwich Tern of the spring was the pick of a selection that otherwise included 115 Kittiwakes, 13 Red-throated Divers, 9 arriving Lesser Black-backed Gulls and 2 Mediterranean Gulls. Passerines arriving from the south included 7 Meadow Pipits, 3 alba wagtails, 3 Carrion Crows and a Siskin. It remained pretty deadly on the ground at the Bill, with a lone Redwing of note along with the continuing Hooded Crow hybrid and a few of the regular winterers. Elsewhere a Black Redstart was at Fortuneswell and 2 Black-necked Grebes remained in Portland Harbour.

6th March

A shift to a brisk westerly saw a handful of visible migrants logged - including single figure totals of Lesser Black-backed Gull, Meadow Pipit and Carrion Crow arriving in from the south at the Bill - but grounded arrivals looked to be non-existent today. All 8 passing Red-throated Divers off the Bill looked to be purposeful migrants but precious little else was on the move on the sea. Other than that the Hooded Crow hybrid remained at the Bill.

5th March

More of the same on a second successive very still and heavily overcast day. New arrivals at the Bill consisted of 30 Wood Pigeons arriving in off the sea and 2 Redwings and singles of Golden Plover and Snipe on the ground; 2 Red-throated and a single Great Northern Diver passed by on the sea. The Hooded Crow hybrid was also still about at the Bill, whilst in Portland Harbour 5 Black-necked Grebes and 4 Eider lingered on.

4th March

Although depressingly grey skies and the lack of any warmth in the air tried their damnedest to spoil proceedings there was a faintly interest little miscellany of sightings at the Bill today. The Hooded Crow was again on show (...although better views of some important areas of its plumage seemed to indicate it is indeed a hybrid), singles of Lapwing and Woodcock were new on the ground and the first sign of Meadow Pipit passage - 16 arriving in off the sea - was evident. A Cetti's Warbler at Culverwell was presumed to be the non-singing individual last recorded there back in December, the Black Redstart was still about and 2 Red-throated Divers passed by on the sea. Elsewhere, a Chiffchaff was new at Southwell and 11 Redwings headed north at Blacknor.

3rd March

Hardly a deluge of interest today but a Hooded Crow that showed up at the Bill was a surprise and a Firecrest at Suckthumb Quarry was an on-cue migrant arrival (...assuming it was an arrival and not a previously un-noticed winterer - has anyone actually birded Suckthumb since last November?). A few new thrushes were also in evidence, with 7 Redwings at Suckthumb and another single at the Bill, whilst Blackbirds certainly looked to be more numerous than they have been lately. The sea came up with the usual 30 Common Scoter along with 4 passing Red-throated Divers

A Hummingbird Hawkmoth was on the wing at Ferrybridge.

At first glance the Hooded Crow looked to be a pretty clean-looking bird...

...but closer inspection of some of the photographs does suggest that the under tail coverts aren't as clean as they should be: they're unhelpfully hidden or shaded most of the time but it looks as though there are the odd darker blotches present that arouse suspicion that the bird isn't entirely pure; better views/clearer photographs of this area would be helpful. 

The flight photographs show all sorts going on by way of pigment and/or growth bar issues that suggest it's the same individual as one present in January and February in east Devon. Many thanks to Mike Langman for sharing his thoughts on this bird © Martin Cade:

2nd March

Poor rewards again from a day that turned out to be surprisingly pleasant after the chilly breeze of the morning had abated. The migrant tally consisted of just 3 more Redwings at the Bill, where 2 more Red-throated Divers passed on the sea. A steady succession of photographers and birders brought out by the sunny skies of the afternoon continued to tap into a variety of winterers and residents at the Bill that still included 8 Purple Sandpipers and a Black Redstart.

1st March

Although hardly worthy of note for this date there was a tiny bit more about today than of late, with 3 Redwings and a Lapwing new on the ground at the Bill where a Pied Wagtail arrived in off the sea; at the Obs the first mist-netting session of the spring also revealed the presence of newcomers in the form of 2 Great Tits and a Robin. Offshore, the Common Scoter remained in residence and 4 Red-throated Divers passed by.