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: