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.