27th April

In outwardly quite similar conditions to yesterday - heavily overcast with a brisk easterly breeze - today's results were strikingly different, with migrants not only liberally spread at dawn but seemingly dropping in throughout the morning; the onset of heavy rain by early afternoon and then fog by early evening scuppered all later activities and likely resulted in the day's totals being a tad lower than they might otherwise have been. For the first time in recent weeks Willow Warbler and Blackcap were usurped from top spot by a surge of Whitethroats, with perhaps 200 of the latter at the Bill alone where Blackcap and Wheatear topped 150 and 100 respectively but Willow Warbler trailed in at fewer than 50; variety was a feature, with a Wood Warbler at Ladymead and 3 Grasshopper Warblers and a Ring Ouzel at the Bill the best but most of the other expected late April commoner migrants were represented in multiples on the ground. Sea passage was equally varied, with a good showing of 339 Whimbrel between the Bill and Chesil, and 300 commic terns lingering off Chesil; 12 Arctic Skuas, divers included 4 Red-throated and singles of both Black-throated and Great Northern, whilst an Osprey arrived in off at Chesil.

It's not often these days that Whitethroat is the most numerous grounded migrant at the Bill and it's hard to grasp that in the now distant past - before the Whitethroat 'crash' in 1969 - it very often outnumbered Willow Warbler and was one of the commonest summer migrants logged/ringed here; on the day of one particularly famous Whitethroat 'rush' - 29th April 1955 - 1000+ were estimated at the Bill and, based on this and concurrent events elsewhere in east Dorset and adjacent west Hampshire the Report on Dorset Birds for that year ventured that 'many hundreds of thousands, if not several millions, of Whitethroats must have landed in Dorset overnight' © Martin Cade:

Bedraggled arrivals in unlikely places were a feature today - this Redstart was at Ferrybridge © Joe Stockwell:

More Whimbrels and Bar-tailed Godwits migrating over Chesil © Joe Stockwell: