10th March

Balmy, quiet conditions made a welcome change to the recent wind and rain, and migrants responded well with a nice arrival throughout the island. Fifty Chiffchaffs and 6 Goldcrests made up the bulk of the grounded numbers at the Bill/Southwell, where an early-ish Blackcap and a Reed Bunting provided interest amongst the lower totals; Chiffchaffs in particular looked to be well spread everywhere else and the whole-island tally must have been well into three figures. Further interest away from the Bill came in the form of the season's first Sandwich Tern in Portland Harbour where an arrival of Great Northern Divers saw 17 counted from Hamm Beach alone (3 Black-throated Divers, 2 Black-necked Grebes and a Slavonian Grebe were also amongst the winterers still in residence around the harbour). There was clearly movement afoot offshore as well as on the land, with 126 Gannets, 24 Mediterranean Gulls, 23 Common Gulls, 22 Common Scoter and 15 Red-throated Divers purposefully eastbound off the Bill.

Wheatear and Blackcap from the day's migrant arrival at the Bill © Jodie Henderson & Martin Cade:

The total of 17 Great Northern Divers gathered in groups off Hamm Beach was an unexpected sight and represented easily the highest count of the year in the harbour. Many years ago fair-sized parties were quite frequent in March and April as birds gathered to moult in the outer reaches of the harbour and Weymouth Bay so it's tempting to wonder if today's event isn't the precursor to something along these lines © Pete Saunders:

Another odd sight was this Kittiwake settled on the cliff top along East Cliffs at the Bill. It didn't appear to be unwell but experience suggests that these sort of events often don't end well © Jodie Henderson: