7th March

There's nothing like the onset of a blasting easterly to perk up both vismig and sea interest, and even this early in the spring both West Cliffs and the Bill/Chesil were rewarding. A Spoonbill through north along West Cliffs was the highlight but a sample count from there of 808 Meadow Pipits north in 150 minutes - along with the likes of 11 Wood Pigeons and singles of Grey Wagtail and Reed Bunting - showed just how much was on the move. The sea didn't have anything like those numbers, but 26 Pintail, 9 Shovelers and a Dunlin through off the Bill and 47 Black-headed Gull, 11 Common Gulls and 2 Shelducks from Chesil were the pick of the movers there. The land was very hard work in the buffeting wind but pockets of Chiffchaffs in shelter included 11 through a private garden at Southwell and 4 at the Obs.

Having seen one blisteringly close flock of Pintail that almost looked like they were over the beach huts we were tempted away from the shelter/comfort of the Obs to do a proper seawatch at the Bill. Sadly, events there weren't quite such a spectacle: another pair of Pintail were hundreds of metres out...

...whilst the flock of Shoveler were just tiny specks at towards two kilometres range - through binoculars they were no more than just silhouetted duck spp and it took very heavily blown-up photographs to reveal their true identity © Martin Cade:

One of the day's Chiffchaffs at the Obs - a view of them that we'll hopefully be getting well used to in the next few weeks © Martin Cade: