12th April

These things are relative so today was hardly, for example, like last year's mega day when a tsunami of migrants swept through the island and with just a handful of mist-nets we broke all previous ringing records. Today was altogether more pedestrian with just 33 ringed from a full day with all the nets but such was the variety on offer everywhere that it seemed like spring really had finally got going. The firsts for the year came thick and fast with a pre-dawn Tree Pipit revealed by the Obs nocmig recorder soon followed in daylight by single Grasshopper Warblers at the Bill and Barleycrates, a couple of Whitethroats at the Bill and singles of Whinchat and Corn Bunting at Barleycrates; later, the first Lesser Whitethroat of the season was at Verne Common. To add to these, further interest came in the form of 8 Redstarts, 2 Pied Flycatchers, 2 Cirl Buntings, a Merlin, a late Redwing and a Serin dotted about the centre and south of the island, 108 Pale-bellied Brent Geese, 17 Sandwich Terns, 15 Red-throated Divers, 4 Great Northern Divers and 3 Canada Geese through off the Bill and another 4 Great Northern Divers still in Portland Harbour; 42 more Sandwich Terns and 7 Common Terns were amongst the morning movement through Ferrybridge. A hearteningly good showing of Wheatears saw them nearly reach a three figure total around the centre and south, whilst Willow Warblers likely got close to that total in the same area. To add to all that, by the afternoon it was blazingly sunny and pleasantly warm - all in all a pretty decent day.

As is often the case since they shoot past going in the opposite direction to nearly everything else, both flocks of Pale-bellied Brents were nearly missed as they rounded the Bill and struck off across Lyme Bay © Verity Hill: