28th April

Whilst not entirely eviscerated of migrants the island seemed very barren today in comparison with the riches on offer just lately (the day's ringing total of just 7 birds looked paltry indeed when compared with the daily average of 125 over the last week). None of this should have come as any surprise after a night that had seen rain set in before dusk and drag on until a fair while after dawn; migrants obviously weren't moving in any quantity and much of what was about, including 3 Ring Ouzels at the Verne Moat and singles of Common Sandpiper, Short-eared Owl, Redstart, Whinchat, Grasshopper Warbler and Sedge Warbler at the Bill, were just as likely lingerers as new arrivals. What arrivals there were materialised through the day, when Swallows got moving in quantity - probably 500 or more through over the island as a whole - and the Dunlin tally at Ferrybridge shot up to 75. The offshore breeze of dawn backed and freshened conspicuously as the day went on which saw sea interest pick up, with an eventual tally of 300 Manx Shearwaters, 7 Red-throated Divers, 3 Red-breasted Mergansers, 3 Arctic Skuas and a Great Skua through off the Bill.

As anyone who's seawatched regularly at the Bill will know the light there on a bright evening is terrible as you're looking straight into the sun - this was a shame today since that was when the best of the day's movement was taking place. A Bonxie was nice, particularly since they remain so few and far between - this month's total still hasn't reached last April's paltry tally of 13 which doesn't bode well for a speedy recovery in numbers after the catastrophe wrought by avian flu...

...also severely under-strength are Manx Shearwaters that seem to have eschewed Portland waters both last year and this - the 300 this evening was easily the highest total logged so far this spring but an order of magnitude fewer than would usually be expected on an evening of brisk southwesterlies in April.

Red-throated Diver passage has usually begun to fizzle out by now but they're still on the move in quite fair numbers this year © Martin Cade:

Short-eared Owl at the Bill this evening © Liz & Steve Hunting:

Bar-tailed Godwit and Whimbrel at Ferrybridge this morning © Pete Saunders: