7th May

What I nice day to be out birding: the migrants were again very varied if not actually individually hugely numerous but it was a particular pleasure to get amongst them - for one of the first times this year - in warm sunshine and barely a waft of breeze; what breeze there was was in the north which probably accounted for what looked to be a steady throughput of birds dropping from the clear sky throughout the day. We're struggling to remember the last time there was a two Nightingale day on the island so the singles at the Obs and the Eight Kings Quarry were very welcome amongst an arrival at the Bill that included 50 Wheatears, 40 Garden Warblers, 30 Willow Warbler, 20 Blackcaps, 15 each of Reed and Sedge Warbler, 10 Spotted Flycatchers, 8 Whinchats, 4 Redstarts, a Lesser Whitethroat and a Goldcrest. Visible passage also picked up there, with a constant arrival of Swallows overhead, Swifts present amongst them if still not at all numerously and 2 Hobbys and 2 Yellow Wagtails tagging along. Migrants evidently diminished in numbers further up the island but there were still some good patches of them around the middle where at least 9 more Reed Warblers were in evidence; 2 more Hobbys were also logged at points northward. The switch in wind direction coupled with increasing haziness as the day went on saw to it that a lone Great Skua through off the Bill was pretty well the only sighting of note from the sea.

Sadly, although both the day's Nightingales were males they were vocally reticent and we were always too otherwise engaged to be able to grab a recording during what fitful bursts of song there were. However, the Obs bird obliged by eventually popping up in a mist-net so a good view was had!...

Talking of good views - or preferably a photograph - Nightingale ageing should be pretty do-able in the field as the previous year's youngsters retain some old juvenile feathers in their wing when they return to northern latitudes in spring; our bird today was one such youngster as evidenced by, for example, the pale tips to the outer greater coverts and the little pale 'spikes' on the tip of the middle tertial
 - these would be lacking on an adult © Martin Cade:

Today was a bit of an oddity in that, despite lovely weather that should have enabled them to get away easily, there were quite a few migrants about that seemed to be marooned in tiny patches of cover; for example, early morning visitors told us of several Reed Warblers lurking in the little clump of stunted Tree Mallows beside the Bill Quarry and when we passed the same patch after an evening seawatch - a good 13 hours later - at least two of them were still there © Martin Cade: