Well now. A white wagtail on the clifftop near Fan Bay suggested that it might be a decent morning for other migrants, but not so.
Early fog cleared by 0715 and most of the rest of the morning was sunny with a light SW breeze until 1000 when it clouded over. A Woodcock was in the valley, 2 Chiffchaffs were present and 3 Red Kites were seen between 0915 and 1000; one heading inland and two being mobbed by the local chip-snatchers over the holiday camp.
A calm and overcast start turned into a pleasant morning that was the nicest so far this month. However, birding was very quiet, saved from complete torpidity by 2 Black Redstarts in Langdon Hole and a Chiffchaff in song at the top of the valley.
Any movement disappeared with the cloud of the last few days and if finches were on the move they were too high to be seen or heard. Although Chiffchaffs were singing briefly on the farm and at the top of the valley spring remains elusive in the continuing cold NE wind and the emergence of flowering plants is noticeably retarded compared to the Wordsworthian lowlands. A female Reed Bunting on the farm and a few Dunnocks tree-topping in Langdon Hole were just about the only other bits of interest.
Overcast again with a cold NW breeze and occasional light rain it was a near repeat of yesterday. 7,380 Chaffinches, 16 Siskins and an alba wagtail coasted NE along the cliffs and at least 11 Meadow Pipits flew in off the sea. Away from the swarms of finches, 120 Linnets were on the fields.
Stepping out into a chilly NW breeze and mostly overcast conditions with some occasional watery sun it seemed like a good morning for movement and in a four-hour vigil at Fan Bay we were not disappointed. The main protagonists were 6,470 Chaffinches, a record spring movement here, accompanied by one Brambling and 30 Siskins. A Sparrowhawk also came in off the sea, as did a party of 12 Golden Plovers, a Woodcock was in Langdon Hole and squabbling Peregrine and Raven added to the atmosphere.
Early rain cleared by mid morning and although it remained quite misty it was enough to entice 5 Buzzards to get up and about. Otherwise, Chiffchaffs were seen in the valley and at Fan Bay and 2 Stonechats and a Firecrest were the best of the rest.
Four days of gales had started to subside and, more or less predictably for the time of year, at least 200 Great Crested Grebes were on the sea beneath Lighthouse Down this morning. There was also a Chiffchaff on the 12th.
While early cloud persisted 366 Chaffinches, 2 Siskins, 7 Meadow Pipits and a Snipe flew over, more or less into the NW breeze. Once a clear blue sky had taken over it became very quiet, though not while standing beneath 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers drumming enthusiastically at each other in the Hollow Wood. As the morning warmed, raptors became prominent, including at least 7 Buzzards and 3 Sparrowhawks.
With no wind and a frosty start today was the start of the change from the recent cold to the typical March stroppiness forecast for later in the week. There was not a great deal going on, though a Merlin appeared over the cliff, a Woodcock jumped from cover on the farm and one Siskin flew SW.
Brighter with a lighter NE breeze and consequently a good deal more pleasant than yesterday. Movement was pretty much the same, however, with 340 Chaffinches, a Siskin and 4 Goldfinches flying NE.
In a biting NE wind and overcast conditions 333 Chaffinches, a Siskin and 11 Goldfinches flew N and a Woodlark flew in the opposite direction over the top wood and fields. Otherwise it was left to 6 Tree Sparrows to warm things up a bit.
Two days of dense fog cleared for the most part, though the day dawned misty with light rain and a chilly NNE breeze. Spring continued its hesitant steps with 2 Chiffchaffs on the clifftop and a Crossbill that flew N, while a Golden Plover was calling in the murk over the farm.