This has been the best spring kick-off I can remember, at least in terms of showy chats. I am hitting wheatears at a rate of almost 30 per hour right now, and that is just on manicured, pesticide-drenched grassland; looking forward to what some decent, food-rich habitat on Lulu might hold this weekend coming. Strong north-westerlies over the Gulf have kept things fresh and cool and, presumably, drifted birds trying to cross further west downwind towards us, so we have been plenty busy. Best birds of the current run have been four male Black-eared Wheatears, very welcome as I missed them last spring, the first vittata Pied of the spring and yet more Caspian Stonechats: following on from Saturday’s, we have confirmed two more males ( out of 4 Siberians found), one of which was a particular delight to watch and photograph. Other goodies have included 2 Masked Shrikes (so no need to worry about not finding the wintering one after all!), fair local scores for Woodchats and Steppe Greys (but Isabellines still very sparse), up to 8 Greater Short-toed Larks and, making up for the lack of early flavas, 2 Grey Wagtails handily appearing; that is another species that can miss the net in a year if you don’t have a wintering bird pinned down. Which I didn’t. In the mix have also come two hirundines: one each for House Martin and Red-rumped Swallow, which means, given that these are the hardest of the five on AD island – by some margin - a full bag for those is now guaranteed.
Total so far - 115 (65%)
Last addition – Black-eared Wheatear (6 March)