Northerly winds in recent days have probably held up migration to a degree, however, such is the urgency to return to reaffirm territories for breeding, many migrants do make it through adverse conditions and announce their return with a wonderful variety of song.
Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps are now widespread and singing within their chosen habitats. It is still evident however that many suitable habitats have yet to be filled by returning Blackcaps. My first Blackcap of the year was a singing male at Hethersett on 29th March followed by a more local record at Thompson on 3rd April.
Willow Warblers appeared to arrive later than usual this year with the first not heard singing until 11th April at Thompson. The same day saw a pair of mating Marsh Harriers on the patch, a great local record.
My first Hirundines were seen on 12th April with a House Martin at Barnham Broom, a little while later a single Swallow was seen at Barford.
The 15th and 16th April were particularly wet days with drier conditions finally arriving early afternoon on the latter date. On 16th April I visited Little Cressingham (The Arms) with the intention of finding my first Whitethroat of the year, as I approached The Arms I heard a quiet scratchy sub-song which stopped me in my tracks, I saw movement and a short while later I saw a stunning male Lesser Whitethroat skulking in roadside hedgerows, its constant picking at branches and Blackthorn blossom suggested this might have been a recently arrived tired migrant. This is one of my earliest returning Lesser Whitethroats.
A visit to Bodney on 17th April saw and heard 3 migrant Warbler species on territory, these were Chiffchaffs, Blackcap, and at least one Willow Warbler. As well as summer migrants, winter visitors will also still be on the move. A single Fieldfare on heathland looked quite lonesome given the usual gregarious nature of this species. Finally, at least one Redpoll overflew in a northerly heading, a possible outgoing wintering bird.