Highlights: A male Subalpine Warbler, Cumbria’s third and the first for 20 years, was an elusive visitor to Rampside (15th-18th). A Bee Eater briefly hawked over horse paddocks at Biggar on Walney Island (1st) and a male red-spotted Bluethroat was photographed at nearby South Walney N.R. (20th). A drake Green-winged Teal was found at North Plain RSPB (5th-10th) and a Common Crane flew over Wedholme Flow (13th).
Bassenthwaite Lake: The new pair of Ospreys finally laid (7th) and incubation proceeded for the rest of the month.
Hodbarrow: Wildfowl included 140 Eider while pick of the waders was a Little Ringed Plover (6th). Two Black Terns dropped in (9th). Both Common and Little Terns settled down to breed, the latter making a welcome return, though Sandwich Terns again failed to do so. Nearby Silecroft produced two Arctic Skuas (9th).
Inner Solway: At least 10000 Barnacle Geese remained on Rockcliffe Marsh well into the month while a late Long-tailed Duck lingered on Wedholme Flow (9th-16th). Waders included a Wood Sandpiper at Campfield (6th), a Ruff at Wedholme Flow, two Greenshank at Old Sandsfield (8th) and a few Whimbrel. Skua passage picked up considerably in a prolonged spell of westerlies producing monthly totals of 305 Pomarine, 51 Arctic, 49 Great and 26 Long-tailed. The supporting cast included a Storm Petrel (23rd), four Velvet Scoters (3rd), a total of seven Little Gulls, Kittiwakes (max. 70), and a few Red-throated Divers, Manx Shearwaters, Fulmars, Gannets and Arctic Terns. all past Bowness-on-Solway. Up to three Little Gulls also lingered off Drumburgh. A Wood Warbler singing at Bowness-on-Solway (14th) was unusual and a flock of 10 Crossbills was at Finglandrigg Wood.
Kent Estuary: A Slavonian Grebe drifting on the tide off Arnside (7th) was a rare visitor. At least 12 Little Egrets were present. Seawatching at Far Arnside (10th) produced four Arctic Skuas, 50 Manx Shearwaters and 41 Gannets while a Gannet as far up the estuary as Sandside the same day was unusual. There were occasional sightings of Marsh Harrier while waders included an impressive 140 Black-tailed Godwits at Arnside. A singing Wood Warbler at Dallam (2nd) was unusual.
Outer Solway: Seawatching produced four Pomarine Skuas and an Arctic Skua off Braystones (12th) and a Little Gull off Whitehaven. Up to three Black Guillemots frequented the Whitehaven/Parton area.
Walney Bird Observatory. Highlights over the sea involved two Long-tailed Skuas (10th) and a Pomarine Skua (12th) amongst totals of 19 Arctic Skuas and three Great Skuas. Also seen were up to four Shags amongst good numbers of Manx Shearwaters (max. 483 on 11th), Gannets (max. 231 on 11th), Sandwich Terns (max. 275 on 7th) and Common Scoters (max. 335 on 7th) and smaller numbers of Fulmars, Red-throated Divers (max. 10 on 6th), Kittiwakes (max. 60 on 12th), Common Terns, Arctic Terns (max. 64 on 11th), Little Terns (max. 44 on 25th), Guillemots (max. 76 on 5th) and Razorbills (max. 62 on 5th). The last Little Egret departed (17th), three Scaup were seen (1st), two Gadwall appeared (4th & 21st) and 230 Pink-footed Geese headed north (to 19th). Whimbrel remained ever present throughout the month (max. 12 on 12th), a Greenshank was logged (25th) and other waders included 2250 Dunlin (12th) and 300 Ringed Plovers (17th). A Common Buzzard drifted northeast over the island (29th) – the third of the spring for what is usually a rare bird on the island. Although the Hooded Crow put in another appearance but passage was generally slow until a fall (19th) saw the mass arrival of Spotted Flycatchers with 30 birds logged, also seen were 40 Wheatears, 35 Willow Warblers, five Whinchats, three Redstarts, three Garden Warblers and single Blackcap and Cuckoo. Diurnal migration produced 62 Lesser Redpolls but only one Siskin and three Yellow Wagtails amongst a steady trickle of Swallows and House Martins.
Migrant arrivals: First dates reported at the time of writing were Garden Warbler, Soddy Gap (1st); Spotted Flycatcher, Sedbergh (1st).
Other sites: A White Stork flew north over Tebay Motorway Services (24th). Northbound or wandering Ospreys were noted at Kirkby Lonsdale, Killington and Tindale Tarn. The Lyth Valley hosted four Little Egrets and a Ruff (31st). Two Little Gulls and five Black-tailed Godwits were at Longtown while a drake Common Scoter (28th), an Arctic Tern and, more unusually, two Sandwich Terns (6th) turned up inland at Killington. Up to 21 Dotterel graced an eastern fell. A Wood Warbler at Rampside (15th) was unusual. The long-staying Hooded Crow remained at Eskmeals.