Every year its the same. Someone gets an early Wheatear or two, a Sand Martin maybe and thats it, folks are out looking for Redstarts!
In Northumberland, take it from someone who knows, believe me I've been caught out for more years than I care to remember. Usually about 19th March ( these are average generalisations based on previous experience) a few springsters arrive. 'Thats it' we cry, the dark is over, migration is in full swing! Then, by early April the wind has a northern vibe to it, sleet prevails and we find a Glaucous Gull on Cresswell pond, an Iceland Gull at Longhirst Flash and its back to Long tailed Ducks and Waxwings before you can say Bob's your uncle.
This scheme runs until, oh, say 10th April when our first summer visitor for a month is the Willow Warbler scarcely audible above the rain and gales outside the back door.
But, dread not, another week later and the wind drops a bit, the sun is up and a chattering Swallow is overhead while you scope the yellowest living thing on the planet wandering beside Cresswell causeway, a male Yellow Wagtail, with his monochrome relations nearby.
And suddenly, those Redstarts aren't that far away.
Its spring alright....