14th October

In much improved conditions - at least from the birding point of view - today came up with a much improved species list that was topped off with 2 Common Cranes that were spotted heading high and purposefully south off the east side of the island and were eventually lost to view off the Bill having hardly deviated from their track toward France. Two seemingly new Yellow-browed Warblers popped up around Southwell, 2 or 3 Dartford Warblers were at the Bill and the Rose-coloured Starling at Reap Lane, the Hooded Crow at the Grove and the Black Guillemot off Portland Castle were all still present. Routine migrants weren't as plentiful as might have been hoped, with October staples such as thrushes and finches remaining stubbornly thin on the ground. Numbers-wise, Stonechat and Wren were the day's feature birds, with 30 of the former dotted about the Bill and the total of 13 of the latter trapped and ringed at the Obs/Crown Estate Field constituting what must be one of the higher day totals of recent years for a species that's been in the doldrums for a long time; there were few surprises amongst the rest of the list, but 3 Little Egrets, 2 Merlins and 2 Firecrests at the Bill, a Black Redstart at Reap Lane, another Merlin at Portland Heights and a Great Spotted Woodpecker at Portland Castle were all of note. A lone Balearic Shearwater passing the Bill was the only seabird of interest.

Immigrant moth interest was again fairly minimal, with 2 each of Diamond-back Moth, Rusty-dot Pearl and Silver Y, and a single Pearly Underwing (as well as a presumably local Flame Brocade) all there was on offer at the Obs.


Rose-coloured Starling, Yellow-browed Warbler and Dartford Warbler - Reap Lane, Sweethill and Portland Bill, 14th October 2014 © Dave Smith (Rosy Starling), Pete Saunders (Yellow-browed Warbler) and Martin Cade (Dartford Warbler)