20th October

Our wait for the trickle down of even a small proportion of the wealth of migrants that have arrived this month on the East Coast is proving to be pretty tedious - inland Southern England must be well and truly weighed down because they haven't got here yet! Apart from the inevitable build up of wintering Dark-bellied Brent Geese at Ferrybridge - 1100 were there today, together with a returning Black Brant and a Pale-bellied Brent - today's numbers were all overhead, with a sample 40 minute count at the Bill coming up with 370 Linnets, 220 Goldfinches, 180 Meadow Pipits, 40 alba wagtails, 11 Skylarks and 7 Greenfinches (Meadow Pipits have been passing at this level for some days and are a sure sign of how late some things are running; note also the total absence of thrushes); 2 Merlins and a Short-eared Owl also passed through at other times. In most respects it was hopeless on the ground, with pitiful numbers of even the most routine fare such as Chiffchaffs and Goldcrests; there was a noteworthy total of 20 Reed Buntings at the Bill where a Great Spotted Woodpecker also showed up; elsewhere a Yellow-browed Warbler remained at Avalanche Road and a Ring Ouzel was at East Weare. Bar the ever-present Black Guillemot off Portland Castle the only report from the sea was of 2 Balearic Shearwaters through off the Bill.

Black Brant - Ferrybridge, 20th October 2014 © Pete Saunders