5th October

In lovely quiet conditions - at least until late in the afternoon when the wind begun to strengthen ahead of a weather front rolling in from the west - today was a day to enjoy lots of routine early October migration. The Rose-coloured Starling remained at Reap Lane to provide the day's rarity interest, but there was very little else out of the ordinary, with 3 Firecrests, a Short-eared Owl and a Great Spotted Woodpecker (the latter the fifth trapped and ringed so far this autumn - the previous highest annual ringing total was just four) the best on offer at the Bill. Overnight conditions had been rather too benign to have expected much of a fall on the ground, but Chiffchaffs in particular were still numerous enough, with 75 at the Bill and a good scatter elsewhere; there were few surprises on the ground, but totals of, for example, 200 Pied Wagtails on the Bill Common and 10 Reed Buntings in the Crown Estate Field were typical of the decent spread of arrivals everywhere. A good deal of overhead passage looked to be taking place at great height and hence wasn't east to sample, but hirundines, alba wagtails, Meadow Pipits and Linnets were well represented and there was a fair bit of other variety. Yesterday's minor blow didn't seem to have perked up sea interest, with singles of Balearic Shearwater and Brent Goose just about the only birds of note off the Bill.

Reed Bunting - Portland Bill, 5th October 2014 © Martin Cade
...and Common Buzzards were an almost constant feature over the centre of island during the afternoon. We're not quite sure what they were up to but from the constant calling of the juveniles it seemed as though it was perhaps training sessions for the local youngsters; among the interactions there were several spectacular talon-grapples that involved the birds tumbling from enormous height to within a hundred metres of so of the ground (photos © Martin Cade):