6th October

Since Hurricane Bertha seems like a very distant, mid-summer memory, the storm that blew though overnight and on into the morning came as quite a shock to the system - and, with winds gusting well into gale force, certainly served to clear more than a few leaves from the trees; perhaps as much of a surprise was the rapidity with which blue skies and warm sunshine had returned once the storm had blown itself out after midday. For the first time in an age it was the seawatchers that came up with most of the news even if, as so often seems to be the case in autumn, their rewards were astonishingly different to those accrued at watchpoints elsewhere along the South Coast. Most passage occurred either side of midday, immediately before and after the clearance in the weather, when 20 Arctic Skuas, 18 Great Skuas, 8 Brent Geese, 3 commic terns, 2 Whimbrel and a Balearic Shearwater passed through off the Bill; after a long lull another 6 Brent Geese and an Arctic Skua were added to the tally later in the afternoon. On the land it looked very much as though the overnight conditions had been much too inclement to allow migrants to get moving: the Rose-coloured Starling was still at Reap Lane but not a single new arrival was mist-netted at the Obs through the afternoon; 2 Hobbys, 2 Firecrests and a Merlin were easily the best of a very limited selection around the Bill area as a whole. The day's only other report was of the Black Guillemot still in Portland Harbour.

Thanks also to Nick Hopper for a report on his last nocturnal sound-recording session which was undertaken on the night of Thursday 2nd/Friday 3rd October: evidently there was nothing at all before midnight and then not much activity until the period between 1am and 2.10am when 36 Song Thrush, 2 Blackbirds and a Redwing were logged; activity then subsided and the final totals for the whole night were 61 Song Thrushes, 2 Redwings, 2 Blackbirds and 1 Snipe.