12th October

A right old miscellany of sightings today under crystal clear skies and, once the early chill had passed, warm sunshine. Two Common Cranes that were first spotted over Ferrybridge and shortly afterwards departed out to sea from the Bill were, date-wise, so close to a similar occurrence last year that it was tempting to wonder if they might even have been the same individuals. At least 2 of the day's 3 Yellow-browed Warblers - at the Bill and Reap Lane - looked to be fresh in, whilst further interest came in the form of a Nightjar at dawn at the Obs, at least 4 Short-eared Owls, 2 Black Redstarts and singles of Water Rail, Merlin, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Woodlark, Mistle Thrush, Dartford Warbler and Firecrest at the Bill, 2 Ring Ouzels and singles of Merlin, Short-eared Owl and Dartford Warbler at Barleycreates/Reap, a Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Firecrest at Pennsylvania Castle and a Black Redstart at Blacknor. Grounded migrants included plenty of Chiffchaffs and Goldcrests (sample totals included 70 Chiffchaffs and 50 Goldcrests at the Bill, and 60 Chiffchaffs in the Pennsylvania Castle/Wakeham area) as well as the first general arrival of thrushes that included 25 Redwings amongst the more plentiful Blackbirds and Song Thrushes at the Bill. Visible passage was rather a non-event with no more than a trickle of expected fare everywhere, although the first Brambling of the autumn over the Bill was of note.

Common Cranes and Firecrest - Portland Bill, 12th October 2015 © Martin Cade (Cranes) and Joe Stockwell (Firecrest)

This autumn's Yellow-browed Warblers haven't - thus far at least - been particularly vocal, but today the appearance of a second individual joining one already present at the Obs prompted a decent little burst of calling: