14th October

The Waterthrush anniversary date is always hotly anticipated in the Portland calendar and although today didn't come up with anything quite so special there was still a fair bit going on. For a good part of the day it had looked as though it was all change on the birding front, with yesterday's scarcities having departed en masse, however a surprise late afternoon reappearance of the Olive-backed Pipit put a different complexion on events: it was first heard as it left the Hut Fields and after settling briefly in the Crown Estate Field and the Strips it was thought to have headed further on towards Top Fields. The pick of the newcomers were a Red-backed Shrike at Suckthumb Quarry and Yellow-browed Warblers at the Obs and Wakeham, whilst the general migration situation was, give or take differences in numbers, much as in recent days. Thrushes were conspicuous at dawn when 100 Redwings, the first Fieldfare of the autumn and a Ring Ouzel headed away north from the Bill, whilst Blackcap was, like yesterday, the most numerous warbler on the ground; Chiffchaff and Goldcrest switched positions in the numbers tally, with the latter coming out on top in most patches of cover. A decent array of less regular migrants included 5 Firecrests, 4 Short-eared Owls, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers (including the incongruous sight of one settled in tamarisks at Ferrybridge), 2 Merlins, and singles of Dartford Warbler and Yellowhammer; late-ish singles of Redstart at the Bill and Sedge Warbler at Ferrybridge was also of note.

Hummingbird Hawk-moths and Clouded Yellows were still on the wing at the Bill during the afternoon.

Whilst immigrant moth numbers remained very low there were some surprises, with a Radford's Flame Shoulder (ID still to be confirmed) at the Grove and singles of Delicate, Cosmopolitan and Scarce Bordered Straw at the Obs.


Red-backed Shrike, Olive-backed Pipit and Redstart - Suckthumb Quarry and Portland Bill, 14th October 2015 © Joe Stockwell (Red-backed Shrike upper, Olive-backed Pipit and Redstart) and Mike Trew (Red-backed Shrike lower)

Today's little audio offerings are a short soundscape recorded in the Obs front garden in the half-light of dawn - for a moment it really did look like it was going to be a busy morning with Bramblings and Redwings lifting off out of the bushes and a Ring Ouzel chacking from cover, but with really clear skies overhead everything left pretty sharpish:

...and, thanks to Nick Hopper, another recording of the Olive-backed Pipit, this time capturing the subtle and easily overlooked (we weren't stood very far away from Nick but we didn't even pick up on it!) seet call: