26th October

Apart from the fact that there wasn't a moment in the day when a blasting south-easterly wasn't doing its best to make birding as awkward as possible today had plenty going for it, with an interesting assortment of oddities mingled amongst the best island-wide arrival of Goldcrests for many years. Had it been possible to visit all the areas of cover it wouldn't have been a surprise if the Goldcrest tally hadn't got to around the 500 mark: everywhere that was visited was full of them and the evidence from the mist-nets suggested that there was a day-long throughput of new arrivals; a fair number of Firecrests were on the move as well, with up to 5 at several sites and 10 at Pennsylvania Castle. Rarity interest was limited to a presumably returning Black Brant at Ferrybridge, but scarce migrants included single Yellow-browed Warblers at Pennsylvania Castle and Portland Castle, a Continental Coal Tit at Portland Castle and a scatter of 8 Black Redstarts, 2 Ring Ouzels, a Merlin and a Bullfinch; there were also tardy singles of Redstart at Portland Castle and Whitethroat at the Bill. The usual high hopes for the sea came to nothing, with a single Arctic Skua the only worthwhile sighting at the Bill.

Goldcrest, Continental Coal Tit and Black Brant - Southwell, Portland Castle and Ferrybridge, 26th October 2015 © Debby Saunders (Goldcrest and Black Brant) and Chris Patrick (Continental Coal Tit)

This Redstart (thanks to Keith Pritchard for the photos) at Portland Castle caused a minor commotion during the day: although at first taken to be 'just' a Common Redstart, it was later - in the light of the presence of apparent white wing-panels - reported on some of the news services as a likely Ehrenberg's samamisicus Redstart:

Later scrutiny revealed that, amongst other features, the fine detail of the wing panel wasn't right for Ehrenberg's, and showed just how much the apparent extent/colour of the panels depended on viewing angle/light: