8th October

A far more enjoyable day with plenty of common migrants about in calm, warm and sunny conditions. Quality wasn't a feature, with nothing better on the scarcity front than 3 Yellow-browed Warblers (2 briefly at Culverwell and another at Verne Common Road), and there certainly wasn't a general fall since some common species were very poorly represented - was there really only a single Wheatear in the whole Bill area? - but overall there was plenty about on the ground and overhead. The Bill area got the best of the coverage, with c400 Meadow Pipits, c200 Pied Wagtails, 75 Chiffchaffs, 25 Goldcrests and 10 Blackcaps making up the bulk of the numbers on the ground, and all the usual early October suspects including Skylarks, Reed Buntings and a variety of finches well represented overhead; less frequent species making the list included singles of Merlin, Snipe, Short-eared Owl, Lesser Whitethroat and Firecrest.

Several Hummingbird Hawk-moths were about by day but the overnight immigrant moth catch was very poor, with a single White-speck the only oddity at the Obs.

Pied Wagtail - Southwell, 8th October 2015 © Duncan Walbridge

...this rather boldly marked wagtail was seen briefly at long range at the Bill during the morning where the apparently wholly white wing panel and strong white edges to the tertials had attracted attention but few other features were seen before it flew off; it was found again during the afternoon in a horse paddock at Southwell where this and other photos revealing the presence of, for example, grey rear flanks and a dark line on the side of the neck served to confirm that it was just an extreme Pied Wagtail rather than something rarer like an Amur Wagtail.

Until today we hadn't gleaned much in the way of results from Nick Hopper's last stay with us, largely because it's now taking a lot longer to go through the recordings as the nights are getting longer and busier for birds, problem calls are proving difficult to sort out...and Nick's got to earn a living in his spare time. The first of a three night session at the end of last week (1st/2nd October) proved to be interesting with two oddities in terms of nocturnal recordings: singles of migrating Goldcrest and Dunnock; other birds included 19 Song Thrushes, 17 Robins, 4 Meadow Pipits and singles of Lapwing, Common Snipe, Sandwich Tern and Short-eared Owl: