14th October

A stir-up in the weather with a succession of drizzly showers arriving from the east and making landfall throughout the morning did the trick today, most excitingly in a manner that nobody had predicted when Portland's second Red-eyed Vireo popped up in a mist-net at the Obs. Yellow-browed Warblers featured again, with at least 2 at both the Obs/Crown Estate Field and the Craft Centre, and another single at Pennsylvania Castle, Ring Ouzels included 4 at West Weare and at least 2 at the Bill, a Hen Harrier lingered for a while at the Bill and a very late Cuckoo showed up there. On the common migrant front there were getting on for 100 Chiffchaffs at the Bill, with plenty more variety amongst the steady flow of birds dropping in briefly or passing straight through into the brisk north-easterly.

Given the persistent easterlies over the last 10 days an American passerine would surely have been right at the bottom of anyone's prediction list for today, but in many ways the arrival of a Red-eyed Vireo bore striking similarities to the occurrence of the famous Northern Waterthrush at the Obs in mid-October 1996: the waterthrush also arrived during a spell of easterlies and in tandem with a fall of the likes of thrushes, Firecrests and Bramblings; the vireo was in perfectly good condition - it weighed more than 19gms which according to the literature would be a pretty decent weight for an autumn migrant in north America - and it seems most likely that both it and the waterthrush had made landfall in northern Europe in late September/early October and recovered sufficiently well to be moving on southwards on this side of the Atlantic © Nick Hopper:

These days, Yellow-browed Warblers can pop up just about anywhere: this morning's bird dropped into a tiny patch of brambles in the middle of the Crown Estate Field:

Nice dreary, drizzly fall conditions don't help when it comes to getting record shots of distant oddities but these dreadful efforts do at least clinch this morning's harrier as a Hen rather than the hoped-for Pallid:

Most likely, today's cuckoo was just a very late Common Cuckoo but given the recent conditions we can't imagine there's any reason why an Oriental Cuckoo mightn't be on the cards © Nevil Fowler:

And to end, a bit more in-hand vireo detail: