21st October

An almost windless day was quite a novelty and allowed for pretty decent coverage of the centre and south of the island. The conditions were too fair to have expected much of a fall of migrants but there was plenty of passage afoot, with an almost constant light trickle of thrushes in particular apparent everywhere: sample counts included 260 Wood Pigeons, 140 Redwings, 50 each of Song Thrush and Chaffinch,  and 20 Fieldfares over the Bill during the morning, 128 Redwings, 40 Chaffinches and 12 Fieldfares over the centre of the island during the afternoon and 170 Starlings, 80 Redwings and 28 Fieldfares over Blacknor during the afternoon; a wide variety of lower totals included most of the expected late autumn regulars along with a Short-eared Owl, a Mistle Thrush, a Ring Ouzel and a late Tree Pipit over the Bill and another Tree Pipit over Avalanche Road. There was also plenty of variety on the ground but quantity didn't match yesterday and it was left to a few oddities to provide interest there: a Serin was the pick of the arrivals at the Bill, where the Hen Harrier and Siberian Lesser Whitethroat remained and a belated first Dartford Warbler of the autumn showed up; elsewhere there were 6 Yellow-browed Warblers scattered around the centre of the island.

Overnight mothing was again astonishing good considering the clear skies and chilly north-easterly, with an immigrant tally at the Obs of 22 Rusty-dot Pearl, 10 White-speck, 4 Rush Veneer, 2 each of Diamond-back Moth, Radford's Flame Shoulder, Delicate, Scarce Bordered Straw and White-speck, and singles of Barred Sallow and Clancy's Rustic; late singles of Brimstone and Dark Arches were also of note there.

Although most frequently a spring and summer visitor to Portland we do get the odd one or two Serins most late autumns; the strongly streaked throat and forehead seem to mark this one out as pretty conclusively a female, but we're not so certain of its age: quick looks at it in the hand suggested it was a bird of the year but now that we've spent a bit of time on these and other photos we're more inclined to leave it unaged

The Hen Harrier lingered on for another day © Mark Eggleton

...but we haven't got a clue whether various of the Yellow-browed Warblers are lingerers or not: bearing in mind that pretty well all of the Bill birds have moved on quite quickly it might well be that the daily reports from spots like the Craft Centre (where this one was photographed today © Ted Pressey) actually involve many different individuals