4th October

Birding was very hard work today in a howling easterly - conditions that afford little or no shelter anywhere on the island. In the event it was fortunate that morsels of interest did crop up, even if some were at the clutching at straws level rather than decent, easy rares. Given the conditions it was quite unexpected when 2 Common Cranes that had shown up over Weymouth yesterday made an attempt at a Channel crossing and strayed all the way out to the Bill before turning tail and heading back to the mainland; the day's other rarity interest came in the form of a putative Baltic Gull grounded briefly at the Bill and a presumed Siberian Chiffchaff that popped up in a net at the Obs. In the absence of much on the ground, migrant interest consisted largely of visible passage over the Bill: hirundines were numerous for the best part of the day, whilst the likes of 2 Lapwings, 2 Redwings and singles of Merlin, Hobby, Snipe and Short-eared Owl were of interest along with the alba wagtails and Meadow Pipits that made up the rest of the numbers overhead. Odds and ends of note on the ground included 2 Reed Warblers at the Bill and a Firecrest at Pennsylvania Castle. Some limited sea passage included 15 Common Scoter, 12 Wigeon, 6 Brent Geese and singles of Sooty Shearwater and Teal through off the Bill.

There's been some evidence of Red Admiral emigration in recent days, with a sample count today coming up with 22 heading south in 20 minutes at the Bill.

Immigrant moth interest dwindled, with the strength of the wind restricting the overnight catch at the Obs to just single figure totals of a few routine species.

Common Cranes in full flight are always a dramatic sight and today's duo didn't disappoint: having had a tip-off that they were on their way our first views of them were as they motored along at cliff-top height off Reap Lane:

...whilst the observers who opted for a viewpoint near the Higher Light were treated to the spectacle of them circling offshore - calling frequently - against a backdrop of Chesil and Wyke Regis © Joe Stockwell:

Today's putative Baltic Gull immediately brought to mind a couple of similar looking birds we'd documented a couple of years ago  - all these birds look to have the requisite plumage and state of moult to be candidate Baltic Gulls but without a ring to confirm their place of origin presumably there's no way of proving they're not wacky intermedius Lesser Black-backs © Joe Stockwell:

And finally, what more is there to say about silent potential Siberian Chiffchaffs than we've said already: the gist of it seems to be that if it looks like one in the hand/field then the DNA later shows it was one (we've had none where that rule of thumb hasn't proved to be the case) so we're guessing that today's bird was OK: