30th November

A cold but mainly sunny end to the month brought a surprise in the form of 3 Great Bustards doing a lap of the island: first seen over Chesil Cove they later looked to have arrived in off the sea at the Bill from where they headed back off up the island and were last seen leaving to the north over Portland Harbour. A new Black Brant at Ferrybridge was also unexpected but there was a disappointing response to the cold from more routine fare, with a Snipe over the Bill and 3 Fieldfares at Southwell the only obvious newcomers. Auk numbers have built up very quickly this winter with upwards of 100/minute through off the Bill for long periods during the morning. Winterers making the list included 2 Chiffchaffs and singles of Water Rail, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Goldcrest and Firecrest at the Bill/Southwell, singles of Black Redstart and Firecrest at Church Ope Cove, 2 Goosanders in Portland Harbour and 6 Pale-bellied Brent Geese, a Bar-tailed Godwit and a Redshank at Ferrybridge.

It's been a while since any wandering Salisbury Plain Great Bustards have reached the island and although clearly completely devalued by being introductions they are nonetheless a pretty spectacular sight when they're in full flight overhead © Pete Saunders (top photo - over Chesil Cove) and Martin Cade (middle and lower photos - over the Bill):

The Church Ope Black Redstart © Martin Adlam: 

...and one of the Southwell Fieldfares © Debby Saunders