6th November

A day of variety if not numbers, with the chief prize being Portland's first record of Mandarin Duck - a pair flying west past the Bill during the morning. With the first touch of frost of the season on the ground at dawn a fall of migrants hadn't looked to be on the cards but 17 Long-tailed Tits, 2 Bullfinches and singles of Merlin, Ring Ouzel and Yellowhammer were of note amongst the light scatter of new arrivals at the Bill; 3 Firecrests were still there, whilst elsewhere 5 Bramblings were settled at Southwell and a Black Redstart was still at Blacknor It was busier overhead, with 220 Wood Pigeons, 120 Chaffinches, 37 Skylarks, 32 Bramblings, 18 Redpolls, 10 Siskins, a Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Hawfinch through at the Bill, Singles of Great Northern Diver, Black-throated Diver and Pale-bellied Brent Goose passed through off the Bill.

Yesterday's remarks about expecting the unexpected in November proved to be rather prophetic, with the last of the faintly likely 'plastic' Category C species on the British List that hadn't yet made it onto the Portland list showing up in precisely the circumstances that had been envisaged, when this pair of Mandarin Ducks flew past the Bill during the morning. Fortunately, the attentiveness of their lone observer - who wasn't even actually seawatching at the time - ensured that there's a nice photographic record of the event to rub salt into the wounds of two well-known Portland listers who could easily have seen them had they not at that moment been otherwise engaged in earnest tittle-tattle on the Obs patio © Joe Stockwell:

Properly settled Bramblings aren't a frequent sight at Portland so this little group at Southwell were a nice surprise © Debby Saunders:

Merlin and Purple Sandpiper at the Bill this morning © Joe Stockwell: