8th November

A nice day and some nice late autumn birding with a decent pulse of finches and other typical early November migrants trickling through into the light northerly breeze. Totals from the Bill included 100 Chaffinches, 60 Starlings, 33 Redpolls, 27 Bramblings, 12 Long-tailed Tits, 12 Reed Buntings, 10 Redwings and 10 Siskins, with 2 each of Greylag Goose, Merlin, Woodcock, Bullfinch and Hawfinch, and singles of Lapwing and Black Redstart amongst the lower totals. Scrutiny elsewhere came up with a Siberian Chiffchaff at Portland Castle, a few Firecrests lingering on a several sites and 2 Black Redstarts at Church Ope Cove. The only reports from the water were of 8 Black-necked Grebes in Portland Harbour and singles of Red-throated Diver and Great Skua through off the Bill.

A lone White-speck was the only immigrant moth trapped overnight at the Obs.

November's a great month of miscellaneous oddities, with this morning's Greylag Geese moments after a Hawfinch being rather typical © Martin Cade:

Despite what for the most part has been a very mild late autumn it's been noticeable that lingering summer migrants have been in short supply. Swallows are often sufficiently numerous here in early November that we've even trapped and ringed multiples of them on occasions; this year though they've been conspicuously few and far between, with this bird being one of just five logged today © Joe Stockwell:

In remarking yesterday about the infrequency with which Snipe are photographed at Portland we were reminded of an intriguing one that we trapped and ringed here many years ago - 31st July 2000 to be precise (this bird was in the pre-digital era of slide film and it took us quite a time to lay our hands on the slides today and then to take some ropey camera photos of the slides!). The bird was intriguing because it was a 16 tail-feathered Common Snipe; they usually have just 14 tail feathers - with Wilson's usually having 16 - but apparently the numbers do vary:

Although this was before the era when Wilson's Snipe was a vogue species we must have been vaguely aware of some of the features to look out for as we took the trouble to also photograph the upper and underwing patterns which seem to confirm that it was a Common Snipe, although it's quite interesting that, for example, at least one of the secondary tips has a rather narrow white rim to it on the underside © Martin Cade: