16th October

On the nicest birding day for some while the middle of the island was veritably hopping with birds, with 5 Yellow-browed Warblers and singles of Ring Ouzel, Siberian Chiffchaff, Firecrest and Hawfinch the pick amongst high counts of a wide variety of thrushes, warblers and finches. The Bill was something of the poor relation but did chip with the rarity of the day when a Little Bunting that appeared over the Crown Estate Field during the afternoon eventually dropped in and was duly trapped there; also at the Bill, 3 Bramblings overhead were the first of the autumn, 500 Swallows and 250 Skylarks were worthy visible passage totals and scarcities included 2 Black  Redstarts, 2 Ring Ouzels and a Yellow-browed Warbler.

Maybe not surprisingly, our crops in the Crown Estate Field have become something of a Little Bunting hotspot in recent years and today we were able to watch the effectiveness of Joe Stockwell's 'ticking bunting' sound-lure that we've employed there in recent late autumns (we knew it was effective because, apart from Little Buntings, we've had the good fortune to stumble across Pine Bunting and Rustic Bunting in nets beside it in the last couple of years!). We happened to be in the field doing a net round when we first heard today's bird calling high overhead and we watched as it did several circuits over the field before plunging into the maize not far from the lure; on this occasion it didn't fly straight into a net but it wasn't long before it made its way toward the lure and was trapped © Martin Cade:  

In much calmer conditions overnight mothing at the Obs was considerably more rewarding than of late, with 2 more Radford's Flame Shoulders the best of the scarcer immigrants. Our highlight though was the long, long overdue first Clifden Nonpareil for the island - not much more than a decade ago this would have been a noteworthy capture anywhere but such has been the remarkable change in their status that, latterly, Portland has been one of the few regularly trapped sites in Dorset not to have had a record © Martin Cade: