29th October

An intriguing day of gusting easterlies meant much focus was directed towards the sea. An early movement of 46 Barnacle Geese mulled around the Bill area for much of the morning heading back and forth out to sea, evidently unsure of which direction to head (probably something to do with the large bank of rain sitting in the channel between us and France). These weren't the only geese of the day as a flock of 8 'grey geese' heading south were later picked up in Normandy and were identified as Greylags. The sea continued its fine form with a male Pochard, a juvenile Pom Skua, four Velvet Scoter, a single Red-breasted Merganser and a large passage of Lesser Black-backed Gulls, Brent Geese, Common Scoters and Dunlin. Land-based movement was much quieter but a Jack Snipe flushed from beside the road outside the obs was the first for the autumn, two Ring Ouzels were frequenting the top fields along with 30 Fieldfares, Black Redstarts and Firecrests were still well into double figures, a Yellow-browed Warbler was at Old Hill and Lapwings were moving with a maximum flock size of 19 over Southwell.

There's something quite spectacular about skeins of geese passing over-head, especially when you hear them before you see them emerging from behind the trees and passing over the lighthouses of Portland © Pete Saunders (upper middle) & Martin Cade (others):

Some of the 19-strong Lapwing flock over Southwell this morning © Pete Saunders:

There are still plenty of Black Redstarts knocking about the island - this one was at Southwell © Dan Law:

Two Purple Sandpipers from below the Pulpit Rock, one of our more attractive winter visitors © Roger Hewitt:

And finally, Nick Hopper's sent us through results from his last nocturnal recording session on the night of 23rd/24th October:

A massive movement of thrushes with birds calling virtually continuously for much of the night.

Song Thrush and Redwing dominated with 5611 calls and 4920 calls logged respectively. For Song Thrush around 70% of the calls were before midnight resulting in an average of 1 call every 4.5 seconds for the 5 hour period, although in reality the calls often came in rapid fire pulses.

Redwing calls started slower but continued in large numbers further into the night.

Blackbirds were also on the move with 388 calls logged. Very small numbers until midnight, the biggest pushes coming between 2 and 4am.

Also logged:

Ring Ouzel 5

Fieldfare 2

Goldcrest 28

Robin 16

Water Rail 3

Moorhen 2

Common Snipe 2

Golden Plover

Short-eared Owl

Grey Heron

Two late Tree Pipits and a Yellow Wagtail were also notable.