26th September

Visible passage was again the order of the day under a crystal-clear sky with a brisk northerly blowing throughout. Strategically placed observers dipped in right across the island and duplication no doubt occurred but peak totals for the first couple of hours of daylight included 940 Meadow Pipits, 162 Siskins and 33 Redpolls; amongst a wide variety of lower totals, quality came in the from of 2 Crossbills over the Bill, a Hobby over Church Ope, a Woodlark over the Grove and a Lapland Bunting over High Angle Battery. It was much quieter on the ground, with a Ring Ouzel at High Angle Battery and a Firecrest at the Bill all that could be mustered by way of quality amongst the new arrivals; the 2 Little Stints also remained at Ferrybridge. The only sea news concerned 3 Balearic Shearwaters and a Pintail through off the Bill; a Wigeon also dropped in briefly at Ferrybridge.

The least expected bird in the nets today was this young female Merlin that was trapped deep inside the Obs garden; only later did we notice that there was a dead Meadow Pipit right under the net so the bird lost its elevenses in the course of allowing us the rare treat of handling this species - it's only the second one ever ringed at the Obs. We've got an oddly chequered history with in-hand Merlins: the first bird handled here - back in the early 1990s - was literally picked up off a fence post and turned out to be blind in one eye; it ended up seeing out its years at the Hawk Conservancy where it evidently paired up with another injured bird (which if we remember rightly - although this does sound slightly far-fetched! - had only one wing) and bred successfully for several years on the trot with the young being released back into the wild. Our second bird - and the first that was fit and healthy enough to be ringed - was, like today's bird, also netted in the Obs garden and ended up generating us a recovery because it was found dead elsewhere on the island several months later © Martin Cade:

A prolific winterer only a little way up the Fleet but always a good bird for the island - today's Wigeon at Ferrybridge © Pete Saunders:

It won't be long before Sanderling no longer features on the day list but this one was lingering on at Ferrybridge before it heads off for Africa © Roy Norris: