5th November

A glorious autumnal day saw the day dawn crisp and clear. The early morning flurry of Chaffinches and Bramblings fizzled out rather rapidly, leaving the morning to be rescued by the arrival at the Bill of a Cattle Egret - it was always mobile but quite often settled amongst livestock before eventually heading away north. A smattering of additional late autumn staples overhead included single figures of Lapwing, Woodlark, Bullfinch, Redpoll and Reed Bunting, along with a rather measly 1000 Wood Pigeons and 500 Starlings. It was a little busier than in recent days on the ground, with the 2 Yellow-browed Warblers at Southwell being joined by the first Siberian Chiffchaff of the autumn; a handful more Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs and Goldcrests were evident, with the mist-nets also revealing an otherwise under the radar arrival of new Blue and Great Tits. A Grey Phalarope dropped in briefly at Ferrybridge, whilst winter fare included the odd Black Redstart here and there and singles of Great Northern Diver and Shelduck in Portland Harbour. 

Although of almost no consequence in most of Southern England, Cattle Egret's still a surprisingly high value bird at Portland - this was only the sixth record for the island © Pete Saunders (top) and Martin Cade (bottom):

The Southwell Siberian Chiffchaff was a really good performer © Pete Saunders:

Having just heard news of Pete and Debby's Siberian Chiffchaff we were rather amused to find that the next Chiffchaff that turned up in a net at the Obs was something that was about as far removed from a tristis as you could get - it was right at the other end of the saturation scale, being a swarthy brownish-olive above and in places almost yellow ochre beneath © Martin Cade:

Not everything looks as good - or better - in the hand than it does in the field but a Brambling is always a bird worth grossing out on at point blank range where the intricacies of their plumage can be fully appreciated © Martin Cade: