18th October

Although it remained very mild there was a profound upheaval today as the progress of a weather front saw wind and rain set in and, towards evening, thick fog cloak the island. A few hours of fieldwork were possible before the rain arrived but the rewards on the land were low-key: what's presumably one of the returning Black Brants showed up for the first time at Ferrybridge but migrant numbers showed no great improvement, with two each of Merlin and Brambling, and singles of Golden Plover, Snipe and Firecrest as good as it got at the Bill. The sea was considerably more productive, with 13 Arctic Skuas, six Great Skuas, two Pomarine Skuas and a Manx Shearwater through off the Bill along with a constant procession of gulls that included, at times, Kittiwakes at 400 per hour and Black-headed Gulls at 100 per hour.

One of the day's Merlins © Andy Swash WILDGuides.co.uk

We have absolutely no clue as to what's going with Black-headed Gulls just at the moment, save to say that the numbers being logged at the Bill - where there have been many hundreds passing on some days in the last fortnight - are unprecedented in modern memory, if not ever © Martin Cade: