8th October

A real enjoyable mild mid-October day that had everything except a rarity: grounded migrants increased conspicuously, visible passage begun to include classic seasonable fare like thrushes and Reed Buntings and the sea still provided constant interest. With yesterday's claggy conditions replaced by lightly overcast skies migration picked up nicely, with the likes of Robins, Stonechats and Chiffchaffs numerous everywhere; the season's first Black Redstarts (two at the Bill) and Redwings (two at the Bill and 11 at Southwell/Easton) were joined on the day list by a few less frequent migrants including 2 Grasshopper Warblers and singles of Yellow-legged Gull, Short-eared Owl and Nightjar at the Bill and a Firecrest at Southwell. Visible passage was varied rather than heavy, with 12 Cattle Egrets through at East Weare/Portland Harbour the highlight; 60 Siskins and 3 Snipe over the Bill were also noteworthy. At sea the continuing aggregations of gulls off the Bill included 600 Mediterranean Gulls, 100 Black-headed Gulls (a really huge total for the Bill) and a Little Gull, whilst 14 passing Arctic Skuas took their month total to more than 70 - a pretty creditable total for a formerly frequent autumn migrant that's been far scarcer in recent years; 113 Common Scoter, 10 Brent Geese, five Sandwich Terns, two Great Skuas and a Teal also passed by.

The Little Gull was great to see amongst the seething mass of other gulls offshore - it looked so tiny and out of place when settled that we were told it was even mistakenly reported as a Grey Phalarope on one occasion © Joe Stockwell:

Although gulls aren't everyone's cup of tea the Culverwell gull flock receives remarkable little attention from the majority of visitors which is a bit odd considering it's become probably the most reliable readily accessible location in Dorset for both Caspian Gull and Yellow-legged Gull in recent years - this Yellow-legged Gull was a new arrival there today © Joe Stockwell:

Once we get into mid-October it's always nice to get some tangible evidence that the likes of the odd late Yellow Wagtails and Tree Pipits that fly over calling really are what they sound like - this Yellow Wagtail passed over at the Bill this morning © Joe Stockwell: