9th October

Quality over quantity today, at least on the ground, with a Radde's Warbler at the Obs a nice highlight amongst an otherwise very poor showing of grounded arrivals - even the formerly much busier sheltered spots of cover around the middle of the island were uncharacteristically quiet, with Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs reduced to single figure totals at most; odds and ends of further interest did include singles of Kingfisher, Black Redstart and Firecrest at the Bill, another Firecrest at Old Hill and a Little Stint at Ferrybridge. The day's numbers were again overhead, where sample totals at the Bill included 1090 Linnets, 800 Meadow Pipits, 180 alba wagtails, 70 Goldfinches and 70 Skylarks, with 335 Linnets and 256 alba wagtails among the totals logged over New Ground; further interest amongst the lower totals overhead came in the form of 3 Snipe and singles of Grey Heron, Merlin, Hobby and Green Sandpiper over the Bill. With the exception of 400 Mediterranean Gulls the sea provided generally lower totals than yesterday, but 8 Balearic Shearwaters and singles of Sooty Shearwater, Great Skua and Arctic Skua were of note off the Bill.

Radde's Warblers are really chunky, characterful little birds with lots going on by way of interesting structure and plumage; outwardly rather subdued in dull light...

...but much more dazzlingly ochre and bronze with a bit of sun on them.

Of entirely esoteric interest, we were taken by events going on with the bird's tail. Anyone who's had the good fortune to handle a Radde's Warbler in autumn (when virtually all of those turning up in the UK are likely to be birds of the year) will be aware that they've got rather spectacularly spikey tail feathers. Today's bird was no exception, with the almost hook-tipped spikes on the right side of its tail very typical for youngsters of this species; however, the left side of its tail contained several much shorter, broader and blunter-tipped feathers - we're guessing that the bird had some sort of tail mishap a few weeks ago and that these noticeably differently shaped 'next generation' replacement feathers accord more with what we might see on an adult © Martin Cade:

But for the dogedness of our stalwart ringers at Culverwell we'd have been able to mention the odd little quirk of Kingfisher and Radde's Warbler - birds that travel something like 30 miles and 3000 miles respectively to get here - having been on 11 apiece in the all-time Portland ringing tally; as it was, Mark and Verity's unexpected catch (...has there ever been one trapped here in October before this?) kept Kingfisher one ahead for the time being © Martin Cade: