26th October

Lots of variety on offer today, with the land, the sky, the sea and the mudflats all chipping in with interest throughout the morning before the onset of frequent and sometimes heavy showers put paid to concerted fieldwork during the afternoon. The first return this season of a Black Brant to Ferrybridge - amongst 900 Dark-bellied and 2 Pale-bellied Brents - provided the only rarity of the day, although it was maybe overshadowed as a spectacle by the passage of 13970 Wood Pigeons over the Bill. Visible passage there also saw 700 Starlings, 440 Jackdaws, 260 Linnets, 155 Goldfinches, 130 Chaffinches, 125 Meadow Pipits and 76 Skylarks logged, with 8 Bramblings, a Merlin and a Woodlark amongst the lower totals there; another 6 Woodlarks passed over at mid-island sites. A small influx of Goldcrests featured on the ground, where 5 Ring Ouzels, 4 Black Redstarts and 2 Short-eared Owls were also dotted about. The sea was unexpectedly busy, with 1180 Kittiwakes, 25 Balearic Shearwaters, 3 Arctic Skuas and singles of Red-throated Diver and Sooty Shearwater through off the Bill, where up to 200 Gannets were feeding offshore.

Ferrybridge has now hosted Black Brant(s) for 18 consecutive winters © Debby Saunders:

Mark Cutts and Verity Hill, our stalwart owl-catchers, had a huge surprise yesterday evening when one of the Barn Owls they trapped in the Crown Estate Field at the Bill turned out to be a control, already ringed - and in fact also colour-ringed - elsewhere:

We received the ringing details today and it turns out that this bird was ringed by Tony John as a nestling 49 kms away at Chardstock, east Devon, on 7th June this year:

 BTO data (from more more than 4500 chicks ringed in the UK) tells us that the median juvenile dispersal distance up to 12 months after ringing is only 6.7 kms, so a 49 km movement is very unusual indeed. A fascinating recovery and a great result from Mark and Verity's hard work © Mark Cutts

Also received today from Martin Collinson at the University of Aberdeen were the results from the lab work on feather samples of our two Lesser Whitethroats on 28th and 30th September;

 Despite looking really quite different - we suspect mainly because the first bird was a youngster and the second was an adult (...although we're not sure how that explains away the noticeable wing-formula differences) - both these birds were confirmed to be blythi Siberian Lesser Whitethroats. As usual, many thanks indeed to Martin and his team.