31st October

Did we need another bucketload of rain today? - no, certainly not, but there was a painful inevitability about it coming anyway. The only redeeming feature was that it held off for most of the morning and permitted another impressive pulse of overhead passage to develop as dawn broke, with a good momentum maintained for several hours afterwards. Wood Pigeons were the star turn, with 31500 south over the Bill; 275 Stock Doves were counted amongst them but very many more were presumably missed amongst the many pigeon flocks that were too high or distant for them to be distinguished. Further totals from the Bill included 825 Goldfinches, 450 Starlings, 320 Chaffinches, 165 Linnets and 125 Meadow Pipits, with a lone Cirl Bunting a notable highlight amongst the lower totals. It was far quieter on the ground, with a Caspian Gull easily the pick of what few arrivals there were at the Bill; a new Firecrest was, in the context of their very low numbers this autumn, also of interest there as was yesterday's late Sand Martin that lingered on for another day and the long-staying Ring Ouzel that remained in situ; amongst what ought to be more routine fare, thrushes were again all but absent. Away from the Bill, 2 Black Redstarts were at Chiswell and the Ferrybridge Mediterranean Gull total reached 1100.

For a bird almost entirely dismissed for most of the year the now nearly annual (it used to be a less frequent event with multiples of years passing with hardly any southbound passage logged) mass emigration of Wood Pigeons is a compelling spectacle; as Bill day-totals go, today's tally is second only to the 37000 logged on 1st November 2005 © Verity Hill:

Caspian Gulls are becoming a little more routine these days but the vast majority of records involve birds in first-winter plumage, so today's second-winter was a nice sight © Martin Cade: