1st November

A gradual ramping up of the wind strength ahead of the arrival of Storm Ciarán saw plenty of attention given to the sea with several sightings of perhaps as many as 4 Leach's Petrels along with a single Little Gull at Chesil Cove perhaps the vanguard of a larger seabird wreck should the forecast come to pass; routine seabird activity included the first Fulmar for a few weeks off the Bill, a Red-throated Diver through at Chesil Cove and a Great Northern Diver at Ferrybridge. Limited coverage of the land revealed just 2 Purple Sandpipers and singles of Merlin, Wheatear and Ring Ouzel at the Bill, 7 Bar-tailed Godwits at Ferrybridge and a Grey Plover and a Wheatear beside Portland Harbour.

One of the Leach's Petrels afforded a good view at Chesil Cove © John Martin:

The Grey Plover at Portland Harbour © Debby Saunders:

Chesil Cove is invariably a better bet for wrecked seabirds than the Bill so we took ourselves off there for a while following news of the Leach's Petrel. As that drew a blank we carried on to Radipole for a look at Tom Brereton's Ferruginous Duck that had relocated there from Lodmoor; our wellington boots proved woefully inadequate at coping with the flooded paths but once we'd waded to the appropriate viewpoint the duck obliged with some nice views. We're struggling to remember the last time there was a see-able Ferruginous Duck in the Weymouth area (postscript - it was November 2005 per Brett Spencer) - they were tolerably regular way back in the late 70s/early 80s but have now become genuine rarities in this part of the world © Martin Cade: