5th November

A cool, brisk northwestly and clear skies put paid to sea interest - the only petrel reported was a lingering single way off Blacknor that was suspected to be a Leach's but couldn't be clinched for certain - and attention returned to the sky that was once again filled with a record-breaking total of 41330 departing Wood Pigeons. Plenty more was on the move besides the pigeons, with further Bill totals that included 880 Goldfinches, 400 Starlings, 128 Chaffinches, 90 Meadow Pipits and 70 Linnets. The land remained the poor relation, with little more than a handful of grounded arrivals that included nothing of particular note; the long-staying Ring Ouzel was still about at the Bill and 4 Purple Sandpipers were back on the shore there.

Just a tiny bit of this morning's record-breaking Wood Pigeon passage: today's total of 41330 comfortably exceeded the previous day-record of 37000 on 1st November 2005, whilst our autumn total to date of 126140 is already heading towards twice the previous highest autumn total of 74120 that was also logged in 2005 © Martin Cade:

Great Northern Divers have been entertaining the photographers at Portland Harbour; several are juveniles that are usually the default at this time of year © Pete Saunders...

...but at least three have been adults in various stages of moulting out of summer plumage. Adults in summer plumage are easy enough to see in these parts - pretty well all of the fly-bys at the Bill in April and May are in breeding plumage and just the other day all four that passed right overhead there were also still in breeding plumage - but to see one, let alone three, in this plumage settled in the harbour is a very rare event:

This nice male Black Redstart at Portland Castle has also been a regular crowd-pleaser © John Martin: