November 2008

30th November

An extremely grim end to the month: constant light rain, a raw north-easterly and daylight at a premium. On the bird front the only real change was in numbers, with 2110 Dark-bellied Brents, 150 Dunlin, 30 Mediterranean Gulls, 28 Pale-bellied Brents and a Black Brant at Ferrybridge, 30 Blackbirds, 25 Chaffinches, 2 Lapwings, a Snipe, a Mistle Thrush, a Blackcap and a Chiffchaff overhead/grounded at the Bill and 19 Mediterranean Gull, 4 Common Scoter and an Eider on the sea there.

Late news for yesterday: a few overflying wildfowl at Ferrybridge included 5 Pintail, a Teal and a Pochard.







   a bit of Greenfinch detail - Portland Bill, 28th November 2008 © Martin Cade

...we've spent so much time lately finishing last year's bird report that we haven't been able to indulge in things like ageing and sexing photos. Considering that it's the staple ever-present bird at PBO it's rather odd that we haven't featured a single photograph of Greenfinch on the website - they certainly are taken for granted! We'll start by having a look at the two extremes: an adult male and a first year female. Sexing is pretty straightforward with, for example, the extent of yellow on the primaries and tail feathers being features that can be used at any age from nestling upwards. What we ought to have done at the start of this series is to give a general overview/introduction to moult and ageing so we wouldn't have to keep repeating ourselves but until we sort that one out just take a look at the obvious differences between these two birds. The adult male is uniformly fresh as the feathers are all from the same generation and, being an adult, individual feathers tend to be broad, rounded and of decent quality. The first year female looks altogether more ragged, with individual feathers tending to be less broad, more pointed at the tips and, since they're of poorer quality, already getting very worn at the tips. Importantly, two generations of feathers are visible in, for example, the greater coverts where the outer two feathers are of the pale tipped juvenile generation and the rest of the tract are adult-like feathers that were grown during the post-juvenile moult. And just as you were getting complacent and thinking that this moult and ageing lark is a doddle....think again: it quite often isn't and, in particular,  there's nothing like a Greenfinch to throw a spanner in the works....

  29th November

On a bitterly cold day there were just a few snippets of news: 16 Pale-bellied Brents and a Black Brant again at Ferrybridge, 280 Starlings, 4 Bramblings, 3 Fieldfares and 3 Redwings passing overhead at the Bill, a Chiffchaff and a Firecrest still in the Obs garden and 15 Common Scoter and a Mediterranean Gull offshore at the Bill.



   Blackcap - Portland Bill, 28th November 2008 © Martin Cade

  28th November

Ferrybridge produced the numbers today (the tide is presently just right for early morning goose watching there) with a record count of 2300 Dark-bellied Brent Geese; 16 Pale-bellied Brents and both the Black Brants were also there, whilst nearby a flock of 10 Mallards flying over the Beach Road was a good mid-winter record and there were 2 Great Northern Divers in Portland Harbour. With calm conditions having returned there was also decent coverage of the Bill area, which revealed a dozen Linnets, 10 Song Thrushes, 4 Purple Sandpipers, 2 Turnstones, 2 Blackcaps, 2 Goldcrests, 2 Firecrests, a Short-eared Owl and a Chiffchaff on the land, a couple of Mediterranean Gulls lingering offshore and a Red-breasted Merganser through on the sea.

Late news for yesterday: 40 Common Scoter and a Great Skua were at Chesil Cove in the afternoon.



   December Moth - Portland Bill, 27th November 2008 © Martin Cade

  27th November

A couple of passing heavy showers spoilt what was otherwise a pleasant albeit increasingly windy day. The only reports were from the Bill: a Blackcap remained in the Obs garden and 3 Red-throated Divers, 2 Common Scoter and a lone Great Skua passed though offshore.

In nice still and mild conditions overnight the Obs garden moth-traps were unexpectedly busy: the pick of the catch was a December Moth (a common enough species 'inland' but only the third Portland record and the first here for 10 years), whilst 12 Rusty-dot Pearl and a White-speck made up the immigrant list; resident species on the wing included Light Brown Apple Moth, Crocidosema plebejana, Double-striped Pug, Large Yellow Underwing, Beaded Chestnut, Lunar Underwing, Red-line Quaker, Satellite, Brick, Angle Shades and Feathered Ranunculus.


A note for Obs members: we've posted out our autumn newsletter and 2007 annual report today. After each of our last couple of mailings we've had a number of items returned with 'no longer at this address' notes attached to them; if you're a paid-up Obs member and haven't informed us of a change of address or for some other reason this mailing doesn't reach you then do please let us know.



   Firecrest - Portland Bill, 26th November 2008 © Martin Cade

  26th November

Much duller and drabber today but new arrivals were still trickling in. Most of the reports were from the Bill area where 60 Starlings arrived in off the sea, new Blackbirds and Chaffinches were dropping in in small numbers and 10 Redwings, 5 Fieldfares, 3 Firecrests, 3 Bramblings, 2 Water Rails, 2 Lapwings, 2 Blackcaps, a Short-eared Owl, a Chiffchaff and a Goldcrest made up the rest of the numbers; 16 Common Scoter were settled offshore and 2 Eider also passed through on the sea. The only other news was of 2 Short-eared Owls at Barleycrates Lane.



   Lapwing - Portland Bill, 25th November 2008 © Martin Cade

  25th November

Clear blue skies and sunshine today although a keen north wind was a constant feature. The strength and direction of the wind proved to be helpful from the birding point of view as the first few hours of the morning saw a constant trickle of birds arriving in off the sea, with the Bill area producing 27 Redwings, 26 Lapwings, 19 Fieldfares, 4 Siskins, a Golden Plover, a Snipe, a Woodcock and a Mistle Thrush; quite a few new Blackbirds, Song Thrushes and Chaffinches were also in evidence along with long-stayers such as 4 Purple Sandpipers, 4 Short-eared Owls and a Blackcap. The only report from the sea was of 3 Shelduck passing the Bill.



   Long-tailed Tit - Southwell, 23rd November 2008 © Pete Saunders

...Long-tailed Tits are still present around the island in much higher numbers than usual; 27 have been trapped and ringed at the Obs in the last month (the record total is 31 ringed in 1974) and since we haven't received any reports of ringed birds being seen elsewhere on the island it may be that most of these were wandering here from further afield.

  24th November

A surprisingly pleasant start to the day gave way to a freshening and chilly north-easterly. Most of what few reports there were came from the Bill: 5 Song Thrushes, 2 Siskins and singles of Short-eared Owl, Redwing, Blackcap and Chiffchaff on the land and 2 diver spp and a Mediterranean Gull through on the sea; another unidentified diver passed high overhead at Southwell.

23rd November

A very wild day with a spell of gale force south-westerlies and heavy rain early in the morning followed by clearer but still very blustery conditions for the rest of the day. A Redwing and a Blackcap were at the Bill but all the rest of the interest was on the sea, with 400 auks, 6 Teal, 5 Fulmars, 4 Great Skuas, 2 Red-throated Divers, 2 Black-throated Divers, a Sooty Shearwater, a Golden Plover and a Red-breasted Merganser passing through off the Bill.

22nd November

Heavily overcast skies and occasionally drizzly spells dropped a few more late migrants today. All the reports were again from the Bill where there were 12 Fieldfares, 5 Redwings, 3 Blackcaps, 2 Short-eared Owls, 2 Bramblings, a Water Rail, a Goldcrest and a Firecrest on the land and 6 Common Scoter and a Red-throated Diver passed through on the sea.

21st November

Just another very minor flurry of late migrants along with a few established winterers today. All the reports were from the Bill where there were 3 Purple Sandpipers, 3 Redwings, 2 Turnstones, 2 Blackcaps and singles of Short-eared Owl, Fieldfare, Chiffchaff, Firecrest, Siskin and Brambling on the land and a lone Red-throated Diver through on the sea.



   Scarce Umber - Portland Bill, 20th November 2008 © Martin Cade

  20th November

What a difference a day makes....yesterday provided late migrants in plenty but today was not far short of a dead loss. At the Bill the few birds that were fresh in or on the move overhead included a handful of Chaffinches, 2 Blackcaps, 2 Fieldfares, 2 Redwings, a Little Egret, a Golden Plover and a Bullfinch; singles of Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Firecrest were also still lingering on there from recent days. The only other reports were of 11 Common Scoter, 5 Black-headed Gulls and a Mediterranean Gull passing through off the Bill.

We sometimes wonder why we don't just leave the Obs garden moth-traps on 365 nights a year and last night proved to be a case in point: having been poorly rewarded in recent nights and bearing in mind the time of year and the pretty unpromising weather forecast we didn't bother to switch the traps on at dusk; just after midnight we potted an unfamiliar moth from the outside of the Obs kitchen window and on examination it turned out to be a Scarce Umber - a new species for Portland. With the traps not lit we'll never know quite how many other wanderers from inland made landfall at the Bill last night!




Hen Harrier - Portland Bill, 19th November 2008 © Martin Cade

  19th November

Not a particularly long list today but on the plus side pretty well everything logged at the Bill was a new arrival; a passing Hen Harrier was the highlight, whilst the supporting cast included 100 Chaffinches, 75 Blackbirds, 48 Redwings, 20 Fieldfares, 20 Song Thrushes, 6 Bramblings, 2 Swallows and singles of Dartford Warbler, Chiffchaff, Goldcrest, Firecrest and Reed Bunting.

Several Red Admirals were still on the wing today.

The immigrant moth tally continued to dwindle at the Obs where the traps produced just 3 Rusty-dot Pearl and a White-speck.

18th November

The only reports so far have been of a few late migrants at the Bill: a handful of new Blackbirds and Song Thrushes at dawn, a trickle of Chaffinches overhead throughout the day, and 16 Redwings, 8 Fieldfares, 5 Swallows and singles of Golden Plover, Blackcap, Firecrest and Reed Bunting.

Immigrants in the Obs garden moth-traps this morning: 4 Rusty-dot Pearl, 2 White-speck and 1 Silver Y.




Blackbird bearing a Swedish ring controlled at the Obs today - Portland Bill, 17th November 2008 © Martin Cade

...rather surprisingly this is the first Swedish-ringed Blackbird controlled at Portland (although there is a recovery in the opposite direction of a Portland-ringed autumn bird that was controlled in a subsequent spring at Ottenby). While we're on the subject of ringing recoveries we heard back today on one of yesterday's Brent Geese at Ferrybridge (enlarged photo below © Richard Cawley); evidently the bird was ringed as a moulting adult female on 31st July at the Pyasina Delta in the Taimyr Peninsula, Russia (which is the core breeding area of Dark-bellied Brent Geese in the central Russian Arctic and is something like 4600 km from Ferrybridge!)


  17th November

A damp, drizzly dawn saw a nice flurry of late migrants including one of the better arrivals of thrushes of the autumn. The Bill area produced totals that included 750 Starlings, 260 Redwings, 35 Fieldfares, 11 Lapwings, 4 Goldcrests, 3 Black Redstarts, 2 Blackcaps, 2 Siskins, a Snipe, a Purple Sandpiper, a Short-eared Owl and a Firecrest, whilst elsewhere the Yellow-browed Warbler remained at Wakeham, 2 Black Redstarts and a Firecrest were at Church Ope Cove, another Firecrest was at Avalanche Church and another Black Redstart was at Reap Lane. Seawatching at the Bill produced 11 Common Scoter, 8 Teal, 4 Mediterranean Gulls, a Red-throated Diver and a Balearic Shearwater.

Another small catch of immigrants in the Obs garden moth-traps included 12 Rusty-dot Pearl, 4 Silver Y, 2 Turnip Moth and a Diamond-back Moth.




Clouded Yellow and a colour-ringed Brent Goose - Portland Bill and Ferrybridge, 16th November 2008 © Martin Cade (Clouded Yellow) and Richard Cawley (Brent Goose)

...the Brent was one of at least two colour-ringed birds at Ferrybridge today - ringing details to follow when we receive them.

  16th November

A few more breaks in the cloud today but still very little by way of new arrivals. The wide ranging Yellow-browed Warbler in the Pennsylvania Castle area and one of the Black Brants at Ferrybridge were again the highlights, with the best of the rest being 132 Mediterranean Gulls and 8 Pale-bellied Brent Geese at Ferrybridge, 2 Firecrests and a Black Redstart at Church Ope Cove, 6 Bramblings, 3 Purple Sandpipers, a Black Redstart and a Firecrest at the Bill and 2 Red-throated Divers and a Velvet Scoter passing through off the Bill. There was little change from recent days in the supporting cast of commoner migrants/winterers.

A Clouded Yellow was again on the wing at the Bill.

The overnight mothing at the Obs also showed little change, with 3 Rusty-dot Pearl, 2 White-speck and a Silver Y the only immigrants and Brick the only commoner species to add to the list of residents still on the wing.

15th November

Rather quiet, dreary conditions again today, with the pick of the sightings being of a Yellow-browed Warbler at Pennsylvania Castle and a Black Brant at Ferrybridge. Among the commoner species there was a mixture of late autumn migrants and winterers that included 70 Mediterranean Gulls and a Sanderling at Ferrybridge, 3 Great Northern Divers, a Red-necked Grebe and a Slavonian Grebe in Portland Harbour and 150 Goldfinches, 100 Chaffinches, 50 Starlings,  5 Swallows, 3 Redwings, 2 Firecrests, 2 Bramblings, 2 Siskins, a Water Rail, a Black Redstart, a Chiffchaff, a Redpoll and a Reed Bunting overhead or on the ground the Bill and 7 Common Scoter and a Mediterranean Gull off the Bill.

Red Admiral and Clouded Yellow were both still on the wing at the Bill.

There was no improvement in overnight mothing at the Obs: the only immigrants were 6 Rusty-dot Pearl, 2 Silver Y and 1 White-speck, whilst Dark Chestnut, Yellow-line Quaker, Blair's Shoulder-knot and a late Cabbage Moth were the only additions to yesterday's list of resident  species still on the wing.



a Black Brant photo from yesterday showing the second of the two birds - Ferrybridge, 13th November 2008 © Pete Saunders

  14th November

Mild and dry but very overcast and drab today. At the Bill overhead passage was almost non-existent, but a few thrushes - including 7 Fieldfares, 5 Redwings and a Mistle Thrush - did drop in, another 5 Long-tailed Tits were new arrivals and 4 Purple Sandpipers, 2 Short-eared Owls, 2 Firecrests, a Water Rail, a Black Redstart, a Chiffchaff and a Goldcrest were still present. The only other reports were of a few birds offshore at the Bill: 3 Mediterranean Gulls and the first returning Fulmar lingering offshore and 18 Common Scoter and singles of Red-throated Diver, Black-throated Diver and Little Egret passing by. Elsewhere there were 2 Great Northern Divers and a Black-necked Grebe in Portland Harbour.

With the overnight conditions looking vaguely interesting we put out a few extra moth-traps at the Obs but were poorly rewarded: the only immigrants caught were 9 Rusty-dot Pearl, 3 Silver Y and 2 White-speck; resident species still on the wing included Anthophila fabriciana, Scrobipalpa costella, Light Brown Apple Moth, Crocidosema plebejana, Emmelina monodactyla, Large Yellow Underwing, Lesser Yellow Underwing, Beaded Chestnut, Lunar Underwing, Red-line Quaker, Black Rustic, Angle Shades and Feathered Ranunculus.

13th November

Dreary at dawn and wet before lunchtime. Despite the overcast skies there were a fair number of birds - including 250 Starlings, 200 Goldfinches, 100 Chaffinches, 7 Bramblings, 3 Fieldfares, 3 Redwings, 3 Redpolls, 2 Swallows, 2 Reed Buntings and a Grey Wagtail - on the move overhead at the Bill during the first couple of hours of the morning. Small numbers of new Blackbirds dropped in at the Bill where there were also 2 Firecrests and singles of Black Redstart, Chiffchaff and Goldcrest; another Black Redstart was at Weston. The Brent Goose flock at Ferrybridge totalled 1500 Dark-bellied, 19 Pale-bellied and 2 Black Brants, a Great Northern Diver and a Red-necked Grebe were in Portland Harbour and seawatching at the Bill produced 20 Common Scoter, 6 Mediterranean Gulls, 4 Red-breasted Mergansers, 3 Red-throated Divers and a Curlew.

A small improvement in overnight mothing saw the Obs garden immigrant total increase to 4 Rusty-dot Pearl, 2 White-speck, a Pearly Underwing and a Delicate.




Black Brant and Pale-bellied Brent Goose - Ferrybridge, 12th November 2008 © Pete Saunders

  12th November

A really pleasant sunny day with the strong wind of recent days having dropped right away. There wasn't too much by way of new arrivals on the ground but the trickle overhead included 225 Wood Pigeons, 13 Bramblings, 11 Redwings, 5 Siskins, 3 Reed Buntings, 2 Swallows and 2 Redpolls at the Bill. Most of what was seen on the ground looked to be lingering on from previous days, with 3 Purple Sandpipers, 2 Firecrests, a Water Rail and a Short-eared Owl being the best on offer at the Bill, whilst elsewhere there were another 2 Firecrests at Church Ope Cove and 12 Pale-bellied Brents and a Black Brant were again at Ferrybridge. Two Mediterranean Gulls and a Black-throated Diver passed through on the sea at the Bill.

Red Admiral and Clouded Yellow were both still on the wing today.

Three Rusty-dot Pearl and a Silver Y were the only immigrants in the Obs garden moth-traps this morning.





Kestrel, Short-eared Owl and Wigeon - Church Ope Cove, Portland Bill and Ferrybridge, 11th November 2008 © Martin Cade (Kestrel and SEO) and Pete Saunders (Wigeon)

  11th November

Still very blustery but otherwise much finer today. There seemed to be very few new arrivals on the ground but a light southbound passage of finches - mainly Chaffinches and Goldfinches - at the Bill included 4 Bramblings; 2 late Swallows were also overhead there and a Redshank passed over at Southwell. Left-overs on the ground included at least 3 Firecrests at the Bill and another at Pennsylvania Castle and at least 1 Short-eared Owl still at the Bill. Two Bar-tailed Godwits and a Wigeon were at Ferrybridge where the Brent Goose flock topped 1400 Dark-bellied and 26 Pale-bellied. Sewatching produced just 1 Red-throated Diver off the Bill.

Two Rusty-dot Pearl were the only immigrants in the Obs garden moth-traps this morning.

10th November

A truly miserable day of constant rain and strong winds. One of the Black Brants that has returned to winter on the Fleet was at Ferrybridge, along with at least 14 Pale-bellied Brents, this morning and at least 2 Firecrests were still in the Obs garden.


The next In Focus field event at the Obs takes place between 10am and 4pm tomorrow, Tuesday 11th November.

  9th November

Another rough day that produced precious little on the sea: 12 Common Scoter, 3 Shelduck, 3 Eider and 3 Little Gulls at Chesil Cove and 230 Kittiwakes, 17 Common Scoter, 3 Shelduck and a Mediterranean Gull off the Bill. Three Purple Sandpipers and 2 Firecrests at the Bill and 2 Ring Ouzels at Penn's Weare were the pick of the reports from the land.

Five Rusty-dot Pearl were the only immigrants in the Obs garden moth-traps this morning.

8th November

After a wet and windy night the day's highlight - a Grey Phalarope at Chesil Cove - wasn't all together surprising; 12 Common Scoter, a Great Northern Diver, a Manx Shearwater, a Shelduck and a Little Gull were also there, a late Sandwich Tern passed through at Ferrybridge and a couple of hundred storm-driven Kittiwakes were lingering off the Bill. On the land the sheltered spots received quite a bit of attention but returned nothing much more than a late Garden Warbler at Easton, 4 Firecrests at the Obs and another single Firecrest at Pennsylvania Castle; passage overhead was restricted to 2 Redpolls and a Siskin amongst small numbers of commoner finches over the Bill. The only other news was of 12 Pale-bellied Brents amongst 576 Dark-bellied Brent Geese at Ferrybridge.

7th November

At this time of year there's nothing like a brisk westerly to knock the birding on the head and sure enough today's tally was pretty dismal. The Yellow-browed Warbler remained at Easton, where a Great Spotted Woodpecker also showed up, but the best that the Bill could muster was 4 Firecrests and singles of Water Rail, Grey Wagtail and Brambling; another Firecrest was at the Grove. The only news from the sea was of 20 Common Scoter and a Mediterranean Gull passing the Bill.

Two late Speckled Wood butterflies were still on the wing at the Obs.

Another small haul of immigrant moths in the Obs garden traps included 18 Rusty-dot Pearl, 3 Silver Y and a Pearly Underwing.



Yellow-browed Warbler - Easton, 6th November 2008 © Martin Cade

  6th November

Far fewer new arrivals today. Overhead passage was restricted to little more than a few dozen thrushes and finches although 400 new Wood Pigeons over Southwell did perhaps hint at what might have been moving if it hadn't been quite so heavily overcast. The pick of the day's list for the Bill area included 9 Reed Buntings, 5 Bramblings, 3 Fieldfares, 3 Blackcaps, 3 Firecrests, 2 Siskins, a Merlin, a Water Rail, a Snipe, a Short-eared Owl, a Black Redstart, a Ring Ouzel and a Redpoll, whilst reports from elsewhere included a Yellow-browed Warbler in the vicarage garden at All Saints Church, Easton, a Tree Pipit at Easton, a Woodcock at Weston and 2 Ring Ouzels at both Barleycrates Lane and Penn's Weare.

Immigrant moths lingering on included 40 Rusty-dot Pearl, 7 Silver Y and a Dark Sword Grass trapped overnight at the Obs.





Typical scenes from a good thrush day: Blackbirds scooting through the Obs garden at close range....many of them just clearing the mist-nets....others simply passing straight through over the open fields - Portland Bill, 5th November 2008 © Martin Cade

  5th November

...and still the thrushes and finches keep coming. Today saw plenty more late passage with the usual trio of Blackbird, Redwing and Chaffinch all reaching the 200+ mark at the Bill; Song Thrushes and Starlings were a little less numerous there, whilst making up the variety there were 25 Bramblings, 20 Fieldfares, 16 Long-tailed Tits, 10 Blackcaps, 7 Swallows, 6 Goldcrests, 5 Chiffchaffs, 4 Woodcock, 4 Mistle Thrushes, 2 Redpoll, a Golden Plover, a Purple Sandpiper, a Snipe, a Black Redstart and a Firecrest. Elsewhere there were 2 more Woodcock at Avalanche Road.

In milder and less windy conditions overnight 22 Rusty-dot Pearl, 6 Silver Y and a White-speck provided some immigrant interest in the Obs garden moth-traps.





  Redwing lifting off into the dawn sky, Woodcock and a bit of Woodcock detail: surely the ultimate woodland camouflage - Portland Bill, 4th November 2008 © Martin Cade

  4th November

A nice selection to report again today with more thrushes, finches and other typical late autumn fare trickling through all day. A Pink-footed Goose flying over Ferrybridge was a decent highlight, but most of the action was at the Bill where another 550 Starlings arrived in off the sea, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Redwing and Chaffinch all reached the 100-200 level and among the lesser counts there were 23 Bramblings, 16 Long-tailed Tits, 10 Goldcrests, 6 Fieldfares, 6 Blackcaps, 6 Redpolls, 5 Short-eared Owls, 4 Black Redstarts, 3 Lapwings, 3 Woodcock, 3 Swallows, 3 Firecrests, a Merlin, a Wheatear, a Dartford Warbler and a Tree Sparrow. Interest on the sea consisted of just 2 Red-throated Divers, 2 Brent Geese and a Great Northern Diver passing the Bill.




  Blackbird and Pale-bellied Brent Goose - Portland Bill and Ferrybridge, 3rd November 2008 © Martin Cade (Blackbird) and Pete Saunders (Pale-bellied Brent)

  3rd November

Busier again today with more breaks in the heavy cloud cover seemingly tempting the thrushes and finches back into the air. The morning's totals at the Bill included 400 each of Redwing and Blackbird, 270 Starlings, 250 Chaffinches, 100 Song Thrushes, 50 Skylarks, 34 Lapwings, 15 Fieldfares, 3 Woodcock, 2 Golden Plover, 2 Snipe, 2 Black Redstarts, 2 Long-tailed Tits, 2 Bramblings, a Short-eared Owl, a House Martin, a Wheatear, a Ring Ouzel, a Dartford Warbler and a Crossbill; a good deal more of the same elsewhere included 2 Swallows at Southwell. The sea wasn't as productive as over the weekend but odds and ends passing the Bill did still include 53 Common Scoter, 4 Teal, 3 Brent Geese, 3 Wigeon, 2 Red-throated Divers, 2 Eider, a Shelduck and a Great Skua.

Also of interest, and thanks to the efforts of Willy Raitière, we have managed to circumvent the usual procedure and have learnt that the French-ringed Blackbird we controlled on 28th October had been ringed in Nord Pas-de-Calais (at the far end of the English Channel) on 18th October.

A few moths were on the wing in slightly milder conditions overnight, with the Obs garden traps producing 2 Rusty-dot Pearl, 2 Silver Y and a White-speck by way of immigrants.

And finally, we've been very remiss in not keeping up with adding details of several Obs member's websites/blogs to our links page; those that we can remember straight away are: 

Birds, Birding, and me....

Dave Gove Photography

Firecrest wildlife photography


...we've probably lost details of some other sites on scraps of paper in the office so if we've forgotten you do please remind us.



  Ring Ouzel - Portland Bill, 2nd November 2008 © Martin Cade

  2nd November

Rather inexplicably it was much quieter overhead today with precious little of the decent passage of thrushes and finches seen over the last couple of days. The best of what was around at the Bill included 7 Long-tailed Tits (all newcomers and so additional to the 8 trapped and ringed over the last three days), 4 Firecrests (including 2 new arrivals), 2 Lapwings, 2 Black Redstarts, a Snipe, a Woodcock, a Short-eared Owl and a Ring Ouzel; another Firecrest was at Avalanche Road and 91 Mediterranean Gulls, 12 Pale-bellied Brent Geese and another Short-eared Owl were at Ferrybridge. The sea came up with plenty more of interest although, as so often happens with fly-by wildfowl in dodgy light and at great distance, the unidentified category had plenty of entries; the best of the day's totals at the Bill were 47 Common Scoter, 18 Wigeon, 9 Teal, 4 Shoveler, 3 Gadwall, 2 Red-throated Divers, a Black-throated Diver, a Brent Goose, a Pintail and a Little Auk.



  Fieldfare - Southwell, 1st November 2008 © Pete Saunders

  1st November

A dismal start to November with a dreary, very chilly morning giving way to an afternoon of non-stop rain but at least the birding wasn't too bad. The Bill area got most of the coverage and, like yesterday, most of what was logged was heading straight through into a stiff north-easterly; the morning's totals there included 500 Chaffinches, 150 Blackbirds, 45 Redwings, 40 Song Thrushes, 19 Bramblings, 15 Fieldfares, 10 Goldcrests, 6 Lapwings, 4 Sparrowhawks (all giving the impression of being migrants on the move), 4 Long-tailed Tits, 4 Redpolls, 4 Reed Buntings, 3 Snipe, 3 Grey Wagtails, 3 Siskins, a House Martin, a Black Redstart and a Wheatear. There was more of the same elsewhere, with a new Yellow-browed Warbler providing additional interest at Southwell. The sea was also worth a look, with 56 Common Scoter, 4 Pintail, 3 Wigeon, a Great Northern Diver, a Brent Goose and a Scaup the best of the miscellany passing the Bill.