November 2013

30th November

Not much of an improvement on yesterday, although the sunny skies did at least make the searching a good deal more pleasant. Two new Blackcaps, a Grey Heron and a Redwing on the land and 5 Red-throated Divers and 2 Black-throated Divers through on the sea provided the only interest at the Bill. Elsewhere one of the Black Brants was at Ferrybridge, 2 Mallards flew over there and 13 Black-necked Grebes, a Great Northern Diver and an Eider were in Portland Harbour.

29th November

The winter doldrums set in with a vengeance today: there was a bit of a change in the weather, with the north-westerly breeze freshening all the time, but in comparison with recent days it looked very much like the migrant tap had been turned off. There were a few new Blackbirds, along with 4 Redwings and 2 Fieldfares, knocking about at the Bill, but the only other bird of note there was a Pomarine Skua through on the sea. Elsewhere the Black-necked Grebe tally in Portland Harbour increased to 23.



  Firecrest - Southwell, 28th November 2013 © Joe Stockwell Yet another birding blog

  28th November

More of the same in all respects today: the dreary, still anticyclonic conditions remained in situ and late migrants were still on the move. Thrushes made up the bulk of the new arrivals at the Bill, where totals included 55 Redwings, 50 Blackbirds, 28 Fieldfares and a Mistle Thrush; 2 Reed Buntings and singles of Lapwing, Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Brambling were also new there, whilst elsewhere a Firecrest was a newcomer at Avalanche Road. Long-stayers still about included 2 Purple Sandpipers and a Firecrest at the Bill. Seawatching at the Bill came up with 10 Red-throated Divers and a Velvet Scoter.

27th November

There was a decent feel to the morning, with the cloud that rolled in overnight knocking down a few thrushes, Starlings and other late migrants. The morning's highlight - a Siberian Chiffchaff trapped and ringed at dawn at the Obs - was most likely a left over from yesterday, but new arrivals at the Bill included 1300 Starlings (500 of which were also logged over Blacknor), 50 Redwings, 50 Chaffinches, 15 each of Fieldfare and Blackbird, 2 Black Redstarts, 2 Reed Buntings, a Little Egret, a Woodcock; another Woodcock was a new arrival at Church Ope Cove, whilst wintering Firecrests were still to be seen there and at the Bill. The sea was the poor relation today, coming up with just 3 Red-throated Divers through off the Bill and 16 Black-necked Grebes, 2 Great Northern Divers, an Eider and a Common Scoter still about in Portland Harbour.




  Barn Owl and Dunlin - Portland Bill and Ferrybridge, 26th November 2013 © David Rashley (Barn Owl) and Debby Saunders (Dunlin)

  26th November

Lovely late autumn birding conditions - still and sunny throughout - came up with another fair selection of sightings from the Bill. The best of the bunch was a Siberian Chiffchaff that made as fleeting a visit to the Obs garden as last week's individual had done; back-ups on the land included a handful of Redwings and Fieldfares, 2 Snipe, new singles of Lapwing, Blackcap and Reed Bunting, and the likes of the wintering Purple Sandpiper, Black Redstart and Firecrest. The customary divers and ducks through on the sea included 5 Red-throated Divers, 2 Great Northern Divers, 2 Red-breasted Mergansers and a lone Shelduck.

25th November

On a day when the conditions remained very samey most of the interest was on the sea, with 13 Red-throated Divers, 2 Brent Geese, 2 Goosanders and singles of Black-throated Diver, Great Northern Diver, Red-breasted Merganser and Great Skua through off the Bill. Also there, another 140 Starlings arrived from the south and the odd few single thrushes and finches trickled over, but there were almost no newcomers on the ground; the long-staying Firecrest at the Obs did resurface after being missed for a few days.




 Eider and Water Rail - Ferrybridge and Portland Bill, 24th November 2013 © Brett Spencer Brett's Goosey Ganderings (Eider) and Joe Stockwell Yet another birding blog (Water Rail)

Also thanks to Keith Pritchard Birding Portland UK for passing us a photo of the first Serbian-ringed bird reported at Portland; Mediterranean Gull YAA2 that Keith photographed on 22nd August at Ferrybridge...


...was first ringed as a nestling just over 1700km away in Serbia in June 2011; it's already a well-known bird in Weymouth where it's been sighted on numerous occasions in each subsequent winter.

  24th November

Not a great deal changing although the presence of new arrivals every day continues to give hope that there's still something decent to be found. Today's newcomers were all much as would expected and included a Woodcock at Tout Quarry and 57 Starlings arriving from the south, 3 Chiffchaffs, 2 Blackcaps and a Snipe at the Bill, with the odd few thrushes and finches everywhere; 2 Firecrests at Pennsylvania Castle and a sprinkle of Chiffchaffs and Goldcrests there and elsewhere in suitable spots around the centre of the island were probably mostly winterers. Offshore, divers were again on the move, with 17 Red-throateds and a Black-throated through off the Bill and 3 Red-throateds and a Black-throated over Ferrybridge; an Eider was new at Ferrybridge and 13 Black-necked Grebes and a Common Scoter were still in Portland Harbour.





  Whinchat, Song Thrush and Knot - Portland Bill, Southwell and Ferrybridge, 23rd November 2013 © Joe Stockwell Yet another birding blog (Whinchat) and Pete Saunders (Song Thrush and Knot)

  23rd November

Another nice day to be out birding, particularly with yesterday's chilly wind having eased away. The usual suspects - notably thrushes and finches - again featured in small numbers, but a Whinchat that dropped in at the Bill was completely unexpected and represents easily the latest ever record there; other newcomers there included 5 Blackcaps, a Snipe and a Chiffchaff, along with 2 Black Redstarts that were perhaps more likely to be winterers. Additionally, 12 Red-throated Divers passed through off the Bill, 3 Knot were at Ferrybridge and 13 Black-necked Grebes and 2 Great Northern Divers were in Portland Harbour.

22nd November

With high pressure setting in and a brisk, chilly north-easterly always a feature there was a little more to be seen today. At the Bill nothing much was stopping, but Blackbird, Redwing and Fieldfare all got well into double figures, while 3 Redpolls and singles of Little Egret, Lapwing, Snipe and Brambling all also made the list; elsewhere the light scatter of grounded migrants around the centre of the island included a Woodcock at Wakeham and a Black Redstart at Reap Lane.



  Purple Sandpiper - Portland Bill, 21st November 2013 © Paul Baker The Bagsy Blog

  21st November

Whilst it still seems a bit early to write off this autumn there was certainly a dent to the stalwart's enthusiasm to keep going when today's return of north-easterlies came up with almost nothing of interest. The land was a dead loss, with no more than 5 Redwings and 2 Purple Sandpipers at the Bill; the sea fared little better, with 2 Brent Geese, a Red-throated Diver and a Balearic Shearwater hardly making for worthwhile watches at the Bill.

20th November

Precious little to excite on a blustery and at times quite wet day. All of what little news there was came from the Bill where singles of Water Rail, Black Redstart, Redwing and Blackcap were dotted about on the land and singles of Red-throated Diver, Great Northern Diver and Shelduck passed through on the sea.

19th November

As forecast, a good deal colder today in a brisk northerly. The day's bird list was a good deal shorter than might have been hoped, with overhead passage in particular hardly featuring at all. At the Bill the best of the bunch were 4 each of Fieldfare and Brambling, 2 each of Swallow and Blackcap, and singles of Short-eared Owl, Black Redstart and Siskin; elsewhere there were 2 Firecrests at Church Ope Cove.




Siberian Chiffchaff - Portland Bill, 18th November 2013 © Martin Cade

  18th November

The odd morsels of quality keep appearing, with today's highlight - a Siberian Chiffchaff that turned up in a net at the Obs - hopefully being just the forerunner of some action later in the week. There were certainly suggestions of interest picking up just a little, with the likes of Blackbirds and Song Thrushes that have been so stubbornly slow to reach this part of the world beginning to feature more conspicuously. A Woodcock was another on-cue arrival at the Bill, where 4 Blackcaps and singles of Short-eared Owl, Swallow, Black Redstart and Brambling also made the list; elsewhere there were 2 Firecrests at Pennsylvania Castle and a Wheatear at Perryfields. Four Red-throated Divers, 2 Pomarine Skuas and a Great Northern Diver passed through on the sea at the Bill and a similar selection of divers and grebes to recent days, along with 2 Common Scoter, remained in Portland Harbour.



  Great White Egret - Portland Bill, 17th November 2013 © Martin Cade

...sadly we really weren't ready for this one and made a total pig's ear of the record shots as it flew out to sea in the half-light of dawn. We don't know what it is about Great White Egrets but they just don't want to be photographed at Portland - this is the fifth island record (more if you count the various hearsay/pager reports of offshore fly-bys) but the first that has any sort of image in support. Fortunately there was still someone about who could operate a camera correctly, so thanks to the redoubtable Pete Saunders for these additional photos from Ferrybridge of Great Northern Diver and Grey Heron:



. 17th November

A reasonable list today, but with the notable exception of a Great White Egret that flew over the Obs at dawn there wasn't really much that wouldn't have been expected on a still, grey mid-November day. Portland Harbour and Ferrybridge came up with the numbers, including 500 Mediterranean Gulls, 10 Black-necked Grebes, 4 Pale-bellied Brent Geese, 3 Great Northern Divers, 2 Black Brants and singles of Red-throated Diver, Red-necked Grebe and Little Gull; also on the water, seawatching at the Bill produced singles of Balearic Shearwater and Great Skua. On the land there was another small arrival/passage overhead of routine thrushes and finches, together with 3 Black Redstarts, 2 Swallows, a Lapwing and a Blackcap at the Bill and 2 Water Rails and a Blackcap at Chesil Cove; the wintering Firecrest also remained at the Bill.



  Wigeon - Ferrybridge, 16th November 2013 © Pete Saunders

The Reed Warbler trapped and ringed at the Obs was such a pitiful, treadbare specimen that it was initially quite perplexing:


...although it was peculiarly-coloured, notably small and with many biometrics that hovered around being outside the range of Reed (and well within the range of Blyth's Reed), structurally it was a closer match for Reed; fortunately, on release it was rather vocal - click here to have a listen to a recording of a series of calls - and any doubts over its identity were dispelled. Out of interest, it's worth comparing the photo above taken in bright sunshine with that below taken a few metres away in shade (photos © Martin Cade):


. 16th November

A lovely still, bright day to be in the field - but sadly not especially productive. Starlings were again arriving from the south in some quantity, with 2000 over Blacknor and 1000 over the Bill, but visible passage was otherwise limited to 700 Wood Pigeons south over Ferrybridge and 2 Swallows and a handful of thrushes and finches over the Bill. On the ground late singles of Common Sandpiper at Ferrybridge and Reed Warbler at the Bill were surprises but singles of Black Redstart at Reap Lane and the Verne and the presumably now wintering Firecrest at the Obs were the only other worthwhile reports. The millpond-like conditions at Portland Harbour led to respectable tally of 10 Black-necked Grebes and singles of Red-throated Diver, Great Northern Diver, Red-necked Grebe, Slavonian Grebe, Common Scoter and Goosander showing up there, whilst the sea came up with 18 Wigeon over Ferrybridge and a Shelduck through off the Bill.



  Richard's Pipit - Portland Bill, 15th November 2013 © Joe Stockwell Yet another birding blog

  15th November

In considerably less windy conditions the Richard's Pipit remained at the Bill although that fact wasn't established until the afternoon: searches through the morning drew a complete blank before it reappeared late in the day. Routine migrants were poorly represented on the ground but there was a constant trickle of thrushes through overhead, with Fieldfares in particular arriving in off the sea in ones and twos throughout the day; a lone Mistle Thrush was of note amongst this movement, whilst other newcomers/lingerers at the Bill included 2 Siskins and singles of Water Rail, Ringed Plover, Snipe, Swallow, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Firecrest, Brambling and Reed Bunting. Elsewhere, 900 Wood Pigeons and 2 Lapwings headed north over Ferrybridge, where the Black Brant and 3 Pale-bellied Brent Geese were also present. 



  Richard's Pipit - Portland Bill, 14th November 2013 © Joe Stockwell Yet another birding blog

...and a couple of flight views (© Martin Cade):


  14th November

Although there must have been a day sometime in history when a blasting north-westerly produced something pretty worthwhile at Portland it certainly doesn't happen very often; however, as if to confound expectations, today did come up with the goods when a very mobile Richard's Pipit popped up at the Bill during the afternoon. That aside, the only birds of particular note there were 2 Snipe, 2 Short-eared Owls and singles of Swallow, Black Redstart, Chiffchaff, Firecrest and Redpoll on/overhead on the land and 27 Common Scoter, a Red-throated Diver and a Wigeon through on the sea. Three Black-necked Grebes, a Slavonian Grebe and a Common Scoter were in Portland Harbour.



  possible Nordic Jackdaw - Portland Bill, 10th November 2013 © Martin Cade

...this quite striking-looking individual was at the Bill last Sunday, but unfortunately the nearest we got to getting an 'ordinary' Jackdaw in the same frame was this effort before the corvid flock flushed and the oddity didn't return:


We do sometimes give the local Jackdaws a cursory look but have never noticed a bird with quite such a decent collar as this individual shows (and those that do faintly approach this look are usually in mid-summer and are presumably well-marked/worn birds from the local breeding population). 

Also thanks to Dave Arthur for getting in touch with the ringing details of the colour-ringed Ring Ouzel photographed by Keith Pritchard Birding Portland UK at Penn's Weare on 27th October:


...evidently it was ringed as a nestling at Glen Clunie, south of Braemar, in the Cairngorms on 2nd July; interestingly, another nesting ringed nearby a few days beforehand was sighted on St Agnes, Isles of Scilly, on 15th October.

. 13th November

The ridge of high pressure that begun to set in yesterday led to the first light frost of the autumn but also a really pleasant clear and sunny day. The first decent Starling passage of the month was a feature, with 2800 arriving from the south at the Bill and 1500 (likely involving many of the same birds) heading north at Blacknor; overhead passage was otherwise limited to unexceptional numbers of thrushes and finches (including 20 Redpolls and 5 Bramblings over the Bill) and another 5 late Swallows. On the ground there was an obvious, albeit small, arrival of Blackbirds, but little else that wouldn't have been expected in the fine conditions bar a solitary late Wheatear at the Verne; Firecrests at Pennsylvania Castle/Wakeham (2) and the Obs are probably getting settled in for winter. The sea continued to come up with a little bit of movement, notably involving 44 Common Scoter, 8 Pintail, 3 Red-throated Divers and 3 Brent Geese through off the Bill. A lone Great Northern Diver was at Ferrybridge.

12th November

A change in the weather was apparent from the outset today, with clearing skies accompanying a northerly breeze. Overnight rain had downed a small arrival of thrushes, whilst the light spread of other newcomers around the island included a handful of Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs, Goldcrests and Reed Buntings; singles of Black Redstart and Firecrest also remained at the Bill. Overhead passage was restricted to several small flocks of Skylarks, a few finches and a lone Swallow. After yesterday's excesses seawatching was always going to be an anticlimax, with 11 Brent Geese and singles of Red-throated Diver, Great Northern Diver, Shoveler, Red-breasted Merganser and Great Skua providing the only real interest off the Bill; 3 Little Gulls did remain in Chesil Cove and singles of Red-throated Diver and Black-necked Grebe were still in Portland Harbour.

       - Ferrybridge, 11th November 2013 © Pete & Debby Saunders

...also an Arctic Skua and the Grey Phalarope from Ferrybridge (© Pete & Debby Saunders):



...and a bit of scene-setting video from the Bill:


  11th November

A damp, dreary dawn had an air of promise about it and the few dozen thrushes - including a late Ring Ouzel at the Bill - along with odds and ends of plovers, finches and a Corn Bunting that dropped in were certainly what might have been expected; however, the events that followed - once the drizzle had all but stopped and visibility improved - were completely unanticipated. Cursory glances at the sea soon revealed skuas, Kittiwakes and Little Gulls on the move and it was quickly apparent that there was a significant down-Channel passage afoot; the rest of the day was covered at the Bill, where c2000 Kittiwakes, 1138 Little Gulls (including single flocks of 230, 180 and 127), 122 Common Scoter, 44 Great Skuas, 13 Arctic Skuas, 4 Grey Plovers, 4 Pomarine Skuas, 3 Red-throated Divers, 3 Balearic Shearwaters, 3 Red-breasted Mergansers, 2 Wigeon, a Fulmar, a Shelduck and a Bar-tailed Godwit passed through. Observers at Ferrybridge also encountered a strong passage of birds that were taking the short-cut across Portland Harbour - here 385 Little Gulls, 25 Kittiwakes, 22 Dunlin, 15 Grey Plovers, 12 Bar-tailed Godwits, 3 Knot, 2 Arctic Skuas and a Grey Phalarope passed though; the 90 Little Gulls counted at Chesil Cove were most likely birds already logged at Ferrybridge, but a Little Auk that dropped in there for a few minutes was a nice bonus. Additions from elsewhere included an Arctic Tern and singles of Red-throated Diver and Great Northern Diver in Portland Harbour. 

Whilst many of these day-totals were pretty good for mid-November the Little Gull tally of a minimum of 1523 was unprecedented - the previous highest day-total was 268 on 3rd May 1974 (113E at the Bill, 80E at Ferrybridge and 75 grounded at Ferrybridge).

10th November

Hopes of a bonanza overhead were quickly dashed when it became apparent that the crystal-clear skies of dawn were all but empty of migrants: at the Bill a few small flocks of Wood Pigeons that arrived from the north didn't look at all interested in carrying on toward the Continent, whilst the tiny trickle of thrushes (including a lone Mistle Thrush), finches and Reed Buntings were all heading north into the brisk breeze. On the ground a Yellow-browed Warbler at the former Weston Craft Centre, a late Wheatear at Osprey Quay and 4 Black Redstarts and a new Firecrest at the Bill (the latter joining 2 lingerers) were of note amongst an otherwise meagre spread of new arrivals. Elsewhere the Red-necked Grebe remained in Portland Harbour, where the first Black-necked Grebe of the winter also put in an appearance.

9th November

Weekend visitors found themselves struggling with the conditions again, particularly through the morning when more hefty showers were a constant feature. The birding picked up a little, with a passing Hen Harrier being an on-cue but nonetheless welcome highlight at the Bill; also there, lingerers included 2 Black Redstarts, 2 Chiffchaffs, 2 Firecrests and a Goldcrest, whilst singles of Redpoll and Reed Bunting were of note amongst the light passage of rountine finches overhead. Seawatch reports included 4 Brent Geese, 2 Red-throated Divers, 2 Balearic Shearwaters and a Great Skua through off the Bill, whilst a Great Northern Diver passed over at Ferrybridge and settled in Portland Harbour where the Red-necked Grebe was also still present.

8th November

It didn't take long for the weather to return to form, with today almost a wash-out. Fieldwork at the Bill in the few dry spells came up with 4 Black Redstarts and 2 each of Firecrest, Brambling and Redpoll amongst a sprinkle of commoner migrants that included late singles of Swallow and Wheatear; seawatching there produced 62 Common Scoter, 2 Red-throated Divers, an Eider and an Arctic Skua.



  Dusky Warbler - Portland Bill, 7th November 2013 © Brett Spencer Brett's Goosey Ganderings

...although typically troublesome to get a decent view of it was nonetheless at times very vocal, click here to listen to a recording of a long bout of calling whilst it was deep inside the Pulpit bushes and here for some flight calls as it whizzed between bushes.

And some in-hand detail (© Martin Cade):







. 7th November

Today had been forecast for some while as the likeliest decent day of the week, and although it remained dreary throughout the lack of wind was very welcome indeed. Equally welcome was the discovery of a decent rarity - a typically elusive Dusky Warbler that showed up first in the Pulpit bushes before later moving to the Obs garden where it was trapped and ringed; elsewhere the 'eastern' Lesser Whitethroat also surfaced again at Avalanche Road. Routine migrants maybe didn't respond in quite the numbers that might have been hoped, with thrushes in particular still as conspicuously absent as they have been all autumn. At the Bill 2 Black Redstarts and a handful of new Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs and Goldcrests featured on the ground, whilst overhead 2 late Swallows, several small flocks of Wood Pigeons, the customary miscellany of finches and a few Reed Buntings all made the tally; elsewhere 2 Mistle Thrushes were at Southwell. The sea was still worth a look, with 3 Brent Geese, 3 Balearic Shearwaters, 2 Great Skuas and a Red-throated Diver being of note off the Bill.



  Grey Wagtail - Easton, 6th November 2013 © Ken Dolbear

. 6th November

Still very windy today with most attention given to the sea. Numbers certainly didn't feature in the watches at the Bill, but interest came in the form of 30 Common Scoter, 5 Great Skuas, 4 Balearic Shearwaters, 3 Manx Shearwaters and singles of Red-throated Diver and Sooty Shearwater; a steady passage of flocks of Goldfinches heading south there reached in excess of 500. The only other reports came from Ferrybridge/Portland Harbour, where the Red-necked Grebe, Black Brant and Common Scoter were still present and a Red-throated Diver was a new arrival.

5th November

Just about as grim a day as could be thrown into the mix during what's often one of our best birding periods: the rain of the first couple of hours after dawn was cleared by an unexpectedly strong westerly that produced nothing on the sea and made birding on the land an unpleasant and unrewarding trial. A Woodlark sheltering at Ferrybridge was easily the bird of the day on the land, with little else discovered beyond singles of Merlin and Black Redstart at the Bill and a handful of Chiffchaffs and Goldcrests in the few sheltered corners. Two Goosanders through off the Bill were of note, but bar a light passage of Black-headed Gulls and Lesser Black-backed Gulls the sea came up with nothing more than the Red-necked Grebe remaining in the shelter of Portland Harbour.





  Black Brant, 'eastern' Lesser Whitethroat and Willow Warbler - Ferrybridge, Avalanche Road and Portland Castle, 4th November 2013 © Debby Saunders (Black Brant), Joe Stockwell Yet another birding blog (Lesser Whitethroat) and Brett Spencer Brett's Goosey Ganderings (Willow Warbler)

. 4th November

A welcome fine day after all the recent wind and rain. New arrivals certainly featured everywhere but maybe not in the quantity that might have been expected, with overhead passage in particular being conspicuously subdued given the conditions. Top billing went to an 'eastern' Lesser Whitethroat and a Yellow-browed Warbler, both at Avalanche Road, whilst back-up oddities included 4 Black Redstarts, 4 Bearded Tits and 2 Short-eared Owls at the Bill, 3 Black Redstarts and a Firecrest at Easton, 2 Black Redstarts at Chesil Cove, a late Willow Warbler at Portland Castle, the Red-necked Grebe in Portland Harbour and one of the Black Brants at Ferrybridge. Routine fare included the expected miscellany of thrushes, Chiffchaffs, Goldcrests, finches and Reed Buntings, along with several late-ish Wheatears and Swallows. Seawatching came up with 19 Brent Geese, 2 Goosanders and a Great Skua through off the Bill.



  Sabine's Gull - Chesil Cove, 3rd November 2013 © Pete Saunders

. 3rd November

Bright and still very windy conditions prevailed for a good part of the day before the latest batch of heavy rain rolled in towards dusk. Although there were birds about on the land it was the sea that got most attention, with the Sabine's Gull reappearing for a while at Chesil Cove and singles of Red-throated Diver, Great Northern Diver, Balearic Shearwater, Arctic Skua and Great Skua through off the Bill. Seeking out anything of note on the land was something of a fool's errand but eventually the likes of Black Redstarts at the Bill, Easton (2) and Chesil Cove, Merlins at the Bill and the Ferrybridge/Beach Road, the Arctic Tern still at Ferrybridge and a late Wheatear at the Bill did make the list amongst the handful of commoner migrants.


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2nd November

After an at times wet night when Redwings in particular were moving in quantity a few hours of fairer weather after dawn saw welcome signs of a slight improvement in the hitherto dire migrant situation at the Bill. The Redwings had all moved on but a few extra thrushes did include 3 Fieldfares and a Ring Ouzel, whilst 10 Blackcaps and 2 Reed Buntings were also of note on the ground; overhead passage there included 550 Goldfinches, 250 Linnets and a few dithery flocks of Wood Pigeons. Elsewhere there were 2 Black Redstarts at Reap Lane and 5 Pale-bellied Brent Geese, 2 Black Brants, the Arctic Tern and a Wheatear at Ferrybridge. This short window of opportunity quickly shut as an ever-increasing wind set in and ensured that the later reports were all from the sea: 2 Great Skuas and singles of Red-throated Diver, Manx Shearwater and Arctic Skua passed through off the Bill and singles of Pomarine Skua and Little Gull passed by at Chesil Cove; an addition Great Skua also passed over Ferrybridge earlier in the day.

1st November

November started as October had ended - damp, dreary and relatively birdless. Despite the conditions Linnets and Goldfinches were still heading south over the Bill in some numbers, with a Merlin tagging along, but there was precious little at all by way of new arrivals on the ground, where lingerers/winterers included 2 Purple Sandpipers, a Black Redstart and a Firecrest; another 2 Black Redstarts were at the Verne Prison and 2 more Firecrests were at Wakeham. Seawatching at the Bill came up with a lingering Pomarine Skua and a passing Great Skua, the Red-necked Grebe remained in Portland Harbour and 1580 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 2 Pale-bellied Brents and a Black Brant were at Ferrybridge.