12th November

After a few false starts with the seemingly now annual Wood Pigeon-fest today's somewhat more benign conditions found favour on that front and provided quite a migration spectacle for the first couple of hours of the day: 5000 passed over Ferrybridge in quick time, with emigration taking place not only along a corridor out to the south over the Bill - where a minimum of 7000 departed - but also out to sea over the Grove cliffs where there was no count of the many large departing flocks that presumably weren't visible from the Bill. Visible passage of smaller migrants included 627 Goldfinches, 461 Chaffinches, 260 Starlings, 71 Meadow Pipits, 42 Linnets, 36 Bramblings, 15 alba wagtails and a Reed Buntings south along East Cliffs at the Bill during a sample 75 minute count. It was considerably quieter for grounded migrants, with new arrivals at the Bill consisting of little more than a few Goldcrests, a Blackcap and a Firecrest; at least 4 Black Redstarts and 2 Firecrests lingered on at wintering spots. Ferrybridge again hosted excellent numbers of birds including 2900 Brent Geese, 610 Mediterranean Gulls, 60 Ringed Plover, 26 Turnstones, 15 Dunlin, 5 Pale-bellied Brents, 2 Wigeon, 2 Knot and a Mute Swan.

Immigrant moths included 5 Silver Y, 2 Rush Veneer, 2 Pearly Underwing and a Scarce Bordered Straw at the Obs and another Scarce Bordered Straw at the Grove.

Brent Geese and Wood Pigeons - Ferrybridge and Portland Bill, 12th November 2015 © Pete Saunders (brents) and Martin Cade (pigeons)
...an impromptu experiment comparing counts of one of the pigeon flocks made in the field with the actual number visible in a photograph of the same flock suggested a degree of undercounting/underestimating in field conditions - when opportunities arise we'll be hoping to take this investigation a bit further...