13th November

In a blasting westerly and frequent heavy showers - conditions that would usually be deemed pretty hopeless for active migration - Wood Pigeons again had the urge and passed through in quantity: the final total of ca13000 logged at the Bill was divided roughly 60:40 in favour of leaving to the south rather than chickening out and heading back north or away west into Lyme Bay; the total also likely included most of the ca9000 that had earlier been watched heading south towards the island across Portland Harbour. The tally of less hardy travellers moving in tandem - largely Goldfinches - was unquantified but looked to be fairly insignificant, although did also include a lone Merlin heading out to sea from the Bill. Given the conditions it was no surprise that a Grey Phalarope was driven into Chesil Cove, where singles of Great Northern Diver, Long-tailed Duck and Great Skua also put in appearances; 13 Brent Geese also passed through off the Bill. There was very little coverage of the land but singles of Firecrest at the Bill and Black Redstart at Blacknor, along with the family party of Pale-bellied Brent Geese amongst the brents at Ferrybridge, were of note.

Wood Pigeons, Barn Owl and Pale-bellied Brent Geese - Portland Bill and Ferrybridge, 13th November 2015 © Martin Cade (pigeons and Barn Owl) and Pete Saunders (Pale-bellied Brents)
This week there's only really been one weather window affording Nick Hopper an opportunity to get down for some more nocturnal recording, but the slightly quieter conditions of Wednesday night/Thursday morning - 11th/12th - certainly saw plenty of action. Nick wasn't able to start the session until 21.02, but between then and dawn an exceptional 3847 Redwing calls were logged, with 503 Song Thrush calls, 56 Fieldfare, 37 Blackbird and 1 Robin making up the tally of other routine migrants. Oddity interest consisted of a very late Tree Pipit, two groups of Golden Plovers, 5 Meadow Pipits, singles of Common Sandpiper, Snipe and Black-headed Gull, and Short-eared Owl on two occasions.