7th November

It goes without saying that the conditions were again pretty challenging in the best part of a gale and with plenty more at times heavy rain. Seawatching was the only options through most of the morning when 7 Great Skuas and 2 Teal passed through Chesil Cove, a Little Gull made a brief appearance at Ferrybridge and 4 Great Skuas passed the Bill; 500 Brent Geese and a Black-tailed Godwit were also at Ferrybridge. The clearance that eventually showed up during the afternoon included the novelty of blue skies and sunshine that heralded the appearance of a few grounded migrants, amongst which 15 Redwings, 4 Fieldfares and 3 Blackcaps at the Obs, a Firecrest at Pennsylvania Castle and 2 Black Redstarts at Blacknor were of note.

Overnight mothing was particularly soggy but did come up with another flurry of immigrants that included 17 Rusty-dot Pearl, 5 Silver Y, 2 each of Diamond-back Moth and Rush Veneer, and singles of Double-striped Tabby, Olive-tree Pearl, Dark Sword Grass, Delicate and Scarce Bordered Straw at the Obs, and a White-speck amongst lower numbers of a similar array at the Grove.

Little Gull - Ferrybridge, 7th November 2015 © Pete Saunders

Nick Hopper was only able to get down for one night of nocturnal recording this week but he did pick a decent night on 3rd/4th when 964 Redwing calls and 241 Song Thrush calls made up the bulk of the loggings, with 18 Blackbirds, 5 Goldcrests, 3 Skylarks, 3 Snipe, 2 Fieldfares, a Dunlin and a Short-eared Owl providing some variety. The big surprise came when the recorder was left running into the morning and logged a fly-by Twite an hour or so after dawn:

...we doubt whether most folk who live away from this part of the world realise just what a Dorset crippler Twite is: as far as we know the only occasion in the modern era when there have been gettable Twite in the county was when there were 3 at Lodmoor for a few days in October/November 1984, so unless you jam into one yourself/string one up flying over it's a really difficult bird to get as a county tick; we're pretty sure the one trapped at PBO in 1988 wasn't photographed, so unless the Poole boys can confirm our very hazy recollection that we once saw a photo of the bird trapped at Lytchett Bay in 1983 we wonder if Nick's recording isn't the first truly tangible evidence for Twite even having occurred in the county - how ironic that nobody actually clapped eyes on it!