8th November

In what would usually be considered pretty inappropriate conditions - grey skies and a brisk southerly (although it did stay dry which was very welcome) - most of today's action was overhead, with an at times quite spectacular southbound passage of finches a feature everywhere. Sadly there were no systematic counts but estimates of numbers over the Obs including 1500 Goldfinches, 700 Linnets, 400 Chaffinches, 40 Siskins and 25 Bramblings suggested there might have been some impressive totals logged with better coverage; 2 Crossbills over Verne Common and singles of Merlin, Woodlark and Bullfinch over the Bill were among the oddities tagging along. Moving thrushes weren't really a feature around the south of the island so the 200 Redwings and 50 Fieldfares at dawn at Verne Common were perhaps heading off from roost after arriving overnight. Elsewhere, numbers on the ground weren't a feature at dawn, but as the day went on Goldcrests in particular trickled in, including 30 through at the Bill and 60 or more scattered around Southwell; a new Firecrest joined a lingerer at the Bill and at least 4 more cropped around the middle and north of the island, a Coal Tit (not seen for long enough to ascertain whether it was a Continental Coal Tit) was at Southwell, Black Redstarts included 3 at the Bill, 2 at Southwell and 1 at Blacknor, whilst 2 Wheatears also showed up at the Bill. The Ferrybridge Brent Goose flock increased to 2380 (presumably a new record count - our records have the previous peak as 2300 in both November last year and November 2008) and again included a Pale-bellied Brent and the Black Brant, whilst the Portland Harbour Black-necked Grebes increased to 6. As has been the case for the best part of this autumn the sea remained the poor relation, with just 1 Arctic Skua through off the Bill.

Although numbers of the commonest immigrant moths increased a little overnight variety took a tumble, with totals from the Obs traps of just 20 Rusty-dot Pearl, 12 Rush Veneer, 6 Silver Y, 2 Dark Sword Grass and 2 Delicate.

Black Brant - Ferrybridge, 8th November 2015 © Pete Saunders