31st October

Today we were rescued from writing a blog much the same as we have for most of the autumn by a wandering Rough-legged Buzzard that graced our shores (albeit briefly) this morning, before it shot off towards the Purbecks. A Black Brant, a Pale-bellied Brent Goose and a Long-tailed Duck at Ferrybridge, 3 Goosanders and a Common Scoter in Portland Harbour and 2 Ring Ouzels at Kingbarrow Quarry added some variety to the mix on an otherwise distinctly average day. There was also belated news of a Tawny Owl in Wakeham from the previous night. In terms of common migrants, we were thin on the ground once again with the exceptions of a good passage of Auks and Mediterranean Gulls at sea, 4 Purple Sandpipers around the Bill and a miniscule influx of Goldcrests.

It's a shame that none of the observers had a camera over their shoulder when the Rough-legged Buzzard first appeared overhead at the Obs - it had presumably just arrived in off the sea - since by the time these record-photos were taken after a mad dash to the top of the Obs driveway it was already hundreds of metres away and leaving rapidly to the north. A short while later it was picked up from Bill Hill heading off very high northeast over the centre of the island and we'd guess it would next have made landfall somewhere over the Purbecks. The only previous Portland record occurred during one of the largest influxes ever recorded in Britain when one flew in off the sea at the Bill on 22nd October 1974.© Martin Cade:

The Black Brant at Ferrybridge, possibly one of the returning 'winterers' first recorded in 2006 © Debby Saunders

Three of the four Purple Sandpipers today back in their classic spot to ride out the winter storms © Roger Hewitt: 

There was a time when Tawny Owls were resident on the island but as far as we're aware the last confirmed breeding record was at the Grove Stadium in 1989 since when the only reports have been of isolated calling birds - many unconfirmed and none of which appear to have lingered. Earlier this autumn we followed up reports from non-birders of a calling bird at St Peter's Church at the Grove but drew a blank so it was great to get a fully confirmed record from last night at Wakeham © Martin Adlam portandwey.blogspot: