4th September

An unexpected twist to a morning where expectations were low after a shift in the wind to a straight, settled westerly came in the form of a good visible passage of Siskins, amounting to 175 birds over the Bill; the bright flashes of yellow were joined regularly in the morning sky by triple figures of passing Swallows, 42 Sand Martins and 24 Grey Wagtails (the highest tally of the year so far). With all these moving passerines it was unsurprising that a Merlin appeared giving chase to the various Wheatears and Whinchats within the Crown Fields. Other land-based migrants included singles of Pied Flycatcher, Grasshopper Warbler and a handful of Yellow Wagtails and Tree Pipits as well as the first Great Spotted Woodpecker of the autumn. Another limited selection of over-head waders involved singles of Golden Plover, Redshank, Dunlin and Sanderling. Elsewhere on the island, a second Merlin was hounding the Wheatears and Yellow Wagtails at Ferrybridge, where 13 Sanderlings and a Knot were the pick of the waders.

Not the sort of view of a Merlin that you'd want if you were small migrant taking a break on south Portland © Martin Cade:

 A mid-autumn staple: this time of year sees the return of the humble Rook to the south of the island after they've been missing during the breeding season © Erin Taylor: