11th October

With high pressure becoming well established today's gentle northerly breeze and clear skies resulted in the best arrival of common migrants for several weeks: it was not a classic fall but rather a steady throughput of birds seemingly arriving in off the sea and heading away northwards - the fact that they were accompanied by a few nice scarcities was a welcome bonus. A Long-eared Owl flushed from the Bill Quarry that later showed up amongst the beach huts won out for looks even if the Common Rosefinch trapped at the Obs had a little more rarity value; four Short-eared Owls, three Black Redstarts, two Merlins, a Jack Snipe and a Great Spotted Woodpecker were also at the Bill, where 10 Bramblings and seven Golden Plovers were amongst the less frequent migrants overhead. Conservative totals of 250 alba wagtails and 150 each of Blackcap and Chiffchaff made up the bulk of the grounded numbers, with a decently varied list of back ups that included at least a few of most of what might be expected at this juncture of the autumn.

As they always are, the Long-eared Owl was a great looker - especially if you happened to be the one fortunate observer that rounded a corner to find it staring at him at point blank range © Martin King:

Autumn Common Rosefinches really are the trickiest of birds to get to grips with in the field at Portland - today's bird was another that turned up out of the blue in a net at the Obs and wasn't seen again after release © Joe Stockwell:

Finch numbers are building very impressively with big swirling flocks of Linnets and Goldfinches all over the place at the Bill © Geoff Orton: