28th October

Very little new to report today but the rediscovery of the Common Rosefinch beside the Obs and the continuing presence at the Bill of the likes of the Hen Harrier, 2 Merlins, 2 Black Redstarts, a Short-eared Owl and a Firecrest (2 more were also at Church Ope Cove), along with a Balearic Shearwater through on the sea, at least offered the chance of a reasonable day's birding for visitors. After they'd been on the move in pretty good numbers overnight a few Redwings were grounded at dawn but there was little else of consequence on the deck. Overhead, some small flocks of Wood Pigeons and a selection of finches at least looked at the possibility of leaving although it looked like most didn't chance it; a lone Little Egret also passed over at the Bill.

In recent times autumn rosefinches at Portland have been mist-net specials that turn up unannounced in nets and rarely show after release; it's taken several days since it was trapped last weekend for it to be chanced upon again but today's bird was showing really well at times © Debby Saunders (still) & Martin Cade (video):

Our experience of autumn rosefinches is that they're invariably pretty silent, only just occasionally delivering a nasal, somewhat Greenfinch-like call. Today's bird was most unusual in calling an awful lot and this call was so Chiffchaff-like that for a time we'd assumed that what we were hearing was a nearby but unseen Chiffchaff. Our recordings of this call (they're edited together in this sequence - in life they were given 10-30 seconds apart) were made at very close range with a parabolic that maybe accentuates a slight twanginess that wasn't apparent to the unaided ear:

The Hen Harrier's made it into its second week in residence © Pete Saunders: