29th October

Another day that ticked over with a thin spread of newcomers amongst the lingerers. The Bill Hen Harrier and the Ferrybridge Black Brant were the pick of the long-stayers, whilst amongst the arrivals a strong passage of more than 150 Rock Pipits at the Bill was of particular note. There were clearly a few more migrants about than in recent days, with at least 34 Siskins, 10 Bramblings, 5 Redwings, 4 Black Redstart, a Merlin and a Snipe at the Bill, 9 Redwings at Old Hill and 2 Firecrests at Pennsylvania Castle. The sea was also a tad busier than of late, with 9 Balearic Shearwaters, 2 Brent Geese and an Arctic Skua through off the Bill along with an upsurge in Gannets that included 750 through in 30 minutes at the peak of the movement.

We rather hope that the forthcoming winter's interest ups a notch from the likes of Black Brant (...after 15 years of winter presence they're not really that big a deal any more), Hen Harrier (...they really wouldn't be a big deal if the Neanderthals up North didn't shoot or poison most of them) or Short-eared Owls (...goodness knows what'd be found if all the man-hours wasted on photographing them for no good reason other than likes on social media were spent on some meaningful birding) but for the time being the former two provided some interest today © Debby Saunders (Black Brant) & Pete Saunders (Hen Harrier):

And finally, just to flesh out yesterday's inconsequential little observation on the similarity of one of the calls of Common Rosefinch to the 'typical' call of Chiffchaff, today a Chiffchaff happened to burst into a bout of calling right in front of us and invite a comparison recording (the recording posted below is of two Chiffchaff calls followed by two Common Rosefinch calls). The sonogram clearly shows there are subtle differences but to our ears - and certainly at any distance - these calls really are amazingly alike. This is all probably perfectly well known already but it's just some silly little thing that we'd never really taken on board before now: