30th October

With the wind constantly blowing from the south or southwest for so long there was an inevitability that eventually a few seabirds would begin to feel the effects; however, there was still an element of surprise when today's brisk but far from fierce onshore gusts came up with two species more usually associated with far worse conditions: first a Sabine's Gull passed through Chesil Cove before soon afterwards being picked up passing the Bill, whilst later a Leach's Petrel lingered for an hour or more off the Cove; fair numbers of Gannets and Kittiwakes were certainly moving for periods - seemingly both east and west off the Bill - but the only other slightly out of the ordinary sea sightings concerned 2 Sooty Shearwaters and a Great Skua through off the Bill and a Long-tailed Duck through off the Cove. The land was nowhere near as well covered as in recent weeks, with a scatter of Black Redstarts, 2 Merlins and singles of Cetti's Warbler and Dartford Warbler the best on offer at the Bill/Southwell. Overhead passage continued although today was dominated by Goldfinches, with 614 through at the Bill; 190 departing Starlings made up the bulk of the rest of the numbers there.

The Leach's Petrel off Chesil Cove was always several hundred metres out but the light was pretty decent so the 'scope views weren't too bad; this video clip with our little camera at full zoom (16x) together with a bit of cropping during editing must be at about 25x magnification. It was a rather odd experience to watch a Leach's feeding quite happily in very benign conditions when you usually only get to see them off this coast in a raging storm when it's often hard to stand up let alone keep a 'scope or camera steady © Martin Cade:

The way things are going, Great Skua is going to be a description bird before long - the autumn tally at the Bill still hasn't got into double figures © Martin Cade: