A quite exciting day with unseasonable - even uncomfortable at times - warmth and sunshine accompanying a really good selection of birds. Although the continuing Sabine's Gull attracted the visitors it was the varied selection of migrants that provided most interest, with a Radde's Warbler in Top Fields, 2 Yellow-browed Warblers at Weston, and singles of Woodcock, Wryneck and Corn Bunting at the Bill all new in on the ground. Visible passage was again a spectacle, with 8220 Wood Pigeons, 780 Goldfinches, 670 Starlings, 100 Linnets, 85 Meadow Pipits, 70 Chaffinches, 22 Skylarks, 18 Siskins, 9 Redpolls, 2 Merlins, 2 Swallows and a Snow Bunting through at the Bill and a similarly varied selection over Chesil. Commoner arrivals weren't especially numerous on the ground but lingerers included the likes of the Cetti's Warbler and Dartford Warbler at the Bill, the Wheatear at Hamm Beach and a good spread of Black Redstarts everywhere. Sea interest included a Great Northern Diver through off the Bill and the Common Tern still in Portland Harbour.
It's not always that your glimpses of something looking rare...
...actually materialise into something that really is rare - on odd occasions the Radde's Warbler popped out quite nicely although this was very much the exception © Martin Cade:
The Yellow-browed Warblers at Weston showed really well © Duncan Walbridge:
We wouldn't write off that today's Wryneck was a reappearance of the long-stayer from back in the second half of October; that bird could easily have been overlooked given the lousy weather and poor coverage this month but today's sighting was in a different place so it'll certainly be logged as relating to a new individual © Martin Cade:
It's a sad sign of the times that this morning's Corn Bunting at the Bill was, at least in terms of Portland records this year, the rarest bird of the day © Dave Chown:
And finally some rather arresting news of an exciting second record for the island. We bumped into Mark Eggleton today and Mark mentioned an odd, drab wheatear he'd photographed at the Bill on 29th October; a photograph was duly revealed that looked to us likely to be a Pied Wheatear, a fact further confirmed by some more images Mark popped us through later. Autumn Pied vs Black-eared Wheatear can sometimes be a tricky call but as far as we can see everything visible here points to it being a Pied. A great record and really fortuitous that on a dreary late afternoon Mark took the trouble to take some photographs rather than ignore it © Mark Eggleton:
Out of interest, here's John Ash's account published in BB of Portland's first Pied Wheatear way back in October 1954 (click on it to enlarge):