9th November

Sea interest continued, although in a brisk rather than raging wind it largely involved lingering, wrecked pelagic specialists rather than storm-driven movement. Two reorientating Leach's Petrels did pass through off the Bill, but 3 more spent the afternoon criss-crossing Portland Harbour; even more welcome was the Sabine's Gull that spent the day off the Chesil, whilst further interest came in the form of a Grey Phalarope off Chesil, singles of Red-throated and Great Northern Divers through off the Bill and 2 Great Northern Divers in Portland Harbour. The amelioration in the weather saw overhead passage get going again, with 3700 Wood Pigeons, 1350 Goldfinches and lower totals of a few other regulars through in quick time after dawn at the Bill. New arrivals on the ground included a late Wheatear beside Portland Harbour and a Merlin at Reap Lane but little else of note; the Common Rosefinch also showed up again on feeders in a private garden at the Grove.

Although of entirely esoteric interest, the Sabine's Gull was reported on numerous occasions to be an adult but it seemed to us far more likely to be in first-summer plumage: notwithstanding the yellow bill-tip, it was unhooded (in theory, adult undertake most of their post-breeding moult in winter quarters so ought still to be in pretty decent summer plumage at this time of year), the flight feathers were hugely worn, the wing coverts noticeably uneven, the primaries matt brownish-black and lacking big white tips and, at least in some photographs we've seen, the legs look to be party pale © Pete Saunders (top) and Duncan Walbridge (bottom):

The Common Rosefinch again at the Grove © Mary Snell: