19th October

With the storm passed today was a day that always felt like it had promise but, ultimately and a couple of seabird sightings aside, that promise went unfulfilled. The seabird highlights - a Sabine's Gull through at Chesil Cove and 2 Cory's Shearwaters through off the Bill - required being stood in the right spot at the right moment and only two observers chose that rewarding course; single Great Skuas through off both watchpoints were the only other worthwhile sea sightings. The land just never really got going: there were odd morsels of interest such as singles of Merlin, Ring Ouzel, Firecrest, a late Sedge Warbler and quite a few grounded Siskins at the Bill, another Firecrest at Pennsylvania Castle, another Ring Ouzel at Verne Common and 2 Black Redstarts at Blacknor, but despite all efforts that level couldn't be breached.

Siskins are routine enough fly-bys at this time of year but many of today's birds settled and permitted scorching views...

...much less routine was this mid-October Sedge Warbler that thankfully also permitted good views that quickly put to bed any thoughts of rarer things © Joe Stockwell:

And finally, being rather frustrated at still never having seen a Pallid Harrier at Portland - there surely can't be a more overdue addition to the island bird list than this species - we cracked at the end of the afternoon and went up to Wyke Down to see if the bird found in that area by James Phillips might put in an appearance towards dusk. In the event it seems we jammed into the most prolonged views of it in its more than a week of elusive residence - had there have been even a shaft a sunlight it would have looked even more of a vision of tangerine but beggars can't be choosers and it was good to imagine how great one will look when it eventually appears quartering the Crown Estate Field © Martin Cade: