25th October

Whopping quantities of rain overnight weren't appreciated and rendered daytime negotiation of muddy footpaths something akin to slalom skiing; however, the leaden sky and drizzly rain that lasted on into the morning saw a succession of migrants arrive in off the sea and created an air of constant anticipation even if the rewards weren't quite of East Coast proportions. A Yellow-browed Warbler trapped at the Obs was the chief highlight, but a flurry of Short-eared Owls - 4 arrived in off the sea and there were subsequent multiple sightings across the Bill area that looked to involve at least 6 birds - together with a spread of 8 Black Redstarts, 5 Ring Ouzels and a Woodcock provided some nice scarcity interest, whilst a constant light trickle of over-flying thrushes was most welcome in view of their near-absence just lately. Grounded arrivals, notably Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs, also increased although not to anything like the level that might be hoped in late October. For a while after dawn the sea was busy, with 488 Kittiwakes, 9 Balearic Shearwaters and 2 Arctic Skuas through off the Bill, whilst 655 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, along with the usual lone Pale-bellied Brent, represented their highest total of the autumn to date.

The Yellow-browed Warbler might have been the best of the day's scarcer migrants...

...but it was the frequent sightings of Short-eared Owls that provided the most compelling spectacle © Martin Cade:

The Dark-bellied Brents at Ferrybridge are building up nicely but it's looking like they've had a very poor breeding season: of the 655 present this morning just seven are juveniles - the five in this photograph are a family party with their parents, whilst two other pairs are accompanied by single youngsters each © Debby Saunders: