The first surprise of the morning was the lighthouse, temporarily restored to full working order to commemorate Remembrance Day. The birds were possibly less impressed with the light show than the fact that although it remained quite windy the rain and gales of the weekend had relented, allowing for a couple of hours of pretty good vis. mig., particularly for the second week of November. Totals included 343 Goldfinches, 133 Siskins, 14 Crossbills, 18 Bramblings, 44 Redpolls and 83 Chaffinches. At least 28 Goldcrests were fiddling about at the top of the valley, but the highlight was a Shorelark that flew over the valley towards Lighthouse Down, though it subsequently defied attempts to be relocated.
A similar day to yesterday, though rather less windy, brought something of an early surprise as a party of 30 Goldcrests moved through the top of the valley, tagging along with the local tit flock. 9 Redpolls, 38 Goldfinches, 2 Bramblings and a Bullfinch moved over, but to be honest the morning had a real feel of autumn winding down.
Bright but with a freshening SW/S wind, most activity had ceased after 90 minutes and without the excitement of penalties. Highlights, if that’s the right word, included 4 Fieldfares, 30 Redpolls, 18 Siskins and 86 Goldfinches.
Survivors of last night’s pyrotechnic excesses included 380 Woodpigeons, 13 Redpolls, a Brambling, 3 Bullfinches and 38 Chaffinches, all flying downchannel in the first hour or so after dawn. However, the bird of the morning was a Marsh Harrier that drifted in the opposite direction at 0705, less than ten minutes after dawn and testimony to how warm it is at the moment, finding lift so early at this time of year. A Merlin was also kicking about shortly after.
…….. gunpowder, treason and Woodpigeons! 637 of them flew SW or in some cases out to sea into a light SE wind, while other species moving early on included 98 Chaffinches, 6 Bramblings, 42 Goldfinches and small numbers of Siskins and Redpolls. The valley and farm held 11 Goldcrests, 8 Redwings, 3 Chiffchaffs and a Blackcap.
Most interest this morning took place in the first hour and a half after dawn, during which birds flying into the SSW3 wind included 70 Chaffinches, 5 Bramblings, 141 Goldfinches, 59 Redpolls, 73 Siskins, 82 Linnets, 5 Swallows and a Bullfinch: quite decent numbers for early November. The rest of the short while prior to departure for my annual flu jab was fairly pedestrian, though a Snipe flew over the valley, a Crossbill flew S and a Woodcock was flushed on the farm.
With not a cloud in the sky and a light NW breeze it was a morning for cross-Channel movement, which included 52 Chaffinches, a few Skylarks and a Sparrowhawk. Just to be perverse, however, 3 Buzzards drifted SW and a Rough-legged Buzzard flew over the bay and out to sea. 3 Bullfinches flew SW, late summer migrants included 4 Swallows and a House Martin, 323 Woodpigeons flew up the valley first thing and 50 Blackbirds, 19 Song Thrushes, 11 Goldcrests and 6 Stonechats completed an absorbing morning.
The S wind gusted to force 6 but at least the forecast rain held off until 0930, giving a couple of hours to watch the valley. In the event, the only bits of interest were a Merlin, a late Swallow and 570 Starlings flying in off the sea.