Well, it was very much back to normal, with just 650 Woodpigeons this morning and not much else apart from a solitary Redpoll.
The first hour of a frosty but clear and crisp morning was spent counting Woodpigeons streaming in from most point of the compass and heading for the standing barley on the farm – no fewer than 2,200 of them. Registering high on the weirdometer a Spotted Redshank flew SW, 2 Snow Buntings and a Lapland Bunting were on the farm track, 5 Ravens flew over and singles of Brambling and Siskin rounded off a pretty decent session for the second half of November.
There are clearly a lot of Gannets in the Channel at the moment, with at least 220 flying mostly NE in an hour and a half, along with 8 Shelducks and 5 Red-throated Divers.
A couple of hours peering out to sea on an overcast morning with a light SE breeze was rewarded, if that’s the right word, by a Bonxie, 15 Red-throated Divers, 9 Brent Geese and 8 Teal.
Although it was overcast it took some time for a NNE breeze to pick up, but once it did some offshore movement kicked off, with 53 Brent Geese flying SW, 4 Gadwall, 2 Teal and 65 Wigeon flying NE and 60 Gannets, 20 Fulmars and 6 Red-throated Divers in the bay. Also, 4 Little Egrets were feeding in rocks pools in the bay.
With the wind having dropped away and bright sunshine it was much more pleasant this morning. At least 1,100 Woodpigeons were in standing barley on the farm, with one flock heading downchannel offshore attracting attention from a Peregrine. Fortunately for one of them it was a male that was unable to keep its grip on the one it singled out and it got away. Otherwise, a Lapland Bunting was calling over the fields and singles of Siskin and Redpoll flew over.
Despite plenty of sunshine the W wind was frisky enough to make it feel like an early taste of winter. Apart from a Chiffchaff and the Water Rail it was a morning best for laying down and avoiding.
A strong SW wind in November is never going to produce anything amazing, but 884 Gannets flying SW in 2 hours was quite a sight, at least as much as it could be in pouring rain with visibility less than 400 metres for the first 45 minutes. There were also 14 Fulmars, 2 Red-throated Divers, a Sandwich Tern and 6 auks.
Tawny Owl and Water Rail were calling in the valley again and some light overhead movement included 54 Chaffinches, 6 Redpolls, 4 Bullfinches and 16 Goldfinches. 11 Song Thrushes were present and 170 Starlings flew in off the sea.
A similar morning to Tuesday, with overnight rain lasting until around 9am. Apart from a Chiffchaff in the Lower Wood there was little in the valley to write about but there was a fair amount of activity offshore, including at least 30 each of Gannet and Kittiwake, 6 adult Mediterranean Gulls, the first Fulmar for a couple of months and 3 auks.
A chill NW breeze made for a character-building start, warmed a bit by 10 Bramblings and 7 Bullfinches flying amid the usual background of Woodpigeons (656 this morning) and Chaffinches. The Water Rail was still audibly present, 9 Golden Plovers flew in off the sea. 2 Tree Sparrows flew NE with another 4 on the farm, a Woodcock was in Langdon Hole, with another in off the sea, small numbers of thrushes included 19 Song Thrushes and 3 Swallows flew along the cliff. There was also a Pink-footed Goose on the farm, but the fact that it allowed approach to within 30 metres suggested that it was of questionable origin.
A late start, occasioned by yet more rain that lasted until gone 9am. Once it cleared, however, it became a lovely late autumn morning with France pin-sharp on the horizon and sunny patches contrasting with the departing rain clouds. A Ring Ouzel was calling from a clifftop hawthorn, a Golden Plover circled the farm and valley and a Snow Bunting flew past Lighthouse Down, where 4 Ravens were doing what they do best. Mucking about.
Already soggy enough after a month of rain, topped up by a torrential pre-dawn downpour, conditions were clearly much to the liking of a Water Rail, squealing its approval from the valley at dawn. The morning’s comings and goings amounted to 75 Goldfinches, a Brambling, 2 Redpolls and 5 House Martins, while nearly 200 Skylarks were on the fields and at least 3 Sparrowhawks exited the valley with the morning Woodpigeons.
What a difference a day makes! Yesterday’s stormy weather had disappeared to the east and the morning was calm and sunny. 2 Short-eared Owls were flushed from the clifftop, 2 Firecrests were among at least 20 Goldcrests and a Chiffchaff, 3 late-ish Swallows were still present and 6 Ravens were cavorting about.