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.