As I write this the first snowfall of autumn is hurrying past the window here in Sheffield, helped on its way by a gale force northerly blow. The leaves, which have hung so valiantly onto the trees way into November, are now struggling to stay attached as the Indian Summer seems a distant memory and winter reveals itself for the first time this autumn.
Birding-wise it has been yet another exciting week. A Snowy Egret in Argyll was the first British record and has attracted hundreds of hardcore birders to the area since its discovery on the 5th, and it is still present at the time of writing. A little less exciting perhaps, but almost as rare, was the discovery of a drake Redhead at Kenfig NNR. A Pallid Harrier passed through Spurn on the 4th, its stay far too brief, but where is it lurking now? A mainland bird would be welcomed by most birders. A Pallid Harrier was belatedly reported for last weekend from Kenfig NNR. Elsewhere, a Lesser Scaup stimulated debate at Wilstone Reservoir, whilst less contentious were a typically late Dusky Warbler at Sandwich Bay in Kent and a Red-rumped Swallow in Norfolk. A Lesser Yellowlegs at Tophill Low NR was the first to be truly twitchable in Yorkshire. Subalpine Warblers lingered on the Isles of Scilly and in Norfolk, and another was detected on Skomer on the 3rd. Other long-stayers included the Snowy Owl at Felixstowe Docks and a Pacific Golden Plover in the Outer Hebrides.
The first true northerly blow since September has produced some good sea-watching along the east coast and, as winds moderate tomorrow and on Saturday, good numbers of Little Auks can be expected along most watchpoints, as well as the possibility of a Pomarine Skua movement and good numbers of wildfowl and auks.