July 2011

 

     

  

  

   Melodious Warbler and Ypsolopha scabrella - Portland Bill and Weston, 31st July 2011 © Julian Thomas (Melodious Warbler whole), Peter Morgan (Melodious Warbler wing) and Martin Cade (scabrella)

The Melodious Warbler was another adult, with the presence of a decent brood-patch indicating it was a female (the bird three days ago lacked a brood-patch and was long-winged so was more likely a male). The scabrella was from Duncan Walbridge's moth-trap at Weston; Duncan also recorded what we think is the only other island record of this otherwise quite widespread species at the Grove in 1996, although our defective memory/duff record-keeping might mean we've forgotten one that's occurred in the meanwhile (...it really is about time we updated the Portland moth records and made them a bit more accessible).

  31st July

Another reasonable day ended in some style when, shortly after a late afternoon rain shower, a flurry of newly arrived migrants included the second Melodious Warbler of the autumn trapped and ringed at the Obs. The day's totals at the Bill otherwise included 50 Willow Warblers, 10 Wheatears, 4 Dunlin and ones and twos of Curlew, Whimbrel, Yellow Wagtail, White Wagtail, Tree Pipit, Grasshopper Warbler, Reed Warbler, Garden Warbler and Pied Flycatcher. The only worthwhile reports from the sea were of 3 Arctic Skuas and 2 Great Skuas passing the Bill.

Immigrants/wanderers in the Obs garden moth-traps this morning: 3 Diamond-back Moth and 1 Silver Y; additionally, a single Ypsolopha scabrella at Weston was noteworthy.

30th July

Warm, humid conditions look to be setting in and migrants remain on the move in fair numbers, with the day's tally at the Bill including 50 Willow Warblers and single figure totals of Grey Heron, Wheatear, Grasshopper Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Blackcap and Garden Warbler. After yesterday's main event it was no surprise that plenty of attention was given to the sea, with 23 Manx Shearwaters, 11 Common Scoter, 4 Arctic Skuas and a Balearic Shearwater logged at the Bill.

Immigrants in the Obs garden moth-traps this morning: 4 Rusty-dot Pearl, 4 Dark Sword Grass and 2 Silver Y.

 

   

  

  

Cory's Shearwater - off Portland Harbour, 29th July 2011 © James Phillips

...we're not quite sure where Portland waters begin and end but since these really gripping photographs were taken from a boat heading out to undertake a MARINElife evening survey for Balearic Shearwaters and the bird was outside the harbour it would probably be stretching it a bit to claim it as a Portland record. The additional photos below were kindly sent through by Tom Gale, one of the passengers on the survey:

  

  

  29th July

There was a startling and unexpected highlight today in the form of a Cory's Shearwater that was spotted from a boat just outside Portland Harbour during the evening. That aside, the day came up with little of consequence, with the Bill area returning totals of 30 Willow Warblers, 15 Wheatears, 2 Common Sandpipers, 2 Yellow Wagtails, 2 Sedge Warblers, 2 Garden Warblers and singles of Redshank, Yellow-legged Gull and Spotted Flycatcher on the land and 20 Common Scoter, 7 Manx Shearwaters and a Great Skua through on the sea.

Immigrants/wanderers in the Obs garden moth-traps this morning: 10 Silver Y, 7 Dark Sword Grass, 4 Rusty-dot Pearl and singles of Diamond-back Moth, Bird-cherry Ermine, Willow Ermine, Four-spotted Footman, Southern Wainscot, Double-lobed and Red Admiral butterfly.

 

   

  

   Melodious Warbler - Portland Bill, 28th July 2011 © Martin Cade

...in contrast to the vast majority of our autumn Melodious Warblers - which as you'd expect are birds of the year - this was an adult, although pretty decent views and careful observation would have been required to have established that fact had it only been seen in the field. Adult Melodious Warblers of course retain their by now quite worn 'breeding season' plumage until arrival in winter quarters but today's bird was considerably less shoddy than, for example, the majority of adult Reed and Sedge Warblers (which have a similar moult regime) start to get by late July. That said, the wings, tail and upper tail-coverts in particular were beginning to get quite chipped and faded and rendered ageing quite straightforward in the hand:

  

 

28th July

Evening update.

Bucking the recent trend of alternate days producing the numbers, today saw a nice arrival of fresh migrants, the best of which was a Melodious Warbler trapped and ringed at the Obs early in the morning. The quantity was provided by Willow Warblers, that totalled 150 or so at the Bill alone; 15 Sedge Warblers, 10 Wheatears, 2 Whinchats and singles of Grasshopper Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Garden Warbler and Blackcap also made the log there. Also, today we received what will likely be the last update for this season on the situation with the breeding Little Terns at Ferrybridge. John Dadds, who co-ordinates the recovery project there, reports as follows: 'There were still several fledglings around until a week ago but they seem to have all gone now apart from one late chick which should fledge this weekend. This chick will make a minimum of 12 fledglings from 18 pairs. In some ways this is disappointing bearing in mind how many eggs (44) we started with. However taking a long term view, it represents one of the best years ever in terms of productivity, only just behind last years figure. We put the high number of eggs not hatching down to the persistently cold and windy weather in June. It was mostly our later layers that failed. Most of the eggs had well developed embryos and we know that no foxes entered the colony'.
At least one party of unidentified dolphins were off the Bill during the morning.

The moth-traps were again very busy with routine fare, with immigrant interest provided by 4 each of Dark Sword Grass and Silver Y, 2 each of Diamond-back Moth, Bird-cherry Ermine and Rusty-dot Pearl and singles of Antler Moth, Southern Wainscot, Small Marbled and Small Mottled Willow at the Obs and a Buff Footman at the Grove.

 

Finally, updates to the site may be sporadic for the next week as we'll be away on family holiday and may not have regular internet access to post any news we receive. The Obs will be open, as usual, throughout this period.

 

   

   Acroclita subsequana - Southwell, 26th July 2011 © Martin Cade

...on our bumbling around mothing in the evenings just recently we've come across this local speciality quite frequently at various spots between Sheat Quarry and Church Ope Cove, where it can be readily disturbed from sparse vegetation in the vicinity of its foodplant, Portland Spurge. In Britain it seems to be a bit of a South Coast special and we're not sure whether it's actually been recorded anywhere else in Dorset other than at Portland.

 

27th July

Fair little flurries of common migrants seem to be cropping up on alternate days at the moment, with today bringing quite an improvement on yesterday's meagre totals. As expected Willow Warblers again dominated, with a good 100 or more at the Bill, where there were also 5 Wheatears, 2 Grey Herons and singles of Yellow-legged Gull, Grey Wagtail, Yellow Wagtail, Grasshopper Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Garden Warbler and Pied Flycatcher on the land and a Balearic Shearwater through on the sea.

More bumper hauls in the moth-traps included an immigrant/wanderer list from the Obs garden of 9 each of Dark Sword Grass and Silver Y, 4 each of Rusty-dot Pearl and Small Marbled and singles of Southern Wainscot and Red Admiral butterfly; another Small Marbled was the pick of the overnight catch at the Grove.

26th July

Quieter today with little more than the lightest scatter of common migrants around the south of the island and nothing of better quality than a lone Pied Flycatcher at Southwell. The only seawatch reports were of 13 Common Scoter and 2 Balearic Shearwaters through off the Bill.

On an overcast, muggy night the Obs garden moth-traps were very busy, with a selection of immigrants/wanderers attracted that included 8 Dark Sword Grass, 6 Silver Y, 5 Rusty-dot Pearl, 3 Small Marbled (not before time, the first recorded there this summer!) and singles European Corn-borer, Bordered Beauty, Double-lobed, Bordered Straw and Small Mottled Willow.

Finally, we took the opportunity to pop over to Lodmoor for another look at the Stilt Sandpiper which has taken up residence there; click here to have a look our one slightly reasonable photo from this trip.

 

   

   Little Ringed Plover - Ferrybridge, 25th July 2011 © Pete Saunders

...and also from Pete, one of yesterday's Yellow-legged Gulls at Ferrybridge:

  

 

25th July

It didn't take long for migrants to get going again, with a lovely warm, sunny day seeing the best arrival so far of common fare. Sand Martins dominated overhead, with 250 or more trickling through at the Bill, where grounded Willow Warblers numbered getting on for 100; 14 overflying Cormorants, 10 Sedge Warblers, 2 Yellow Wagtails, 2 Wheatears, 2 Garden Warblers, a Blackcap and the autumn's first Pied Flycatcher made up the numbers there, whilst a Little Ringed Plover was a new arrival amongst the waders at Ferrybridge.

Immigrant numbers remained less than impressive in the Obs garden moth-traps, which overnight attracted 7 Dark Sword Grass, 3 Silver Y, 2 European Corn-borer and singles of Rush Veneer and Rusty-dot Pearl.

24th July

Another single Crossbill that dropped in briefly at Culverwell provided the main interest on a drearier and, at least for grounded migrants, quieter day than the last few. A thin scatter of Willow Warblers were evident wherever there was coverage, but the only other obvious new arrivals on the ground were 3 Yellow-legged Gulls at Ferrybridge, a Garden Warbler at Southwell and 2 Wheatears and a Turnstone at the Bill. A small movement of skuas was a little unexpected on the sea at the Bill, where 3 Arctics, 2 Greats and a Pomarine passed through during the morning; 15 Common Scoter and 2 Balearic Shearwaters were also logged there.

Immigrant numbers dropped still further in the Obs garden moth-traps, which overnight attracted just 2 Rusty-dot Pearl and singles of Dark Sword Grass and Silver Y.

 

   

   Dunlin and Sanderling - Ferrybridge, 23rd July 2011 © Paul Baker The Bagsy Blog

 

23rd July

Not much change on the common migrant front but a party of 6 Crossbills flying north over the Grove did provide some scarcity interest. Routine migrants at the Bill included 35 Willow Warblers, 10 Sedge Warblers and a Reed Warbler on the ground and a few more Swifts and hirundines on the move overhead, whilst the wader selection at Ferrybridge included 41 Dunlin and 13 Sanderling. The only reports from the sea were of 16 Manx Shearwaters and 3 Common Scoter through off the Bill.

A rather chilly night saw immigrant numbers take a dive in the Obs garden moth-traps, which attracted just 5 each of Diamond-back Moth and Silver Y, and singles of Rush Veneer and Rusty-dot Pearl.

 

   

   yesterday's Bedstraw Hawk-moth now has a friend - Portland Bill, 22nd July 2011 © Martin Cade

...last month we got moaned at for appearing ungrateful when yet another Serin turned up and we expect to get it in the ear again when we remark that it whilst all these Bedstraw Hawks are very nice (we've been lucky enough to catch them in four of the last five years) we would quite like a Spurge Hawk...just one will do.

 

22nd July

Another small arrival of new migrants included totals of 25 Willow Warblers, 10 Sedge Warblers, 2 Garden Warblers and singles of Common Sandpiper, Yellow Wagtail, Wheatear and Reed Warbler at the Bill, with a few more of the same everywhere else that was checked out. Waders at Ferrybrdige included 41 Dunlin, 20 Sanderling and a Whimbrel, whilst seawatching at the Bill produced 32 Common Scoter, 30 Manx Shearwaters and 2 Balearic Shearwaters.

There was a big overnight arrival of Episyrphus balteatus hoverflies (the moth-traps were full of them) and newly arrived Red Admirals were very numerous everywhere today.

With the wind remaining in the east there was another small arrival of immigrant moths: the Obs garden traps came up with another Bedstraw Hawk-moth, along with 11 Silver Y, 10 Rusty-dot Pearl, 4 Diamond-back Moth, 3 Dark Sword Grass and singles of Dioryctria abietella, European Corn-borer, Rush Veneer and Red Admiral butterfly.

 

   

  

   Treecreeper and Bedstraw Hawk-moth - Portland Bill, 21st July 2011 © Martin Cade

 

21st July

The return of sunshine and summery warmth brought with it another fair little arrival of grounded migrants, with 30 Willow Warblers and 10 Sedge Warblers, along with a dispersing Treecreeper, at the Bill; overhead there was a steady passage of Sand Martins and Swallows heading into the north-easterly breeze. The only reports from the sea were of 30 Manx Shearwaters and 11 Common Scoter through off the Bill.

Despite it getting surprisingly chilly overnight the waft of easterly wind did the trick with the moths, and a small arrival of new immigrants at the Bill included a Bedstraw Hawk-moth, along with 6 Silver Y, 3 Dark Sword Grass, 2 Rusty-dot Pearl and singles of Diamond-back Moth and Bordered Straw.

Finally, click here for a few photos of Dorset's first Paddyfield Warbler that was trapped and ringed this morning at East Fleet.

20th July

On a rain-blighted morning there was more evidence of autumn passage getting going very promptly, with 10 or more Willow Warblers dotted about the Obs garden/hut fields. Also at the Bill 7 Common Sandpipers were settled on East Cliffs and 29 Common Scoter, 22 Manx Shearwaters, a Balearic Shearwater and a Teal passed through on the sea. Elsewhere there were 54 Dunlin and 22 Sanderling at Ferrybridge.

Immigrants in the Obs garden moth-traps this morning: 2 each of Diamond-back Moth and Rusty-dot Pearl and a single Silver Y.

 

   

  

   Garden Warbler and Willow Warbler - Portland Bill, 19th July 2011 © Martin Cade

 

19th July

A distinct improvement in the weather saw the wind drop right away and the temperature beginning to creep up again. On the bird front, whilst there was hardly a migrant bonanza it was slightly unexpected to get quite early first records for the autumn of Reed Warbler, Garden Warbler and Willow Warbler at the Bill (singles of each were netted and ringed there). Routine fare there included 50 Manx Shearwaters, a Yellow-legged Gull and a Mediterranean Gull through on the sea and a light trickle of departing Swallows and Sand Martins, whilst elsewhere there were 15 Sanderling and a Whimbrel at Ferrybridge.

A single Dark Sword Grass was the only immigrant caught overnight in the Obs garden moth-traps.

 

   

intermedius Lesser Black-backed Gull (with a graellsii Lesser Black-back and a Great Black-back) - Portland Bill, 18th July 2011 © Martin Cade

...the grim weather of recent days has driven fair numbers of gulls ashore. Juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls have been daily at the Bill:

   

  

...but the only ring-readings there have involved two more Channel-hoppers with very similar life histories:

  

  

...these birds - 4.LL5 and 4.ZZ7 - were first marked in their second calendar year at Chouet landfill site, Guernsey, on consecutive days in June 2009. Both were present on Guernsey throughout the winters of 2009/10 and 2010/11 but neither was seen there or elsewhere during summer 2010, nor had they been seen during the current summer until they pitched up at the Bill in recent days (as usual, thanks to Paul Veron Guernsey Gulls for these details).

 

18th July

Still quite miserable blustery and damp conditions today. A pretty constant westward flow of Manx Shearwaters was a feature at the Bill, where over 1000 passed during the morning and the movement was still going on whenever we had brief looks through the afternoon; the only other seawatch reports from there were of 2 Great Skuas and a single Balearic Shearwater passing by. On the land, 2 Yellow-legged Gulls were again grounded at the Bill and 17 Sanderling and 6 Mediterranean Gulls were at Ferrybridge.

17th July

Windier but less showery than yesterday. Seawatching at the Bill produced 630 Gannets, 500 Manx Shearwaters, 8 Common Scoter, 6 Balearic Shearwaters, 2 Arctic Skuas and a Great Skua, with the day's only other report being of 4 Yellow-legged Gulls grounded at the Bill.

Not surprisingly the only immigrants attracted overnight to the Obs garden moth-traps were singles of Diamond-back Moth, Rusty-dot Pearl and Dark Sword Grass.

16th July

Frequent rain showers and often poor visibility but not as windy as we'd been expecting this morning. The only reports have come from the Bill where 10 Balearic Shearwaters have passed by on the sea and a Yellow-legged Gull has been settled on the Bill Common.

Given the conditions we weren't expecting much in the way of moths and the only immigrants attracted to the Obs garden traps were 3 each of Diamond-back Moth and Rusty-dot Pearl and a single European Corn-borer.

 

Finally, Obs members should note an important announcement on our Noticeboard page regarding an increase in accommodation charges and membership fees that will take effect on 1st January 2012. Also added to the Noticeboard page in recent days are the In Focus field event dates for this autumn and details of a copy of the sought-after Jenni and Winker moult and ageing guide being offered for sale.

 

   

  

   Ethmia dodecea and Buff Footman - Portland Bill, 15th July 2011 © Martin Cade

...two species that have either suddenly developed wanderlust or are increasing: both were recorded for the first time relatively recently (Buff Footman in 2000 and dodecea in 2003) but both have already racked up multiple Portland records and are now almost expected annual strays to the island.

 

15th July

The only faintly worthwhile reports from the Bill were of 46 Common Scoter through on the sea and another Yellow-legged Gull settled on the Bill car park.

Immigrants have just about fizzled out in the moth-traps, with just 2 Rusty-dot Pearl, 2 Silver Y and a Small Mottled Willow the only overnight captures in the Obs garden; singles of Ethmia dodecea and Buff Footman were also of note there.

 

   

  

   Herring Gull - Portland Bill, 14th July 2011 © Martin Cade

...the first completely independent youngster of the summer.

And a few recent warblers; Lesser Whitethroat and Whitethroat at Southwell yesterday (© Pete Saunders):

  

  

...and from this morning the autumn's first trapped and ringed Sedge Warbler (© Martin Cade):

      

14th July

A lovely day of clear blue skies and the merest waft of a breeze - seemingly the calm before the storm. Departing migrants at the Bill included another trickle of Swifts and Sand Martins overhead and singles of Common Sandpiper and Sedge Warbler on the ground; 2 dispersing Blackcaps were also still there, a Yellow-legged Gull was lingering offshore and 23 Manx Shearwaters and 3 Black-headed Gulls passed by on the sea.

Immigrants and wanders attracted to the moth-traps overnight included 6 Rusty-dot Pearl, 3 each of Diamond-back Moth and Silver Y, 2 Small Mottled Willow and singles of European Corn-borer, Sandy Carpet and Dark Sword Grass at the Obs and singles of Beautiful Hook-tip and Bordered Straw at different sites at Southwell.

 

   

   Yellow-legged Gull - Portland Bill, 13th July 2011 © Martin Cade

...the first juvenile of the summer and several days later than they've been appearing at other sites around the shore of Lyme Bay.

Among the morning's moths, singles of Ypsolopha ustella and Eucosma obumbratana were the pick of the micros at the Obs:

  

  

...ustella - an inhabitant of oak woodland - was reported to occur on the island in the Victorian era but we've only got one other record of it in recent times (at the Obs in July 2006). We're never quite sure of the status of obumbratana: being just about annual at the Obs and with the description of its usual habitat fitting more or less with what we have here, it could be a low-density resident; however, The Flora of Dorset appears to indicate that the usual larval food-plant - Perennial Sow-thistle Sonchus arvensis - which is a widespread and common species in the county, has only been recorded in one tetrad on Portland. Perhaps the moth is just a stray here?

      

13th July

Sunnier and not so windy today. Odds and ends at the Bill included a trickle of Swifts and Sand Martins overhead, a Little Egret arriving from the south, 2 Common Sandpipers, a Yellow-legged Gull and a Dartford Warbler (the latter perhaps the individual first trapped and ringed a fortnight ago?), as well as 2 Balearic Shearwaters and a Mediterranean Gull through on the sea. Elsewhere a Green Sandpiper flew north up the West Cliffs, a Lesser Whitethroat was at Southwell and 10 Mediterranean Gulls and a Sanderling were at Ferrybridge.

There was relatively poor reward on the moth front, with 7 each of Rusty-dot Pearl and Dark Sword Grass, 4 Silver Y, 3 Diamond-back Moth, 2 Small Mottled Willow and singles of Ypsolopha ustella and Eucosma obumbratana at the Obs and a Barred Red at Weston the extent of the immigrants/wanderers recorded.

 

   

   Small Marbled - The Grove, 12th July 2011 © Martin Cade

...a peculiar feature of the recent best-ever influx of this species is that not a single one has been caught in the Obs garden moth-traps; we've caught plenty before - indeed the Obs traps must be right up near the top of the list for the number of British records of the species - but this time they've passed us by.

      

12th July

Dreary skies and a fresh north-easterly but still really quite warm today. Swifts and hirundines were trickling through all morning into the stiff breeze, but the only other obvious new arrival at the Bill was an over-flying Little Ringed Plover. Seawatching there produced 8 Common Scoter, 6 Manx Shearwaters and 2 each of Balearic Shearwater and Mediterranean Gull. News from elsewhere included 14 Mediterranean Gulls, 8 Dunlin and a Redshank at Ferrybridge.

There was a big influx of several species of hoverflies around the island today: the various moth-traps were full of them indicating an arrival in the hours of darkness, and as the day wore on a considerable northbound movement developed at the Bill where pretty impressive numbers were passing straight through at the Obs garden.

The main feature of the night's mothing was the capture of 5 Small Marbled - 3 at the Grove and 2 at Southwell. The tally of more routine immigrants/wanderers at the Obs included 9 Rusty-dot Pearl, 8 Dark Sword Grass, 5 Silver Y, 4 Small Mottled Willow, 3 Diamond-back Moth and singles of Spruce Carpet and Fen Wainscot, whilst a Clay Triple-lines was another noteworthy wanderer at Southwell.

11th July

A calm and quite hot day. Sand Martins featured again at the Bill, although with some lingering and others passing straight through it wasn't easy working out how many there were; otherwise the land there came up with nothing much more than singles of Ringed Plover, Common Sandpiper, Blackcap and Yellowhammer. The only seawatch reports also came from the Bill where 25 Manx Shearwaters, 14 Common Scoter, a Balearic Shearwater and a Black-headed Gull passed by. 

Just a handful of routine immigrants in the Obs garden moth-traps this morning: 2 each of Rusty-dot Pearl and Dark Sword Grass and singles of Diamond-back Moth, Rush Veneer and Silver Y.

 

   

   Chalkhill Blue - Church Ope Cove, 10th July 2011 © Ken Dolbear

      

10th July

With the fresh breeze of recent days dropping right away overnight it's beginning to feel a lot warmer once again. Not a great deal of attention was given to the land and the only report of note from there was of 100 Sand Martins amongst the first good gathering of hirundines and Swifts of the autumn at the Bill. More standard fare on the sea included 23 Common Scoter, 9 each of Manx and Balearic Shearwaters, 3 Black-headed Gulls, 3 Sandwich Terns and a Mediterranean Gull through off the Bill. 

On the butterfly front the first Chalkhill Blues of the year are now appearing on the wing.

The improvement in the weather saw numbers pick up quite well in the moth-traps, although the immigrant tally at the Obs - 3 Diamond-back Moth, 2 Rusty-dot Pearl and singles of Evergestis extimals, European Corn-borer, Dark Sword Grass, Small Mottled Willow and Silver Y - consisted largely of well-worn specimens that looked as though they'd been hanging around for a week or more.

9th July

Just odds and ends of news from the sea again this morning, with 33 Manx Shearwaters and 3 Balearic Shearwaters through off the Bill.

Immigrants in the Obs garden moth-traps this morning: 3 Diamond-back Moth, 2 Rusty-dot Pearl and 1 Small Mottled Willow.

8th July

Blowy again today but with plenty of sunshine and little in the way of passing showers. A predictable array on the sea included 68 Manx Shearwaters, 13 Common Scoter and 8 Balearic Shearwaters passing the Bill.

A solitary Silver Y was the only immigrant attracted overnight to the Obs garden moth-traps.

7th July

Another day when the only reports were of seawatching at the Bill which produced 14 Common Scoter, 4 Balearic Shearwaters, a Great Skua and the regulation trickle of Manx Shearwaters.

We did leave a couple of moth-traps plugged in at the Obs but, not surprisingly given the lousy overnight conditions, not a single immigrant was caught.

 

   

  

  

  Bright Wave, Manx Shearwater and Balearic Shearwater - Portland Bill, 6th July 2011 © Martin Cade

...the Balearic put on a good show by repeatedly plunge-diving not too far offshore during the evening:

  

  

  

  

 

6th July

With frequent hefty showers and the wind gusting up to around gale force by the evening the day's reports were all of seawatching at the Bill: Manx Shearwaters were ever-present in relatively small numbers, 2 or more Balearic Shearwaters lingered offshore and 4 Common Scoter, 3 Pomarine Skuas and 2 Arctic Skuas passed through.

In the moth-traps, numbers took a tumble but there was a noteworthy prize at the Obs in the form of the island's second record of Bright Wave; the immigrant tally there otherwise didn't stretch beyond 9 Rusty-dot Pearl, 4 Silver Y and singles of Diamond-back Moth and Rush Veneer, whilst another European Corn-borer was the best of the catch at the Grove.

 

   

  

Kestrel and Peregrine - Southwell, July 2011 © Pete Saunders

 

5th July

The return of the English summer - a sunny start giving way to rain or drizzle and a freshening wind - saw most attention given to the sea, with 37 Common Scoter, 10 commic terns, 5 Manx Shearwaters, 2 Balearic Shearwaters and singles of Shoveler, Arctic Skua and Sandwich Tern logged at the Bill. The only other report was of 6 Mediterranean Gulls at Ferrybridge.

Overnight mothing on what looked likely to be the last night of 'suitable' conditions in the current spell of immigrant activity was disappointing unproductive. A Small Marbled was a not unexpected highlight from a few hours out with the generator at Duncecroft Quarry, whilst amongst the static traps the Obs garden produced 14 Small Mottled Willow, 11 Rusty-dot Pearl, 4 each of Diamond-back Moth and Silver Y, 2 Rush Veneer and singles of Evergestis extimalis, Dark Sword Grass and Ni Moth; a lone European Corn-borer at the Grove was the pick of the catches elsewhere.

 

   

Suspected - The Grove, 4th July 2011 © Martin Cade

...certainly not the most exciting-looking species, but an addition to the island moth list nonetheless. We spent a couple of hours last night mothing at Ferrybridge where the species list included a few shingle beach specials like the pretty little gelechid, Eulamprotes wilkella:

Perhaps surprisingly, wilkella has at least some propensity to wander away from its usual habitat as we once caught one in the Obs garden moth-traps (in July 2003).

      

4th July

The continuing fine weather is getting a few birds moving, with an extremely early departing Sedge Warbler, a Grey Wagtail and a Blackcap all new arrivals at the Bill. The only reports from the sea there were of 5 Sandwich Terns and a Manx Shearwater.

The pick of the overnight moth catch was a Suspected at the Grove; the immigrant tally in the Obs garden traps included 11 Rusty-dot Pearl, 8 each of Diamond-back Moth and Small Mottled Willow, 4 Silver Y and singles of Rush Veneer, Pearly Underwing and Ni Moth.

3rd July

Another hot, sunny day saw just a few reports from the Bill area: a Dartford Warbler on the land and 85 Common Scoter, 7 Manx Shearwaters, 2 Mute Swans and an Arctic Skua through on the sea. 

The mothing remained at much the same level as the last few nights, with 7 Rusty-dot Pearl, 2 Diamond-back Moth, 2 Small Mottled Willow and singles of Rush Veneer, Vestal and Silver Y caught in the Obs garden traps.

2nd July

More lovely summer weather but precious little on the bird front, with just 3 Common Scoter, 2 Mediterranean Gulls and 2 Sandwich Terns through on the sea at the Bill.

On a very busy moth night the immigrant tally in the Obs garden traps included 15 Rusty-dot Pearl, 5 Diamond-back Moth, 5 Small Mottled Willow, 2 Silver Y, an Evergestis extimalis, a Rush Veneer, a Bordered Straw and another likely Oxyptilus laetus.

1st July

A very pleasant clear and sunny day but not too much to report from the Bill, where 20 Manx Shearwater, 14 Common Scoter and a Balearic Shearwater passed through on the sea but nothing of consequence cropped up on the land.

Moth activity remained at the ticking over level although a single Vestal caught overnight at Southwell was another new species for the current spell of immigrant activity; other immigrants/wanderers attracted to the traps included 6 Rusty-dot Pearl, 4 Small Mottled Willow, 2 Rush Veneer and singles of Diamond-back Moth, European Corn-borer, Scallop Shell, Dark Sword Grass, Scarce Bordered Straw and Silver Y at the Obs and 2 Diamond-back Moth and singles of Rusty-dot Pearl, Small Mottled Willow and Silver Y at Southwell.

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