August 2012

31st August

The weather finally settled right down and although conditions were hardly suitable for any sort of fall - dawn was really quite cold in a light northerly and under crystal clear skies - there was much more to be seen on the land than has been the case since early last week. At the Bill, Wheatears totalled around 200 and were certainly the most conspicuous of the commoner migrants; a Nightjar provided the oddity interest there, whilst other totals of grounded/overhead migrants included 50 Willow Warblers, 40 Yellow Wagtails, 25 each of Tree Pipit and Robin, 5 Whinchats, 4 each of Ringed Plover and Sedge Warbler, 3 each of White Wagtail and Siskin and ones/twos of Grey Heron, Yellow-legged Gull, Grasshopper Warbler, Reed Warbler, Blackcap, Garden Warbler and Lesser Whitethroat. Elsewhere there was a Cuckoo at Barelycrates Lane, 3 Pied Flycatchers scattered and the first Brent Goose of the autumn at Ferrybridge. Fifty Manx Shearwaters and 2 Balearic Shearwaters passed through off the Bill.

Despite the apparently very unsuitable conditions there was a notable arrival of Silver Y, with 71 caught overnight in the Obs garden moth-traps; a lone Diamond-back Moth was the only other immigrant recorded there.





Sabine's Gull - Portland Bill, 30th August 2012 © Martin Cade

...and a couple more flight shots © Pete Saunders:



  30th August

In the wake of this week's unsettled conditions a Sabine's Gull was a very welcome highlight at the Bill: it was first spotted settled in fields to the east of the Obs before relocating to the Bill Common where it remained for getting on for an hour. Despite the wind shifting well towards the north-west there was still a bit of interest on the sea, with 13 Balearic Shearwaters, 3 Arctic Skuas and 2 Great Skuas through off the Bill during the morning. Efforts on the land drew as near to a blank as was possible, with no migrants trapped and ringed at the Obs and nothing better than 5 Wheatears, 2 Swifts, 2 Yellow Wagtails and a Grey Wagtail logged around the Bill area.

Four Silver Y were the only immigrants in the Obs garden moth-traps this morning.

29th August

A stiff south-westerly and a good drop of rain through the late morning saw pretty well all the attention given to the sea, with watches at the Bill coming up with 200 Manx Shearwaters, 33 Balearic Shearwaters, 6 Sooty Shearwaters and 2 Great Skuas, elsewhere 3 Arctic Skuas, 2 Arctic Terns and a Great Skua passed through/lingered at Chesil Cove. Three more late Swifts and a Greenshank passed over at the Bill but there was otherwise precious little coverage of the land.

Immigrants in the Obs garden moth-traps: 19 Silver Y, 4 Rusty-dot Pearl and singles of Palpita vitrealis, Rush Veneer, Dark Spinach and Hoary Footman; elsewhere a Cydia amplana was caught overnight at Reap Lane.




Wheatear and Wryneck - Portland Bill, 28th August 2012 © Will Bown (Wheatear) and Ken Dolbear (Wryneck)

  28th August

Still quite breezy today but, once a bit of early murk had cleared through, much sunnier and warmer than yesterday. A Wryneck - presumably yesterday's bird evenually settling down - showed up in the Obs Quarry but common migrants remained anything but common: at the Bill only Wheatear made double figures, whilst 5 Tree Pipits, 2 Yellow Wagtails, the first Merlin of the autumn, a Yellow-legged Gull and a Pied Flycatcher provided just about the only minor interest; elsewhere there were 3 Common Sandpipers and a late-ish Swift at East Weare. The sea was still worth a look early in the morning, when 8 each of Balearic Shearwater and Arctic Skua and 2 Great Skuas passed through off the Bill and singles of Osprey, Grey Phalarope, Great Skua and Pomarine Skua were reported from Chesil Cove; later in the day the same or another Grey Phalarope passed through off the Bill.

Single Hummingbird Hawk-moths were on the wing at the Obs and a Reap Lane, whilst odd single Painted Ladys were seen at several sites.

Immigrants in the Obs garden moth-traps this morning: 16 Silver Y, 2 Rush Veneer and 2 Rusty-dot Pearl.



Wryneck - Portland Bill, 27th August 2012 © Martin Cade

  27th August

With the wind having shifted into the south overnight most attention was given to the sea, with watches at the Bill coming up with totals of c150 Fulmars, 40 Arctic Skuas, 30 Manx Shearwaters, 24 Common Scoter, 13 commic terns, 10 Balearic Shearwaters, 9 Great Skuas, 4 Sooty Shearwaters, 3 Guillemots, a Razorbill and a Black Tern. A new Wryneck showed up quite briefly near the Obs, but commoner migrants were still only very thinly spread; 7 Tree Pipits, 5 Yellow Wagtails, 2 Pied Flycatchers, a Curlew, a Cuckoo and a Whinchat were the only slightly scarcer migrants at the Bill.

Immigrant moth numbers increased a little, with 14 Silver Y, 5 Rush Veneer, 4 Rusty-dot Pearl and singles of Diamond-back Moth, Palpita vitrealis and Dark Spinach caught overnight at the Obs.




A reminder that the next In Focus field event at the Obs takes place between 10am and 4pm tomorrow, Tuesday 28th August. 


26th August

The strength of the north-westerly wind was always a feature, albeit never quite enough to spoil efforts on the land; unfortunately those efforts were not especially rewarded, with the thin spread of new arrivals of Bill including little better than 7 Tree Pipits, 3 Yellow Wagtails and singles of Cuckoo, Grey Wagtail, Whinchat, Lesser Whitethroat and Pied Flycatcher amongst the more standard fare. Elsewhere there were reports of up to of 3 Curlew Sandpipers at Ferrybridge and another report of a Wryneck heard calling at Verne Common. The sea still received a good deal of attention, with 19 Balearic Shearwaters, 2 Arctic Skuas and singles of Pomarine Skua and Great Skua the pick of the bunch off the Bill.

A Cosmopolitan was a surprise oddity in the Obs garden moth-traps, which otherwise produced just 5 Silver Y, 2 Rusty-dot Pearl and a Rush Veneer by way of other immigrants.

25th August

The brisk south-westerly that veered towards the north-west and strengthened through the day saw to it that the sea always looked likely to come up with the day's interest. That promise was quickly fulfilled with an early morning Long-tailed Skua through Chesil Cove, although plenty of effort during the rest of the day produced little else that was at all unexpected. The Bill got most of the coverage and returned totals that included 48 Manx Shearwaters, 31 Balearic Shearwaters, 4 Arctic Skuas, 3 Green Sandpipers, a Sooty Shearwater and a Great Skua. The land was very much the poor relation with, for example, just 2 migrants trapped and ringed in a whole morning of trying at the Obs.

The only redeeming feature of the night's moth-trapping lay in the hope that it can only get better in the next few days: 2 Silver Y and a Rush Veneer were the only immigrants caught in the Obs garden traps.

24th August

A disappointing morning saw the cloud cover and gentle south-easterly of dawn drop very few new arrivals; by afternoon heavy rain and an ever-strengthening wind had set in - typical conditions for the upcoming bank holiday weekend! The meagre spread of migrants at the Bill included 2 Tree Pipits, a Whimbrel, a Snipe, a Cuckoo and a Pied Flycatcher, but among the more routine fare only Willow Warbler managed to get into double figures.

Despite promising-looking conditions overnight moth-trapping was relatively unproductive, with the immigrant tally in the Obs garden traps consisting of 18 Rush Veneer, 15 Silver Y, 6 Rusty-dot Pearl, 5 Diamond-back Moth and 2 Dark Sword Grass.

23rd August

Another day that really amounted to something of nothing, with the thin scatter of migrants evident in the first hour of the day very quickly evaporating. The Verne Common Wryneck was still present, although evidently always elusive. Among the grounded migrants only Wheatear and Willow Warbler made double figure totals at the Bill, where 6 Tree Pipits, 3 Whimbrel, 3 Yellow Wagtails, the first 2 White Wagtails of the autumn, a Snipe, a Dunlin, a Cuckoo, a Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Pied Flycatcher provided some minor interest; occasional pulses of passing Sand Martins and Swallows were evident everywhere. The Ferrybridge waders tally included singles of Whimbrel and Knot.

Immigrants in the Obs garden moth-traps: 17 Silver Y, 7 Rush Veneer and 5 Rusty-dot Pearl.

22nd August

Poor reward today on a bright but very breezy day. Among the routine migrants only Wheatears, that numbered around 50 at the Bill, were at all conspicuous; the thin spread of other expected fare included singles of Hobby, Cuckoo, Whinchat, Lesser Whitethroat and Pied Flycatcher at the Bill, whilst elsewhere the Wryneck remained at Verne Common and a Little Stint was a new arrival at Ferrybridge.

The overnight moth catch was much reduced, with the immigrant tally in the Obs garden traps consisting of just 17 Silver Y, 6 Rush Veneer, 4 Rusty-dot Pearl, a Pearly Underwing and an Antler.




Cuckoo - Portland Bill, 21st August 2012 © Martin Cade

  21st August

A heavily overcast dawn promised a bit more of yesterday's action but it soon became evident that numbers were, for the most part, rather reduced. Tree Pipits figured quite well, with 22 over the Bill, and for the first time this autumn Yellow Wagtail got into double figures, but at the Bill Sedge Warbler and Willow Warbler, that returned totals of 40 and 50 respectively, were the only common migrants grounded in any quantity; overhead, Swallows and Sand Martins were passing through in fair numbers all morning. Less common migrants included 4 Pied Flycatchers and a Cuckoo at the Bill and a Common Sandpiper at East Weare. A few Manx Shearwaters were still milling around offshore and 2 Arctic Skuas also passed through off the Bill.

Immigrant moths were still about in some quantity, with the Obs traps coming up with totals of 26 Silver Y, 25 Rusty-dot Pearl, 24 Rush Veneer, 3 Cydia amplana and singles of Diamond-back Moth, Loxostege sticticalis, Vestal, Latticed Heath, Convolvulus Hawk-moth and Pearly Underwing, with oddities elsewhere including another Dark Spinach at the Grove.

20th August

It might have been expected that overcast skies in the New Moon period may well come up with the goods, and that certainly proved to be the case today. Although there hasn't exactly been much competition in the migrant fall stakes so far this autumn, today's flurry was certainly the best to date: the Bill area got most of the coverage and came up with totals of 150 Willow Warblers, 100 Sedge Warblers, 40 Wheatears, 15 Pied Flycatchers, 13 Tree Pipits, 6 Spotted Flycatchers, 3 Whinchats, 2 each of Grasshopper Warbler, Reed Warbler and Garden Warbler, and singles of Yellow-legged Gull and Cuckoo; Lesser Black-back Gull passage was also conspicuous, abeit not fully quantified, whilst hirundines got moving in some numbers once warm sunshine broke through late in the morning. Elsewhere the Wryneck showed up again during the afternoon at Verne Common and there was report from a member of the public of a Hoopoe briefly at high Angle Battery. Offshore, a decent feeding flock of up to 200 Manx Shearwaters showed up, and at various times this also attracted 24 commic terns, 2 Balearic Shearwaters and 2 Arctic Skuas.

Immigrants in the Obs garden moth-traps: 50 Silver Y, 37 Rusty-dot Pearl, 16 Rush Veneer, 4 Latticed Heath, 2 each of Diamond-back Moth and Cydia amplana, and singles of Vestal, Convolvulus Hawk-moth, Dark Sword Grass and Scarce Bordered Straw; elsewhere interest was provided by a Small Mottled Willow at Southwell, a Dark Spinach at the Grove, singles of Cydia amplana and Antler at Weston and another Convolvulus Hawk-moth found by a member of the public at Easton.



Loxostege sticticalis - The Grove, 19th August 2012 © Martin Cade

  19th August

Yesterday's fog lingered on until nearly midday before finally clearing to reveal that we'd be missing glorious clear skies and hot sunshine - sometimes living at the seaside does have its downsides. Maybe surprisingly, a good many migrants did find Portland in the overnight murk and there was a decent spread of new arrivals that included an elusive first Wryneck of the autumn at Verne Common. Routine fare at the Bill included 30 each of Sedge Warbler and Willow Warbler, 10 Wheatears, 6 Garden Warblers, 3 Turnstones, 2 Spotted Flycatchers and singles of Dunlin, Redshank, Lesser Whitethroat and Pied Flycatcher, whilst elsewhere a Hobby at Verne Common, a Great Spotted Woodpecker at Wakeham and 6 Sanderling, a Knot and a Whimbrel at Ferrybridge were of note.

The fog led to very subdued overnight moth activity, with immigrant totals that included 22 Silver Y, 8 Rusty-dot Pearl and singles of Cydia amplana, Palpita vitrealis and Rush Veneer at the Obs, 2 Cydia amplana at Weston and 2 Four-spotted Footman and a Loxostege sticticalis at the Grove.

18th August

Fog was a constant feature today and probably made a fairly grim migrant situation even worse. Amongst the routine fare only Willow Warbler just about made a double figure total at the Bill, with 5 Pied Flycatchers and singles of Tree Pipit and Grasshopper Warbler providing the only minor interest there; another Pied Flycatcher and a Common Sandpiper were at East Weare.

The still, overcast and humid conditions ensured that the moth-traps were very busy, with the immigrant tally at the Obs consisting of 79 Cydia amplana, 15 Rush Veneer, 13 Rusty-dot Pearl, 9 Silver Y, 8 Diamond-back Moth, 2 Latticed Heath and a Pediasia contaminella; notables from the various garden traps elsewhere around the island included 8 Cydia amplana and a Palpita vitrealis at Southwell, 7 Cydia amplana at Weston and 15 Cydia amplana, 2 Small China-marks, a Dark Spinach and a Latticed Heath at the Grove.

17th August

Something of nothing today in increasingly hot and humid conditions. Grounded migrants remained in very short supply, with little more of note than 4 Pied Flycatchers and a Reed Warbler at the Bill, another Pied Flycatcher at Weston and 3 Common Sandpipers at East Weare. Small numbers of Manx Shearwaters trickled through all morning off the Bill, where 8 Common Scoter, 2 Balearic Shearwaters and a Great Skua also passed by; another Great Skua passed through off Chesil Cove.

Immigrant lepidoptera again featured in relatively small numbers, with 7 Silver Y, 3 Rusty-dot Pearl, 2 Cydia amplana, and singles of Diamond-back Moth, Latticed Heath and Red Admiral butterfly attracted overnight to the Obs garden moth-traps.

16th August

A Hoopoe was a surprise, albeit brief, new arrival at East Weare this morning, but otherwise the day was something of an anti-climax, with few grounded migrants or seabirds and yesterday's waders all gone from Ferrybridge. Pied Flycatchers did feature on the land, with 3 at the Bill and 2 at Wakeham/East Weare, but interest on the land otherwise didn't get beyond a very light scatter of Wheatears and Willow Warblers everywhere, 2 Whinchat, a Ringed Plover and a Cuckoo at the Bill, 36 Black-tailed Godwits flying over at Ferrybridge and a Common Sandpiper at East Weare; we're not sure how many Great Spotted Woodpeckers are roaming around the island at the moment, but today there were singles at the Bill, Southwell and Wakeham. Five Manx Shearwaters and a Balearic Shearwater were the only seabirds of note off the Bill.

A stiff wind again spoilt overnight moth-trapping, with the immigrant tally at the Obs consisting of 23 Silver Y, 7 Rusty-dot Pearl, 6 Cydia amplana, a Diamond-back Moth and a Rush Veneer.




Curlew Sandpipers and Little Stint - Ferrybridge, 15th August 2012 © Pete Saunders

  15th August

A distinct downturn in the weather saw wind and rain sweep through during the morning; although it cleared up during the afternoon the wind remained a feature throughout. Any hopes of decent sea passage were very quickly dashed, with only persistence eventually producing a meagre tally of 7 Manx Shearwaters, 3 Common Scoter and singles of Balearic Shearwater, Whimbrel, Great Skua, Common Tern and Razorbill through off the Bill. Although the rain looked to have dropped next to nothing by way of passerine migrants, there was a good arrival of waders at Ferrybridge, where 6 Curlew Sandpipers, 5 Knot, 2 Little Stints, a Grey Plover, a Greenshank and a Little Stint, along with 4 Little Terns, were all newcomers; there was also a conspicuous increase in grounded Lesser Black-backed Gulls at the Bill.

The wind set in early enough to spoil overnight moth-trapping, with immigrant list from the Obs traps consisting of just 19 Silver Y, 3 Cydia amplana, 2 each of Rusty-dot Pearl and Rush Veneer and singles of Diamond-back Moth and Dark Sword Grass.

14th August

The weather forecasters certainly made a pig's ear of their predictions for today, with Portland being treated to a lovely hot, sunny day when it had sounded likely that we'd have been dodging the odd shower under a veil of cloud. The forecast had looked promising, but the conditions that transpired saw to it precious little beyond a thin scatter of routine migrants made it on to the ground, with the Bill scoring with no more than 30 Wheatears, 20 Sedge Warblers, 10 Willow Warblers, 2 Reed Warblers, 2 Pied Flycatchers and singles of Golden Plover, Greenshank, Tree Pipit and Whinchat; elsewhere there were 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers at Southwell and a Golden Plover at Ferrybridge.

Immigrants/strays in the Obs garden moth-traps: 12 Silver Y, 6 Rusty-dot Pearl, 5 Diamond-back Moth, 5 Rush Veneer and singles of Pediasia contaminella, Maiden's Blush, Clay Triple-lines, Dark Sword Grass and Gothic; elsewhere another Evergestis extimalis was caught at the Grove.



putative Jersey Mocha - Portland Bill, 13th August 2012 © Martin Cade seems to show all the features you'd like to see for it to be a Jersey Mocha.

  13th August

A very disappointing day on the land, with the decent cloud cover and southerly wind of dawn delivering next to nothing on the migrant front. At the Bill there were just single figure totals of the commonest migrants, whilst the only minor interest elsewhere concerned singles of Cuckoo at Avalanche Road and Pied Flycatcher at Weston. Seawatching at the Bill came up with 5 Manx Shearwaters, 4 Balearic Shearwaters, a Little Gull and a Great Skua.

Immigrants in the Obs garden moth-traps: 15 Silver Y, 13 Diamond-back Moth, 8 Rusty-dot Pearl, 4 Rush Veneer, 2 Maiden's Blush, a European Corn-borer and a likely Jersey Mocha; elsewhere an Evergestis extimalis was the best of the overnight catch at the Grove.




 Aquatic Warbler - Portland Bill, 12th August 2012 © Martin Cade

...and the Crown Estate Field - where the Aquatic was netted - looking rather picturesque now that the sunflowers are in full bloom:


And a few photos from Pete Saunders. Great Spotted Woodpecker, Pied Flycatcher and Willow Warbler in Pete's garden at Southwell:




And a rather extraordinary photo of an Emperor dragonfly carrying a bumblebee; evidently the dragonfly had been patrolling Pete's garden for some while when it appeared carrying the bee that it had presumably just killed:


  12th August

After a relatively slow start to autumn the last few days have been something of a purple patch, with today chipping in with an Aquatic Warbler that was trapped and ringed in the Crown Estate Field at the Bill; it showed for a short while after release before vanishing into the beach hut fields near the Coastguard Cottages. Routine fare remained a little under-represented, with Wheatear, Sedge Warbler and Willow Warbler each struggling to get beyond the 25 mark at the Bill; oddities there included 2 Greenshanks, 2 Pied Flycatchers and singles of Cuckoo and Turtle Dove, whilst elsewhere there was a Great Spotted Woodpecker and another Pied Flycatcher at Southwell and 3 Greenshank at Ferrybridge. Seawatching at the Bill produced singles of Balearic Shearwater and Pomarine Skua.

Moth immigration picked up quite conspicuously, with the Obs traps returning totals of 25 Silver Y, 8 Diamond-back Moth, 7 Cydia amplana, 5 Rusty-dot Pearl, 3 Rush Veneer and a Red Admiral butterfly, along with a marked arrival of Cydia splendana (55 in one trap and likely more than 100 in total); the various garden traps elsewhere produced highlights that included a Bactra robustana (probably the first confirmed record for Portland) and 4 Cydia amplana at Sweethill, Southwell, and a Maiden's Blush and a Gothic at Reap Lane, Southwell.

11th August

Despite it remaining sunny and warm, albeit with a veil of patchy cloud increasingly evident through the afternoon, the strength of the brisk south-easterly that had sprung up overnight made for surprisingly difficult birding today. Migrants were certainly about but at the Bill it was only the 50 or so Wheatears that were dotted about in the open that were at all easy to get to grips with; a light scatter of Sedge Warblers and Willow Warblers, together with 4 Snipe, 2 Whinchats and singles of Whimbrel, Cuckoo, Yellow Wagtail, Tree Pipit and Grasshopper Warbler provided further interest there. Elsewhere, 135 Ringed Plover and 30 Dunlin were at Ferrybridge.

Immigrants in the Obs garden moth-traps: 12 Silver Y and 1 Dark Sword Grass; elsewhere a Bordered Straw was the best of the immigrants at the Grove.



Buff-breasted Sandpiper - Ferrybridge, 10th August 2012 © Brett Spencer Brett's Goosey Ganderings's only image of it was captured in the nick of time as it towered up and headed off to the west.

  10th August

Sadly, the Buff-breasted Sandpiper departed high to the west shortly after dawn, so it was left to a variety of mainly routine migrants to provide interest on what proved to be another pretty scorchingly hot day. There was a hint of an upturn in variety at the Bill, where singles of Marsh Harrier, Whimbrel, Cuckoo, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Tree Pipit, Whinchat, Garden Warbler and Pied Flycatcher were additions to the mix of Wheatears, Sedge Warblers and Willow Warblers, all of which got into the 20s; another lone Marsh Harrier - or perhaps the same individual? - passed over at Ferrybridge. Yesterday's Swifts had departed but there were strong post-dawn movements of some hundreds of Swallows over the Bill and Ferrybridge.

The moth-traps were again busy on a warm night, but the only immigrants caught at the Obs were 16 Silver Y, 9 Rush Veneer, 4 Diamond-back Moth and 4 Rusty-dot Pearl.







Melodious Warbler and Buff-breasted Sandpiper - Portland Bill and Ferrybridge, 9th August 2012 © Steve Gantlett (in field Melodious) and Martin Cade (in hand Melodious and Buff-breast) might not look as though it was nearly dark when we took these images of the Buff-breast but it was actually so long after sunset that despite the bird being really quite close we couldn't resolve it with the naked eye at the moment the photos were taken! 

  9th August

An unexpectedly excellent day that produced - along with plenty of hot sunshine - the autumn's first Melodious Warbler, that was discovered near the Obs Quarry before eventually being trapped and ringed at the Obs, and a Buff-breasted Sandpiper that was found in the gathering gloom of dusk at Ferrybridge. On the commoner migrant front there were reasonable little arrivals of 50 Willow Warblers, 30 Wheatears and 15 Sedge Warblers at the Bill, where a very good gathering of up to 500 Swifts was evident late in the day; oddities around the island included 2 early Siskins over Ferrybridge, a Great Spotted Woodpecker at Southwell, 2 Grasshopper Warblers and a Greenshank at the Bill and a single Balearic Shearwater through on the sea there.

Immigrants in the Obs garden moth-traps: 15 Silver Y, 5 Rusty-dot Pearl and 3 Rush Veneer; elsewhere around the island a single European Corn-borer at the Grove was the pick of the scarcer immigrants, whilst the arrival of several Four-spotted Footman on the sheet during a couple of hours of trapping at St Andrews Church was thought most likely to indicate that this species is now established in the 'woodland' at Pennsylvania Castle.

8th August

In what really ought to be a peak period for the likes of passing Sedge Warblers and Willow Warblers it remains exceptionally quiet. Another fairly promising-looking damp dawn saw a very small arrival of maybe 30 Sedge Warblers, 10 Willow Warblers and 5 Wheatears at the Bill but, with the exception of a southbound passage of several hundred Sand Martins that developed during the much sunnier and increasingly warm afternoon, that was just about the sum total of the day's happenings on the land. Seawatching at the Bill produced 43 Common Scoter.

Four Silver Y were the only immigrants in the Obs garden moth-traps.



The Bill lighthouse - 7th August 2012 © Martin Cade

...we're not quite sure why it was floodlit tonight - it isn't usually; the weird green bit in the bottom of the photo is the glow from one of our moth-traps at the end of the Obs garden.

  7th August

Another day when the overcast skies of dawn promised to drop a few birds but precious little materialised; also conspicuously absent was the rain that was supposed to have set in during the morning but, bar the odds spits and spots, still hadn't developed by the end of the afternoon. Wheatear, Sedge Warbler and Willow Warbler all just about made double figure totals at the Bill, where 2 Tree Pipits, a Yellow Wagtail and a Garden Warbler were the only other routine migrants to make the log; a Great Spotted Woodpecker also put in an appearance there, whilst waders at Ferrybridge included 120 Ringed Plover and 50 Dunlin. Seawatching at the Bill produced 35 Common Scoter and a single Arctic Skua.

After yesterday's flourish of interest this morning's moth haul was considerably more mundane, with 10 Silver Y the only immigrants making it to the Obs traps.





   Cydia amplana, Gymnancyla canella and Dewick's Plusia - Portland Bill, 6th August 2012 © Martin Cade

...and this evening's Little Ringed Plover at Ferrybridge (© Martin Cade):


  6th August

Just a hint of passage picking up a little today. The Bill area received most attention, with 25 Willow Warblers, 15 Sedge Warblers and 10 Wheatears on the ground and 110 Sand Martins overhead making up the bulk of the numbers; 2 Common Sandpipers, a Grey Heron, a Ringed Plover, a Curlew and a Lesser Whitethroat there, 3 Grey Herons over East Weare, a Green Woodpecker at Avalanche Road and a Little Ringed Plover at Ferrybridge provided further interest. On the sea, 4 Yellow-legged Gulls and a lone Great Skua headed west off the Bill

Overnight conditions had looked quite promising for moth immigration and interest certainly perked up in the Obs garden traps, which came up with a list of immigrants/strays that included 4 Silver Y, 2 Cydia amplana and singles of Diamond-back Moth, Rush Veneer, Gymnancyla canella and Dark Sword Grass; the pick of the catches in the up-island garden traps were a Calamotropha paludella at Reap Lane and 2 Vine Moth at the Grove.

5th August

After a night that saw a prolonged downpour the day itself (at least until the evening when it rained again) was unexpectedly clear and sunny, with it feeling pleasantly warm in a southerly breeze. The overnight rain did nothing migrant wise, with next to no grounded arrivals about the Bill area, although 50 Sand Martins and 20 Swifts that gathered over the fields there later in the day did eventually provide some minor interest; elsewhere a Great Spotted Woodpecker was at Wakeham and 4 Redshank were amongst small numbers of waders at Ferrybridge. At sea, a marked passage of 42 Sanderling heading east off the Bill was noteworthy, with 30 Common Scoter, 28 Manx Shearwaters and singles of Balearic Shearwater, Whimbrel, Curlew and Great Skua adding further variety there.

An Ocean Sunfish headed slowly south a few hundred yards off East Cliffs at the Bill at midday.

Three Silver Y and a lone Diamond-back Moth were the only immigrants caught overnight in the Obs garden moth-traps.

4th August

Another quite fair day, although the westerly breeze was stiff enough to curtail mist-netting efforts in the rather exposed crops of the Crown Estate Field. A especially woeful showing of new migrants on the land included just 2 Wheatears, 2 Willow Warblers and a Yellow Wagtail at the Bill and 50 Ringed Plover, 15 Dunlin and a Whimbrel at Ferrybridge. The sea was well watched but came up with little more than 123 Manx Shearwaters, 22 Balearic Shearwaters and 5 Common Scoter passing through off the Bill.

Immigrants/wanderers in the Obs garden moth-traps this morning: 5 Silver Y, 1 Diamond-back Moth, 1 Bird-cherry Ermine and 1 Rusty-dot Pearl.

3rd August

For the most part a fine, sunny day, which saw precious little upturn in migration. The Bill area came up a light southbound movement of Sand Martins, together with 4 Sedge Warblers, 3 Sanderling and 2 Willow Warblers on the ground; elsewhere there were 29 Mediterranean Gulls and 2 Sanderling at Ferrybridge.

2nd August

Heavy showers either side of dawn gave way to a day of unbroken sunshine. Odds and ends grounded/overhead at the Bill included 5 Sedge Warblers, 4 Willow Warblers, a Tree Pipit and a Whinchat, whilst 80 Manx Shearwaters, 11 Common Scoter and a Sooty Shearwater passed through on the sea there.

1st August

Faintly promising-looking conditions - a southerly breeze and overcast skies - saw the new month kick off with a little more variety than has been the case in recent days. Numbers were hardly spectacular, but did include 10 Sedge Warblers, 5 each of Wheatear and Willow Warbler, and a single Grasshopper Warbler at the Bill, where trapping efforts revealed some evidence of an influx of new Greenfinches; elsewhere there were 100 Mediterranean Gulls, 20 Ringed Plover, 7 Dunlin and 2 Redshank at Ferrybridge. The sea was still worth attention, with 6 Balearic Shearwaters, 6 Common Scoter, an Arctic Skua and a Puffin through off the Bill.