17th July

The forecast break-down in the weather didn't make itself felt until the evening when the heat and sunshine of the afternoon gave way to gathering cloud and eventually light rain as darkness fell. With the likes of returning Sedge Warblers and Willow Warblers doubtless only days away there was some expectation in the air, although in the event the day's happenings were much as in the last week or so. Common Scoter dominated on the sea, with 172 through off the Bill, where 7 Manx Shearwaters, 6 Balearic Shearwaters, 6 Sandwich Terns, 3 Black-headed Gulls and a Whimbrel also passed by. Passage overhead included a trickle of Sand Martins through at both Ferrybridge and the Bill. The only other report was of the Hooded Crow still at Admiralty Quarry.

As a postscript to our musings on the age of yesterday's Common Tern we received a message on the subject today from Tony Tree in Port Alfred, South Africa: 'I have many years of tern ringing and research in S Africa under my belt and can confidently say that your pics of a Common Tern are of a 2nd summer (3cy) bird showing the three series moult that may be found in that age group. Further, it is also showing sufficient red on its culmen to be older than 1st summer'.

The last couple of nights has seen a slight improvement in the variety of immigrants and wanderers in the moth-traps, even if numbers remain very low. Last night's tally at the Obs included 2 each of Diamond-back Moth and Buff Footman, and singles of Mottled Marble, Rush Veneer, Four-spotted Footman, Dark Sword Grass, True Lover's Knot and Double-lobed; elsewhere, another Southern Wainscot was caught at the Grove.

forester sp - Tout Quarry,  17th July 2014 © Andy Collins
...many thanks to Andy for allowing us to use his snatched record-shot of a forester that he came across this afternoon at Tout; we don't have enough experience of them to hazard a guess as to which of this tricky trio it is from this single image, but the chances are it's likely to be 'The' Forester which was discovered for the first time on Portland in July 2012 not too far away from Tout in King Barrow Quarry.