21st July

A return to normality after the manic moth weekend with the main feature of the day - quite apart from it being so enjoyable to be out in such pleasantly warm, sunny conditions - being a nice selection of autumn migrants for what's still really quite early in the season. Swifts and hirundines accounted for the numbers with, for example, 150 Swallows, 66 Sand Martins and 46 Swifts through at the Bill during the course of the morning; the first 4 Willow Warblers of the autumn also showed up there, whilst other interest came in the form of 5 Black-headed Gulls, 4 Redshanks, 3 Wheatears and singles of Dunlin, Greenshank, Turnstone and Yellow Wagtail on/overhead on the land and 131 Manx Shearwaters, 26 Common Scoter, 2 Sandwich Terns and singles of Balearic Shearwater, Yellow-legged Gull and Great Skua through on the sea. Ferrybridge came up with 98 Mediterranean Gulls, 71 Dunlin, 5 Sanderling and a Common Sandpiper.

Despite the wealth of interesting moths that have shown up just recently, 'conventional' lepidoptera immigration hasn't featured to any great extent in recent weeks, and today continued that trend: Red Admirals were about but certainly not in large numbers, whilst Painted Ladys were limited to a couple of singles and there was just a solitary Hummingbird Hawk-moth in the Obs garden.

The night's mothing produced few surprises beyond an Antler Moth at Weston; the tally of immigrants/strays at the Obs included 38 Diamond-back Moth, 12 Marbled Piercer, 2 Rusty-dot Pearl and singles of Leek Moth, Pebble Hook-tip, True Lover's Knot and Red Admiral butterfly.

Wainscot Neb Monochroa palustrella, Marjoram Crest Acompsia schmidtiellus and Clay Crest Helcystogramma lutatella - Portland Bill, The Grove and Freshwater Bay, 19th and 21st July 2014 © Martin Cade
...having a rich and varied selection of presently knackered photographic equipment has somewhat restricted the possibilities when it comes to furnishing the site with bird photos, so we'll stick to the moths for another day. Although we struggle with a fair few of the gelechids, they are nonetheless a family that seem worth spending some time on, with several pretty interesting species recorded from Portland. Wainscot Neb is a local species restricted mainly to south-east England; there looks to be few Dorset records other than the ?three presumed vagrants that have been recorded over the years from the Obs traps. Marjoram Crest is only a little more widespread, both in Britain and Dorset; within the island we've only ever recorded it from the north-east quarter: it's a tolerably regular visitor to our garden trap at the Grove, to where it presumably wanders from the likes of Nicodemus Knob and Broadcroft Quarry BC reserve which are the only other sites where we've light-trapped it. Clay Crest is rarer still, being only recorded in Britain from Portland - and then only right on the extreme coastal fringe between Freshwater Bay and Church Ope Cove - and a few spots on Purbeck.