13th August

Although there were hints that the weather's beginning to settle down again it was still much too breezy and clear overnight to have expected much of an arrival of grounded migrants - and that's certainly how events panned out. At the Bill 2 Ringed Plover and singles of Yellow-legged Gull, Yellow Wagtail, Grasshopper Warbler and Reed Warbler provided minor interest amongst the just into double figure numbers of Wheatear and Willow Warbler; a Tree Pipit was also new at Bumpers Lane, whilst increases at Ferrybridge saw totals of 160 Ringed Plover, 153 Dunlin and 11 Sanderling make the log. The sea still got a lot of attention although rewards were scant: 2 Arctic Skuas lingered off Chesil Cove, whilst 13 Manx Shearwaters and 5 Balearic Shearwaters passed through off the Bill.

Two Vagrant Piercer at the Obs were the first decent immigrant moths to make it into the traps for several nights. By day, Hummingbird Hawk-moths and, to a lesser extent, Clouded Yellow butterflies are being recorded in small numbers throughout the island at the moment.

Yellow-legged Gull, Common Terns and Wheatear - Portland Bill and Ferrybridge, 13th August 2013 © Joe Stockwell (Yellow-legged Gull), Debby Saunders (Common Terns) and Pete Saunders (Wheatear)
And, since some of our visitors might be suffering moth withdrawal symptoms, another of the local specials from recent nights, the Wormwood:
...after a lean couple of decades when we encountered this species very infrequently, it seems to be on the up once again with relatively frequent records, particularly from the garden traps at the Obs and the Grove; as far as we know, with the exception of one or two inland strays, Portland remains its only Dorset outpost.
Finally, this Vapourer larva found at the Obs today represents the first confirmed breeding record for the Bill area of this infrequently recorded species that hitherto we'd only got breeding records of for the odd spot around the centre and north of the island (moth photos © Martin Cade):