2nd August

A drop of rain had been long overdue and its arrival - in the form of a brief deluge rather than a shower - really did the trick in jazzing up the quality of the birding. The accompanying stiff breeze had promised to liven things up on the sea but the 2 Cory's Shearwaters that headed west past the Bill were a really unexpected and very welcome highlight; oddly, the back-up cast was none too impressive, with precious little mustered beyond 14 Common Scoter, 6 Manx Shearwaters, 3 Balearic Shearwaters and a Great Skua. The gradual shift in wind direction in recent days toward a south-westerly had put Melodious Warbler firmly on the radar, and this autumn's first duly appeared in the Obs garden - where it was later trapped and ringed - once the rain had cleared through; passerines didn't otherwise feature particularly conspicuously, although there was another light spread of Wheatears, Sedge Warblers and Willow Warblers at the Bill. Portland Harbour's unseasonable Red-necked Grebe lingered on, whilst also making the list were a Yellow-legged Gull at the Bill and 8 Sanderling amongst the miscellany of waders at Ferrybridge.

Finally, many thanks to Joe for keeping things ticking over so smoothly at the Obs during our holiday absence, and to Sean Foote - assisted by Joe and John Lucas - for looking after the Obs moth-traps through the week.

Melodious Warbler - Portland Bill, 2nd August 2014 © Joe Stockwell