5th August

What promise there looked to be after sufficient cloud had rolled in late in the night that there was a light post-dawn shower very quickly evaporated as it became apparent that grounded arrivals at the Bill consisted of little more than a handful of Wheatears, Sedge Warblers and Willow Warblers; overhead passage there was hardly more rewarding, although what might prove to be one of the year's last double figure totals of Swifts, along with a single Grey Heron, were of note. What promise there was on the sea came more from our knowledge of events on the other side of Lyme Bay than from what we ourselves were recording, even if the light but nonetheless constant down-Channel passage off the Bill - totalling 51 Manx Shearwaters, 47 Common Scoter, 3 Great Skuas and 2 Balearic Shearwaters - did hint at there being something afoot. Ferrybridge remained busy, with wader totals that included 5 each of Sanderling and Redshank, and a lone Whimbrel, whilst 50 Common Terns provided some variety. Finally, the Hooded Crow remained at Admiralty Quarry.

Small Clothes Ischnoscia borreonella - Sheat Quarry, 4th August 2014 © Joe Stockwell
...borreonella remains perhaps the chief prize amongst the indigenous lepidoptera of Portland: as far as we know there's only one 'off-Portland' record for the UK - a single at Torquay in 1926 - and we doubt whether more than ten living entomologists have even seen the species alive at Portland. First discovered here by the great Nelson Richardson in the late 1800s, the early stages remain unknown (at least in the UK) so this tiny, obscure species has to be sought as an adult in its haunts on the east side of the island. Sheat Quarry is currently the best-known locality, where with perseverance it can be discovered by torchlight at dusk as it flits about the deep crevices between loosely stacked blocks of Portland Stone; in this flash-lit view of the scene last evening the specimen above was netted towards the bottom right, a good couple of feet inside the void between two of the massive boulders: