2nd September

The much anticipated easterlies duly set in overnight and although there was a distinct paucity of oddities - bar the 5 Avocets that dropped in at Ferrybridge during the morning and the Osprey that appeared twice (or maybe there were two individuals?) over the Bill during the afternoon - there was a conspicuous improvement in both numbers and variety on the ground. The Bill area got most of the passerine coverage, with double figure totals that included 80 Wheatears, 75 Yellow Wagtails, 60 Willow Warblers, 20 Robins, 20 Whitethroats, 16 Tree Pipits, 15 Blackcaps, 12 Redstarts and 10 Chiffchaffs; 3 White Wagtails, 3 Pied Flycatchers, 2 Snipe and a Purple Sandpiper were of particular note amongst the lower totals. Additional to the Avocets, Ferrybridge came up with 2 Knot and singles of Little Stint, Common Sandpiper and White Wagtail. Overhead passage wasn't heavy but an 80 minute sample count at Ferrybridge that produced, amongst others, 320 Swallows, 30 Meadow Pipits and 15 Sand Martins, clearly indicated that mid-autumn visible passage is beginning to move through the gears. For the most part sea passage was a non-event, although 45 Common Scoter and 6 Balearic Shearwaters did make the tally at the Bill.

In tandem with the increase in bird numbers there was a considerable improvement in the immigrant moth situation, with totals from the Obs garden traps that included 49 Rusty-dot Pearl, 14 Diamond-back Moth, 8 Silver Y, 6 Rush Veneer, 4 Pearly Underwing and singles of Narrow-winged Pug and Hummingbird Hawk-moth.

Purple Sandpiper and Wheatear - Portland Bill, 2nd September 2014 © Will Bown

And thanks to Paul Watts for alerting us to what at first seemed like a most astounding ringing recovery of a Canadian-marked Ringed Plover at Ferrybridge; Paul photographed this colour-ringed individual there on 22nd August:

...further research revealed it had been ringed in late June this year at Bylot Island, off Baffin Island in Canada. In our ignorance we'd hadn't appreciated that Ringed Plovers breed to the west of Greenland, when in fact their range extends all along the eastern edge of Baffin Island in high arctic Canada; according to The Migration Atlas there's at least one previous British recovery of a bird from this area, whilst another individual from this year's Bylot Island project was sighted later in August on St Kilda, Outer Hebrides.