8th September

In more gloriously warm and sunny conditions migrant interest was subtly different to yesterday with a lower key showing on the ground being more than compensated for by increased numbers overhead. Scarcities featured again, with the Wryneck still at Barleycrates Lane, an rather elusive new Icterine Warbler in the Obs garden, Ospreys over Ferrybridge and the Bill, one or two Nightingales in the Obs garden/Obs Quarry area and 3 Short-eared Owls at the Bill. Pretty well all the expected early September common migrants made the log, but with clear skies and in - at least early in the morning - a brisker breeze than of late it was visible passage that accounted for all the decent counts, that included the likes of 1000 Swallows (including in their midst a leucistic individual and plenty of Sand Martins), 400 Meadow Pipits, 100 Yellow Wagtails and 20 Tree Pipits over the Bill and 40 Oystercatchers over Ferrybridge; on the ground there were just low tens of Wheatears, Whitethroats, Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers, and no more than single figure totals of most other routine fare. Single Manx and Balearic Shearwaters passed through off the Bill.

On a night of clear skies and a huge moon little had been expected of the moth-traps, so in the immigrant line singles of Convolvulus Hawk-moth at the Obs and Vagrant Twitcher (...don't you just love that vernacular name!) Tebenna micalis at Sweethill were welcome surprises.

Wryneck, Icterine Warbler, Osprey, Oystercatchers, Speckled Wood and Vagrant Twitcher - Barleycrates Lane, Portland Bill, Ferrybridge and Southwell, 8th September 2104 © Sean Foote (Wryneck), Joe Stockwell (Icterine Warbler), Pete Saunders (Osprey and Oystercatchers), Ken Dolbear (Speckled Wood) and Debby Saunders (Vagrant Twitcher)

Today's Nightingale was a bird worth spending a bit of time on since its upperpart colouration was sufficiently subdued as to really invite confusion with Thrush Nightingale:

...for comparison, here's our Thrush Nightingale from last October:
Fortunately, in the hand nightingales are easy enough to do just at a glance, with the length of the vestigial 1st primary, the position of the 2nd primary and the presence or absence of an emargination on the 4th primary allowing for an instant diagnosis. Today's bird had a long 1st primary (a good bit longer than the primary coverts, as can clearly be seen as well on the folded wing above), the 2nd primary fell well short of the wing tip and there was an emargination on the 4th primary - all spot on for Nightingale:
...again, for comparison here's last year's Thrush Nightingale which shows a tiny 1st primary (falling well short of the tips of the primary coverts), the 2nd primary fell closer to the wing tip and there was no emargination on the 4th primary:

Whilst on the subject of nightingales, check out this freak of nature:

...this is an africana/hafizi (presumably on plumage closest to the central Asian breeder, hafizi) Nightingale that we were lucky enough to have a good look at in Kenya a couple of years ago - there'll be no mistaking one of these when it pops up in one of our nets later in the autumn.