1st October

Altogether quieter on the migrant front with relatively low numbers on the ground and overhead today. A Yellow-browed Warbler at Avalanche Road was the pick of the day's oddities, even if was perhaps just as likely a lingerer rather than a new arrival; a Lesser Whitethroat nearby looked to all intents and purposes identical to the long-stayer being mooted as a likely Siberian Lesser Whitethroat that was still about at the Obs Quarry, a Woodlark passed over at the Bill, whilst the now reliable duo of Hooded Crow at the Grove and Black Guillemot at Portland Harbour were also both still in situ. Despite there being a fair amount of cloud in the sky at dawn it was quickly evident that migrant numbers were none too impressive, with no more than a thin spread of expected species everywhere; the first Water Rail of the season at the Bill was one of the few new arrivals of any particular interest.

Totals of 13 Rusty-dot Pearl and 10 Diamond-back Moth were the only immigrants caught overnight in the Obs garden moth-traps. By day, small numbers of Clouded Yellows continue to feature, whilst there looks to have been a small arrival/hatch of Painted Ladys; a single Hummingbird Hawk-moth at the Obs was the first there for a few days.

Wheatear - Portland Bill, 2nd October 2014 © Ken Dolbear
...and thanks to Sean Foote for bringing us out yesterday's Golden Twin-spot (photo © Martin Cade):

Also of interest, thanks to Nick Hopper for taking the trouble to have another go at nocturnal sound recording at the Obs (last Sunday night, 28th September) - the recording process is straightforward enough but the analysis of the hours-long sound file is an altogether different matter! Nick reports that he 'sound-captured' at least 98 Song Thrush during the night; this involved groups of calls cautiously logged as one bird, although for many birds it was just a single call. Also using the same methods, 18 Robin and 20+ unidentified peeps and squeaks, whilst other passerines noted moving in the dark were Meadow Pipit and Skylark.

Among the calls recorded during Nick's nocturnal sessions at the Obs so far this autumn, this Bar-tailed Godwit was of particular note:

A rather fascinating aspect of this project is how often seemingly unfamiliar calls crop up. A case in point is this whinnying call that we've heard from time to time this autumn and which has also been captured on some of Nick's recordings:

...we presume this is a call of ?young Little Owls, as much because sometimes - as on this recording - more familiar Little Owl calls are heard at the same time.