16th July

A bumper night when prodigious numbers of moths were on the wing was followed by an unexpectedly excellent day, when a surprise avian rarity cropped up amongst the decent numbers of commoner migrants beginning to get moving. A Bee-eater that showed up at the Bill for a few minutes during the morning stole the show bird-wise, but there was a strong supporting cast amongst the early autumn movers. Sand Martins were heading south at Ferrybridge in some quantity, with signs also of Swallows beginning to depart from the Bill. Waders had been evident overnight, when 4 Common Sandpipers and a Little Ringed Plover provided distractions from the moth-trapping at Ferrybridge, so it wasn't a surprise when 7 Dunlin, 2 Redshanks, 2 Common Sandpipers and a Curlew all made the log during daylight hours at the Bill; 24 Dunlin, 2 Common Sandpipers, a Sanderling and a Greenshank also dropped in at times at Ferrybridge, where the addition of 92 Mediterranean Gulls and a Little Gull made for a minor waterbird bonanza by recent standards. The sea came up with the rest of the numbers, with 172 Common Scoter, 25 Manx Shearwaters, 17 Black-headed Gulls, 2 Mediterranean Gulls and a Balearic Shearwater through off the Bill.

Overnight moth-trapping was very busy, with much improved numbers and variety at all sites; Garden Grass-veneers Chrysoteuchia culmella were especially prolific, with 800 estimated in just 1 trap/sheet at Ferrybridge. Single Small Marbled at the Obs, Sweethill and the Grove constituted the best of the rarity interest, totals of Small Mottled Willow included 11 at the Obs, whilst infrequent strays included singles of Silky Wainscot at Ferrybridge (a location from where we have no previous records, although it could plausibly be established there), Lesser Wax Moth, Royal Mantle and Horse Chestnut at the Obs and Miller at the Grove.


Small Marbled, Bee-eater and Little Gull - Portland Bill, and Ferrybridge, 16th July 2015 © Martin Cade (Small Marbled and Bee-eater) and Pete Saunders (Little Gull)
...and a sound-recording of sorts of the Bee-eater: