7th July

An unexpectedly eventful day after the recent barren spell, with the chief prize a brief Common Rosefinch in song at the Obs and adjacent hut fields. The only other observations from the land came from Ferrybridge where a Greenshank was new but the wader tally otherwise consisted of just 2 Dunlin and a Curlew. In a constantly freshening south-westerly the other reports were all from the sea, with a Great Skua through off Chesil Cove and 8 Common Scoter, 2 Great Crested Grebes, singles of Balearic Shearwater, Great Skua and Arctic Skua, and a light movement of Manx Shearwaters off the Bill.

With at least the late hours of the night overcast and at times damp there was some hope for the moth-traps but in the event immigrants were poorly represented everywhere and there were no particular highlights.

Lulworth Skipper and Large Skipper females - Portland, July 2015 © Ken Dolbear

In the light of his encountering observers who were struggling with the correct ID of females of these two species, Ken sent us through these two photos to highlight the similarities/differences.
Today's Common Rosefinch followed in much the same vein as the Melodious Warbler and Red-breasted Flycatcher back in June, in that the only evidence we can provide for its occurrence is a sound recording - it isn't that we aren't making an effort to get a record photograph, just that all three birds were frustratingly furtive and difficult to get a view of. The Rosefinch probably didn't utter more than a dozen song phrases altogether, and only three of these were captured for posterity by the time we'd fumbled about and found the phone:

 And finally, a couple of yesterday's moths. This Small Marbled was the pick of the night's 'conventional' immigrants:

...but from our point of view, being lucky enough to be able to trap somewhere where rarities the like of Small Marbled are tolerably frequent, there was more mileage to be had out of the second Twin-spot Honey Aphomia zelleri in three nights. This anonymous yet oddly characteristic species is new to us and, on first offering at the Obs, was perilously close to being chucked out after we completely failed to realise what it was. Having finally tumbled as to the ID as it was being set out we were very pleased to catch the second specimen at the Grove:

...here it is with a Bee Moth Aphomia sociella for comparison:

This individual was even more weakly marked than the first, with virtually no hint of the twin spots; without previous experience, we'd imagine this specimen would have been a pretty tricky call as an Aphomia, let alone as zelleri, since the standard texts don't really depict anything as plain as this.