3rd August

What do we have to do to get some grounded migrants? Today's overcast dawn looked more than suitable for at least a small flurry, but the sum total of just 2 Willow Warblers discovered on the morning rounds of the Bill area provided ample indication that the birds thought otherwise. The sea was more productive there, with 30 Common Scoter, 14 Manx Shearwaters, 7 Balearic Shearwaters, 7 Shelducks, 5 Black-headed Gulls, 3 Arctic Skuas and singles of Whimbrel and Great Skua through during the morning. The day's other reports were of a Common Scoter in Portland Harbour and 7 Sanderling amongst the waders at Ferrybridge.

Overnight conditions looked to be as good as they've been for over a week for immigrant moths and there were at least some signs of activity picking up: only Silver Y (15) got into double figures at the Obs, but improved variety there included 3 Small Mottled Willows and singles of Olive-tree Pearl, Hummingbird Hawk-moth and Scarce Bordered Straw; elsewhere, another Four-spotted Footman was the best of the catch at West Grove Terrace.

Dark Green Fritillary - Weston, 24th July 2015 © Jo Caughlin

...our week away has inevitably led to a considerable backlog of jobs to catch up with now that we're back - not the least of which has been sorting through the whole host of photographs we'd been sent for the blog. Amongst these, one of the most interesting has to be this Dark Green Fritillary spotted and photographed at Weston by Jo Caughlin's parents. The sad demise of this species at Portland has been well documented, and this is the only sighting we've heard of this year; in fact on checking with local butterfly recorder, Nick Urch, it seems there have only been three reports in the last four years. We're not at all sure what the decline has been attributed to, but the days when Dark Green Frits could be found plentifully in places seem but a very distant memory.