25th August

Although it remained very muggy and warm the cloud that arrived with overnight rainfall lingered for the best part of the day and dropped another decent selection of migrants. Day totals at the Bill included 150 Yellow Wagtails, 85 Tree Pipits, 75 Wheatears, 40 Willow Warblers, 15 Redstarts, 10 Sedge Warblers, 5 each of Whinchat, Reed Warbler and Spotted Flycatcher, and singles of Great Spotted Woodpecker and Chaffinch, with 2 Balearic Shearwaters, 2 Yellow-legged Gulls and an Arctic Skua through on the sea to add a bit more variety. Coverage elsewhere came up with plenty more of the same, together with 2 Redshank and 2 Knot amongst the waders at Ferrybridge.

Overnight mothing was very busy, with 225 Rusty-dot Pearl, 17 Rush Veneer, 14 Diamond-back Moth, 9 Silver Y, 6 Vagrant Piercer, 3 Dark Sword Grass, a Vestal and a Scarce Bordered Straw among the immigrants at the Obs; elsewhere, singles of Pine Hawk-moth and Convolvulus Hawk-moth were of interest at Avalanche Road.

Common Buzzards, Redstart, Sparrowhawk, Whitethroat and Common Blues - Southwell and Portland Bill, 25th August 2016 © Pete Saunders (Buzzards), Debby Saunders (Redstart), Dave Butcher (Sparrowhawk and Whitethroat) and Ken Dolbear (Common Blues)

We do still get stupidly excited by nocturnal migration and last night saw a host of birds dropped to audible height by first cloud cover and then rain that set in after midnight. Since we're still at the level of wanting to actually hear things for ourselves rather than go down the avenue of setting up an automated listening/recording station to log events more systematically, the prompt for paying more attention is usually hearing something interesting out of the office window when we're working late. Last night it was a succession of Greenshank that kicked things off:

...Common Sandpipers featured amongst a good variety of other waders:

...but the night's real interest came once it started raining and passerines appeared in quantity; Tree Pipits were particularly conspicuous but the night's chief prize was an Ortolan Bunting that sneaked by after midnight:

We remember thinking at the time, 'Blimey, if that had been in daylight you'd have thought it sounded a lot like an Ortolan', but without a bird to actually see we weren't confident that there mightn't be other possibilities. Thanks to Nick Hopper for running through the sequence in detail and confirming that each of the calls are indeed spot on for an Ortolan.