29th August

Something of rarity in the form of a lovely warm, sunny bank holiday today, even if was maybe a little too fair to hold for long many of the migrants that had dropped in at dawn. Another Ortolan Bunting that showed up briefly at the Obs/Crown Estate Field was the only real oddity of the day, but improved migrant numbers at the Bill included 75 Wheatears, 50 Willow Warblers, 30 Sedge Warblers and 20 Yellow Wagtails, along with singles of White Wagtail, Grasshopper Warbler and Pied Flycatcher amongst the lesser totals. Reports from elsewhere included 4 Black-tailed Godwits, 2 Sanderling and a Knot at Ferrybridge.

The quieter conditions saw immigrant moth numbers improve a little, with 38 Rusty-dot Pearl, 35 Rush Veneer, 7 Silver Y, 3 Diamond-back Moth, 3 Dark Sword Grass and a Convolvulus Hawk-moth caught overnight at the Obs.

Black-tailed Godwits and Holly Blue - Ferrybridge and Southwell, 29th August 2016 © Pete Saunders and Tony Hovell

We were very pleased to receive today Nick Hopper's report on his nocturnal recording session last Thursday night (25th/26th August). The headline news was undoubtedly the logging of 4 Ortolan Buntings, but it was a pretty remarkable night all round, including exceptional passages of both Tree Pipit and Robin. It was such a promising-looking night with heavy cloud cover descending and occasional pulses of drizzly rain that Nick spent quite some time in the field logging the passage by ear - including hearing 2 of the Ortolans that were also picked up by the recorder; both these birds were heading north and there was no reason to suppose that all four Ortolan loggings - at 22.55, 23.27, 00.35 and 02.06 - didn't refer to different individuals. The night's total of 1372 Tree Pipit calls or multiples of calls logged (some were double and triple calls given in very quick succession and counted as one) certainly reflected the very strong movement that was obvious to the ear. The total of 236 Robin calls was quite unexpected given the dearth of birds being recorded by day (but does reflect an August passage - of departing British birds? - that used to be picked up by ringing activities at the Bill but seemed to have dwindled in recent years). Other interest during the night included 47 flycatcher calls (both Pied and Spotted represented), 84 unidentified passerine calls, 17 Yellow Wagtail calls/small groups of calls, an early Golden Plover, several groups of Whimbrel and Dunlin, 3 Ringed Plover and singles of Common Sandpiper, Turnstone and Common Snipe.