16th September

The profound change in the weather that had been forecast duly arrived overnight, with the quiet, muggy conditions of recent days replaced by a much cooler blast of north-westeries; such changes are rarely a bad thing and the shake-up certainly prompted a flurry of migrant activity even if the strength of the wind made for difficult birding. Wheatears featured strongly everywhere, with well in excess of 150 at the Bill and a minimum of 100 at Barleycrates Lane, whilst Chiffchaffs put in their best showing so far this autumn, including 100 or so logged at the Bill where they outnumbered Willow Warblers by more than 5:1; although there were few other particularly significant totals on the ground most of the expected migrants were represented, including, for example, 15 Whinchats, 10 Spotted Flycatchers and 8 White Wagtails at the Bill and a Turtle Dove at Barleycrates Lane. Rarities weren't a feature but yet another Ortolan Bunting dropped in briefly at the Obs (...has there ever been a year when so many have been recorded and yet, at least thus far, not a single one could be described as pinned down and showing?) and the Hen Harrier and Wryneck lingered on at the Bill and Barleycrates Lane respectively. Visible passage was conspicuous but, mediocre totals of Yellow Wagtails and Grey Wagtails aside, was completely unquantified. Although conditions were not at all suitable for concerted seawatching there were random sightings of singles of Balearic Shearwater and Arctic Skua through off the Bill.

The initial hours of darkness had looked to be very promising for moth-trapping and there was a decent arrival of common immigrants, amongst which Silver Ys were especially numerous including site totals of 263 at the Obs, 135 at the Grove and 55 at Sweethill; back-up totals included 62 Rush Veneer, 44 Rusty-dot Pearl, 11 Diamond-back Moth, 5 Dark Sword Grass, 5 Pearly Underwing, 2 Vestal and a Gem at the Obs.

The St Andrew's Church Wall Lizards continue to show nicely © Simon Craft