21st September

Although the ringers were reeling in the likes of Meadow Pipits in decent numbers and there were some good pulses of passing hirundines, today was something of a non-event for grounded migrants with fairly limited numbers and variety everywhere. Wrynecks were still on view at the Obs Quarry and Barleycrates Lane, and the Rosy Starling surfaced again on the Haylands housing estate, but their presence perhaps deflected attention form the general dearth of commoner fare, with little else of particular note at the Bill; Chiffchaff and Blackcap were the most conspicuous of the grounded commoner migrants there but even their totals didn't get beyond 40 and 30 apiece.

The immigrant moth situation hasn't been changing much this week, with last night's totals from the Obs traps consisting of 41 Rush Veneer, 25 Rusty-dot Pearl, 10 Silver Y, 5 Diamond-back Moth, 2 Dark Sword Grass and singles of Vestal, Convolvulus Hawk-moth, Pearly Underwing and Scarce Bordered Straw.

The Obs Quarry Wryneck was again showing nicely at times © Roger Hewitt

We had an interesting conundrum from the Obs moth-traps yesterday in the form of this putative Sombre Brocade - a relative newcomer to Britain that's already established at Durlston and maybe one of two other spots along the Dorset coast and had been expected to get to Portland before long © Martin Cade

...in the trap it looked very drab and we suspected it might well be a Sombre Brocade; however, when inspected in better light it often took on a brighter, greener guise and at times looked a lot more like a Brindled Green (a much more widespread moth in Britain but one that's only a rare visitor to Portland so we don't know it very well). Although one or two other folk that saw it remained quite pro it being a Sombre Brocade we'd got doubtful and put it aside for further inspection when we had more time. By fortunate coincidence Martin Evans - who sees Brindled Greens much more frequently than we do - called in at the Obs later in the day and immediately recognised it as a Sombre Brocade (a species he'd targeted at Durlston on several occasions but not actually managed to catch!). In drawing attention to the inadequacies of some of the standard field guide illustrations of these two species Martin very kindly put together this little composite (using photos of set specimens taken from lepiforum.de and his own photo of our specimen) that establishes beyond doubt that it's a Sombre Brocade: