28th September

A huge improvement in the weather saw mainly sunny skies filled with Meadow Pipits and Swallows on the move but it remained disappointingly quiet on the ground. Both Meadow Pipit and Swallow topped four figure totals per hour at the Bill for a while during the morning, with the likes of Pied Wagtails, Linnets and Goldfinches also beginning to register decent totals overhead where singles of Merlin and Golden Plover added further variety. By contrast, the situation on the ground  hardly changed: the Obs Quarry Wryneck and Haylands Rosy Starling attracted plenty of attention but new arrivals were startlingly few and far between and included nothing in any way untoward.

In promisingly warm albeit still breezy conditions overnight mothing was quite rewarding, particularly at the Obs, where 2 Radford's Flame Shoulders were a very unexpected highlight; 56 Rush Veneers, 6 Rusty-dot Pearl, 5 Convolvulus Hawk-moths, 2 Silver Y and singles of Hummingbird Hawk-moth, Pearly Underwing and Delicate made up the rest of the immigrant tally there.

We can't imagine there's a more popular or more showy Wryneck about in Britain at the moment than the Obs Quarry bird; in contrast, the Rosy Starling can be more tricky to catch up with - although that's as much because it seems to spend three quarters of its day lurking under a solar panel:

On the mothing front there was a real surprise in the form of the overnight capture of two Radford's Flame Shoulders at the Obs. These were a very welcome sight after our crass mistake in attempting to string one out of a late Flame Shoulder last autumn - we should of course have done much better in that case since, although there are still only 35 or so British records of Radford's, we'd been fortunate enough to catch three in the past! The oddest thing about last night's occurrence is how early they are: the previous Portland records - also all at the Obs - were on 12th November (twice) and 1st December.