7th September

Whilst Portland might have an enviable reputation as one of the best spring fall sites in Britain the autumn is a very different kettle of fish and it maybe isn't widely appreciated just how much routine passage takes place in an eastward or westward direction along the mainland coast without ever impinging on the island - today was just such a case in point, with bags of birds within sight of the island on the Purbeck coast but precious little in any quantity getting out to Portland. Fortunately this hardship is considerably easier to bear when the compensation comes in the form of a quality rare as it did today when a Black Stork appeared overhead: first spotted over Ferrybridge during the afternoon, the bird got as far south as the middle of the island before quickly returning from whence it had come. It says something for the quality of the rest of the day's events that the only other oddities putting in an appearance were 2 Mute Swans flying past the Bill; common migrant numbers were dreadful everywhere, with little more at the Bill than a light passage of Swallows heading through into the freshening easterly and dribs and drabs of routine fare on the ground. Whilst commoner waders were still plentiful at Ferrybridge the Bar-tailed Godwit total there dwindled to just 7.

Moth trapping remained largely uneventful: a Vestal at Reap Lane and 2 Convolvulus Hawk-moths at the Obs were the only oddities amongst a handful of commoner immigrants.

First spotted grippingly low over Ferrybridge the Black Stork was next clocked over the Grove from where it headed south as far as Suckthumb before it turned tail and motored back to the mainland over Tout Quarry and Fortuneswell; this very long range record shot of it over Suckthumb was taken from our initial vantage point on Bill Hill - we don't hang around during pursuits of birds like this but it headed back northwards so rapidly that by the time we got to the Heights we received a call to say that it had already flown over Fortuneswell and been lost to view miles out over the harbour © Martin Cade

Trying to sound-lure and catch Swallows out in the open on a breezy, bright afternoon is rarely anything other than a mug's game and this bird looks to be treating today's attempt with utter contempt: 'do you really think I'm that stupid?' © Martin King