24th June

An important diary date for Obs members: this year's AGM will take at PBO at 7pm on Saturday 15th July; refreshments will be available after the meeting has concluded.
An agenda for the meeting can be viewed/printed here.

The first light rain for a while didn't perk up action on the land, with nothing of any note reported from the Bill. It was also disappointingly unproductive on the sea, with an at times pretty stiff breeze blowing in nothing more than 2 Balearic Shearwaters through off the Bill.

Small numbers of immigrant moths were logged, with 5 Small Mottled Willow, 2 Scarce Bordered Straw and a Vestal amongst the overnight catch at the Obs; elsewhere, 2 Small Mottled Willow, a European Corn-borer and a Vestal were trapped at the Grove.

With so little going on at the Bill we were tempted away to Weymouth to have a look at the Alpine Swift that had shown up at Lodmoor © Martin Cade:

On a more interesting matter we were very pleased to hear back from Professor Martin Collinson at the University of Aberdeen with news of our feather samples from the putative Greenish Warbler trapped at the Obs on 1st June; Martin reports that: 'The Greenish Warbler/possible Two-barred (KDV839, 01/06/17 - PV04) is confirmed as viridanus - it's 100% identical to viridanus individuals in the database, and 6% divergent from plumbeitarsus'. This came as something as a relief since we'd stuck our necks out and put the news out as Greenish Warbler and we likely wouldn't have been very popular if it had come back as a Two-barred Greenish! Since we're aware that there's been some serious questioning of the ID we may as well revisit the original photos and post a few extras of it at the same time © Martin Cade:

...and here's a longer version of the song/calls than we'd posted before:

Whilst the greater covert wingbar was certainly stronger than on other Greenish we've handled - and none of those had any trace of a median covert bar - in all other respects it had seemed to us that the bird was just too like a Greenish for it not to have been one - in particular, the song and calls sounded to be pretty typical Greenish, whilst plumage-wise the overall cold tone to the upperparts and the thin bridge of pale feathers over the base of the bill both favoured Greenish. We'd also urge caution when it comes to some of the supposedly pro-Two-barred Greenish features mentioned in the literature: the presence of small white tips to the inner webs of the greater coverts is patently unreliable since most of our Greenish have shown this; although it varied in prominence depending on the light, our bird showed an at times quite conspicuous pale yellow wash to the throat/upper breast; and Greenish can certainly show spotted ear-coverts, as evidenced by last year's individual (PBO, 18th June 2016 © Martin Cade):