22nd July

Today's seawatching would have been deemed quite productive anytime but the day after yesterday's excesses: the Bill was watched from dawn until late afternoon and came up with 121 Common Scoter, 50 Manx Shearwaters, 10 Balearic Shearwaters, 5 Sanderling, 3 Arctic Skuas, 2 each of Red-breasted Merganser, Great Skua, Yellow-legged Gull and Sandwich Tern, and singles of Sooty Shearwater, Ringed Plover, Whimbrel and Pomarine Skua; late on during this period a visitor watching from another viewpoint also reported singles of Cory's Shearwater and Great Shearwater. The only other news was from Ferrybridge where there were 9 Dunlin, 3 Sanderling and 3 Whimbrel, along with a Common Buzzard heading south towards the island.

The moth-traps were largely devoid of immigrants but a ?dispersing Dotted Clay at the Obs was a first record for the island.

On the photo front it's back to yesterday for some more seabirds; this presumably juvenile Balearic Shearwater passed the Bill at point blank range © Pete Saunders (upperparts) and Keith Pritchard (underparts):

The large shearwaters were all much further out but pretty educational nonetheless. Large shearwaters are really, really rare off the Bill (up until yesterday, the writer of these notes had seen fewer than 10 Cory's and just a single Great in countless thousands of hours of seawatching there over more than 40 years) and with the benefit of hindsight it's clear that lack of experience with them led to the first two Greats being overlooked in the less than ideal conditions (the initial series of sightings were into strong light so the birds were often little more than silhouettes): the first was only identified from video footage reviewed after the seawatch and the second was only identified from photographs after it had passed by; by the time that the third bird passed the light had improved and an ID was possible during the initial 'scope views. We'll keep looking back at the video footage until the differences in shape and flight action are drummed into us but in the meanwhile these two photos - Cory's at the top and Great at the bottom - capture the feel of these distant sightings quite well © Martin Cade:

Moth-wise, we keep being amazed how, despite daily trapping over many years, new species for the island keep cropping up. Today's offering was a Dotted Clay at the Obs: it seems that this species is usually accorded the status of widespread, common resident in Britain, even if that doesn't quite hold true in Dorset where it's largely confined to the east of the county; we're guessed that if it's taken this long for one to get here then the species isn't much of a mover - a moth equivalent of the Marsh Tit? © Martin Cade:

What with all the sea action we didn't get round to photographing yesterday's two best moths until today - the Splendid Brocade and the Mere Wainscot © Martin Cade