28th August

There certainly hasn't been an August Bank Holiday weekend in recent memory blessed with such settled, hot conditions as we've experienced this year - in fact today, with its stifling heat, millpond calm sea and increasing amounts of haziness had something of the feel of being marooned in the doldrums about it. We get the impression that these conditions have led to migration stagnating, with many birds taking a break until there's at least a favourable breeze to aid their departure. Yellow Wagtails have been the weekend's star feature, with increasing numbers gathering around the island: without a complete census a total can only be guesstimated but based on the sample counts at several favoured sites we doubt that today's tally was less than 1000, with more than 100 remaining to roost in the Crown Estate Field maize. There were no other particularly notable totals amongst the thinnish scatter of other common migrants, but interest came in the form of singles of Osprey, Marsh Harrier, Merlin and Short-eared Owl at the Bill, a Green Sandpiper over Blacknor and 2 Hobbys and a Yellow-legged Gull at Ferrybridge. The only report from the sea was of 13 Balearic Shearwaters through off the Bill.

Raptors featured quite well at the Bill today, including this Marsh Harrier © Martin Cade:...

...this pale Common Buzzard; there doesn't seem to be any pale component in our local population of Common Buzzards so this youngster is certainly of off-island origin © Martin Cade:...

...and the Osprey that motored through in the distance during the afternoon © James Phillips:

Most fair-sized Yellow Wagtail flocks seem to throw up a few oddballs, and today came up with this rather strikingly-marked bird below Culverwell © Nevil Fowler:

...and this quite pale bird trapped at the Obs © Martin Cade:

Following their seemingly relentless decline we're not sure we ever imagined seeing again the sort of numbers of Yellow Wagtails that have been logged in recent days. Autumn Pied Flycatcher numbers have always fluctuated rather wildly but we're getting a nasty sense that they're another thing we might never see in quantity again - in the good old days there really did used to be falls of dozens of them at this time of year, but now we seem to struggle to get more than odd singles like today's bird at Southwell © Pete Saunders: