18th September

With quieter conditions at least temporarily established it perhaps wasn't a surprise that the two long-stayers - the Wryneck and the Hoopoe - looked to have taken the opportunity to move on. With a decent enough spread of new arrivals to get amongst it was however a tad disappointing that nothing of quality looked to have dropped in to take their place as the latest crowd-puller, with a Merlin at the Bill, a Firecrest at Southwell. a Wryneck at Avalanche Road and one of the Little Stints at Ferrybridge about as good as it got. Changes were certainly afoot on the migrant front, with the season's first small influx of Stonechats on the ground and the first Siskin overhead but the plethora of Meadow Pipits and scatter of Chiffchaffs and Goldcrests otherwise didn't look to be hiding much that wouldn't have been expected. In the offshore breeze the sea was quiet but a new Yellow-legged Gull did drop in at Ferrybridge and the Eider was still about in Portland Harbour.

The immigrant moth tally remained less than spectacular, with 6 Pearly Underwings, 4 Rusty-dot Pearl, 3 Silver Y, 2 Dark Sword Grass and singles of Rush Veneer, Dark Spectacle and Scarce Bordered Straw just about keeping things ticking over at the Obs.

We've never really been sure whether Yellow-legged Gulls genuinely fizzle out at this time of year or are just overlooked/ignored in favour of more interesting things but they do seem to crop up in the records far less often as September advances; this apparently new individual was at Ferrybridge today © Pete Saunders:

Having toiled away for enough hours to come to the conclusion that there probably wasn't a Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler or Arctic Warbler at the Bill we were easily tempted away to Abbotsbury during the afternoon to have a try for the Spotted Sandpiper that had shown up there yesterday evening. Thanks to the very accommodating staff we were lucky enough to jam into some excellent views in most enjoyable circumstances © Martin Cade

For anyone interested in the birds of the greater Weymouth/Portland area - basically everywhere south of the Ridgeway ridge - yesterday was remarkable for coming up with records of the two longest-standing bogey waders: the last Baird's Sandpiper was at the Bill in 1967, whilst the last Spotted Sandpiper was at the Nothe in 1973-4; we're not going to be holding our breath, but the new long-standing bogey is Upland Sandpiper (the last was at the Bill in 1976) which in the present circumstances seems like just the sort of thing that could pitch up!