24th September

A waft of a southeasterly at this time of year always offers promise and although there was only a small upsurge in numbers on the ground the quality was hugely improved, with the star arrival a Greenish Warbler that spent most of the day in the Obs garden. The autumn's first Yellow-browed Warbler - at Thumb Lane - probably wasn't at all unexpected, whilst the back-ups spread widely around the island included 9 Firecrests, 6 Pied Flycatchers, 3 Short-eared Owls and Hobby. Chiffchaffs were well spread in moderate numbers, whilst worthwhile totals of other commoner migrants included 24 Stonechats at the Bill. Visible passage, amongst which hirundines featured particularly conspicuously, was at times very strong but remained almost entirely unquantified. Seawatch reports from the Bill included 3 Brent Geese, 2 Balearic Shearwaters, 2 Great Skuas and a Tufted Duck.

The lingering party of 15 or more Bottle-nosed Dolphins remained off the Bill for most of the day.

Two Radford's Flame Shoulders were the pick of the overnight moth catch at the Obs, where 5 more Delicates were the best of the rest.

A benefit of the season, in as much the trees are in places already getting very bare, was that the Greenish Warbler was unusually showy; June occurrences have become more or less the rule in recent times and in that month this species seems to delight in vanishing from view into the densest leaf-cover © Brett Spencer (upper) and Martin Cade (lower):

Rather unexpectedly for this time of year when the majority of vagrants are youngsters, the bird was a pretty raggedy adult. In most respects it conformed to the literature descriptions of adults undertaking a partial post-breeding moult involving body feathers and some tertials and tail feathers but being readily identifiable by, for example, the unmoulted and hence well-worn greater coverts and flight feathers (it clearly had some new body and tail feathers as well as three new tertials on one wing and two on the other); however, we were surprised to see that it had also moulted several inner greater coverts and in this respect rather invited being mis-aged as a bird of the year © Martin Cade: 

There was a time when a day-tally of 6 Pied Flycatchers would have been thought of as pretty small fry in autumn but such has been their recent decline that several times we noticed folk look away from watching the Greenish Warbler to see their first Pied Fly of the season © Brett Spencer:

On the mothing front it looks as though we might be in for a repeat of last autumn's multiple occurrences of Radford's Flame Shoulders: last night's two at the Obs were three days earlier than the two there that marked the start of last autumn's unprecedented series of records © Martin Cade: