13th August

Despite a vast improvement on the weather front, the day remained rather uninspiring migration-wise. As such, it feels like a good time to show off a little success story from the summer. As regular followers of the blog and avid members will know, the Observatory entered into a Countryside Stewardship Mid Tier agreement for our surrounding farmland last year, with the aim of improving the land in regards to diminishing farmland breeding birds. This has included the planting of 'bird friendly' seed crops, an almost complete reduction in pesticides and the distribution of seed throughout the winter months. This summer we saw the first fruits of our labour as the first breeding record of Tree Sparrow for Portland occurred! Fantastically, our 'Chippers' managed to lay two clutches and succeeded in rearing a brood of 6 followed by a brood of 5. We have already recovered two of the first brood, during our morning ringing sessions, as free flying birds and a third was spotted at Nick Stantiford's feeders in Southwell. Although this is a highly nomadic species, we hope that this could be the start of a successful colonisation attempt.

Today's seawatching highlight came from a Cory's Shearwater seen off the Bill at 16:20. Otherwise: 3 Manx Shearwaters, 10 Balearic Shearwaters, 1 Arctic Skua, 16 Mediterranean Gulls, 1 Black-headed Gull and 2 Common Scoter.

Land based migrants were, once again, few and far between, although with slightly more variety than the past couple of days: 7 Willow Warblers, 1 Chiffchaff, 3 Sedge Warblers, 2 Tree Pipits, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Wheatear, 1 Whinchat, 45 Swallows and 24 Swifts.

Ferrybridge saw a large count of 33 Oystercatchers, 7 Sanderling and 1 Redshank.

It's been a pleasure to watch these birds throughout their entire attempt from the first stages of nest building to catching the fledged young well away from the breeding site. Fingers crossed for next year! © Erin Taylor (top and lower two) and Martin Cade