28th August

The calm after the storm didn't bring the much anticipated arrival of birds, however, a few moths of interest were trapped in the course of the previous night. On the birding front, the only bird of note was the first Blackcap of the autumn within the Obs recording area. The usual morning ensemble of 10 Yellow Wagtails, 9 Tree Pipits and 2 Grey Wagtails were, as usual, a pleasure. A Great Spotted Woodpecker trapped in the garden in the late morning added some much needed entertainment. The rest of the daily totals consisted of: 1 Whimbrel, 14 Wheatears, 10 Willow Warblers, 4 Robins, 9 Whitethroats, 2 Sand Martins and 1 Short-eared Owl. The mornings seawatch brought with it: 6 Manx Shearwaters, 1 Common Scoter, 1 Balearic Shearwater, 9 Mediterranean Gulls and 1 Black-headed Gull

Even the Ravens are finding the birding a little slow... © Erin Taylor

The only slightly out of the ordinary migrant at the Bill was this - newly arrived? - Short-eared Owl high overhead with a mob of corvids in tow. We don't know a lot about owl ageing but we're guessing from its shoddy flight feathers that this individual isn't a bird of the year; we're also guessing it would much rather not have migrated any sort of distance with its plumage in this state. It seems as though there are plenty of Asio owls arriving a lot earlier than usual this autumn at the coastal watchpoints - is there a vole shortage on the continent? 
© Martin Cade:

The Obs moth-traps came up with an unexpected little flurry of interest last night: Satin Beauty and White-faced Tortrix Pandemis cinnamomeana are both very infrequent strays to the island...

...but for us the highlight was what we're taking to be a Mathew's Wainscot; it stuck out like a sore thumb amongst the mass of Common and Smoky Wainscots and was so creamy-smooth in appearance that at first glance one worthy Dorset lepidopterist who happened to call in on us today pronounced that it must be Fen Wainscot. We've tried in the past to convince ourselves that the occasional smooth-ish specimen of Common Wainscot might perhaps be a Mathew's but last night's moth looked to be the real deal and as such may well be an addition to the island list © Martin Cade: