8th September

Conventional wisdom would have it that an early September mix of a gentle southwesterly, a party overcast sky and the New Moon period would be a perfect combination for a rewarding birding day at Portland but in the event they delivered up another shocker, with routine passage on the ground, overhead and on the sea reduced to the merest of trickles. Seasonable fare of the likes of Yellow Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Meadow Pipit, Wheatear, Blackcap and Willow Warbler all just managed to scrape into double figures at the Bill, where a lone Merlin constituted the only minor less frequent interest on the land and just 2 Balearic Shearwaters passed by on the sea.

As a reminder of the sort of volume of passage that ought to be a feature at the moment we'll skip back to earlier in the week when Nick Hopper sampled nocturnal passage for us on Tuesday night (4th/5th September):
'It was really busy night, predominated unusually by Yellow Wagtail calls with regular waves of birds through the night, often accompanied by Tree Pipits; in total 507 Yellow Wagtail calls were logged along with 212 Tree Pipit calls.
Other highlights were a flock of Arctic Tern passing overland and another Ortolan. Waders were very well represented with 3 flocks of Knot, a small party of Green Sandpiper including a bird attempting to sing, 3 Greenshank, 4 Redshank, 2 Whimbrel, Turnstone, Common Sandpiper, 3 Dunlin and 4 Ringed Plover flocks.
Also, Short-eared Owl, alba Wagtail, Robin 6, Pied Flycatcher 2 and the first Blackbird calls of the autumn.'