31st August

Overcast with a gentle south-easterly breeze, the day started like all of the most promising autumnal days. It was a day of variety as proved by the netting totals that reached 97 birds of 19 species, the highlights of which were singles of Grasshopper Warbler, Reed Warbler and Pied Flycatcher. The rest of the tally was made of common (but no less appreciated) migrants, including a continuation of yesterday's Spotted Flycatcher and Robin passage. Despite the favorable conditions, over-head passage was somewhat disappointing with Yellow Wagtails the only species in real numbers, including at least 85 over the Bill; Tree Pipits, Grey Wagtails and House Martins remained in single figures whilst a single Merlin - the first of the season - was the only raptor of note. Two Arctic Skuas through off the Bill provided the only sea interest.

The propitious conditions tempted Nick Hopper into another deployment of his nocmig kit and he was rewarded with an Ortolan Bunting over the Obs; it was otherwise a rather quiet night with the totals consisting of:

Tree Pipit 64 calls
Yellow Wagtail 7 calls
Spotted Flycatcher 4
Robin 2
Green Sandpiper
Common Sandpiper 3

The highlight from the moth-traps just lately has been this Rosy Underwing last night from Debby Saunders' garden at Sweethill. The only previous Portland record was in 1993 when one was netted after being spotted flying in daylight in the Obs garden; that individual was only the sixth for Britain and the first in the modern era; subsequently, the national total has advanced to around 20, with a cluster of half of these having come from the Purbeck coast suggesting the species might perhaps be colonising that area (it's a pretty common moth just across the Channel in Normandy) © Debby Saunders: