16th September

We're sure we've used this phrase before but sometimes quantity really does have a quality of its own, and seeing the Crown Field flooded with nearly 2000 House Martins, both swooping low over our heads and pitching in the crops, was a sight to behold today. The weather followed an almost identical pattern to the past few days with a comfortable start giving way to a scorchingly hot afternoon and evening. With the now usual flocks of Yellow Wagtails, Siskins and Swallows disappearing as the clouds lifted, it was down to the House Martins to provide the entertainment, spiraling round the top of the tower before descending into the Crown Fields. A smattering of late migrants added some much needed variety to the land with a noticeable increase in Willow Warblers and Chiffchaff along with two apiece of Redstart, Whinchat and Spotted Flycatcher around the Obs. These findings were replicated across the island with a further three Spotted Flycatchers in Southwell and a curve ball in the form of a Ring-necked Parakeet behind Bumpers Lane. Ferrybridge saw the lingering Little Stint remain for a tenth day in a row.

House Martin days used to be routine mid-autumn events at the Bill but have become pretty infrequent in recent years. In the golden age of mass ringing of hirundines at the Obs in the mid-1980s up to 1600 House Martins were trapped in an autumn, but these days a whole season will pass without a single one bothering the data inputter; we made a bit of an effort for them today and quickly netted 40 or so but just as quickly as they'd materialised so they evaporated - we're going to need an awful lot of days like today before that 1600 record is threatened © Simon Colenutt The  Deskbound Birder (still) and Martin Cade (video): 

House Martins also featured for a while at Ferrybridge, where 500 or more gathered over the Fleet © Pete Saunders:

The Little Stint lingered on for another day at Ferrybridge and Spotted Flycatchers staged a mini resurgence after being largely absent for a week or more © Pete Saunders: