26th October

Samey mild, blustery conditions continued and the birding remained at a samey level, with little better on show than the lingering Hen Harrier that entertained from time to time, a Lapland Bunting overhead at Wakeham, a Balearic Shearwater through off the Bill and ones and twos of Merlin, Black Redstart and Firecrest knocking about on the land. A small flurry of overhead passage included 100-300 totals of Wood Pigeon, Goldfinch and Linnet, a handful of Redwings and 4 Bramblings, whilst on the ground it was only really the mist-nets that drew attention to there being, for example, a few new Robins, Song Thrushes and Blackcaps.

There used to be a time when rarer immigrant moths were the preserve of coastal headlands like Portland - when we recorded our first two Maize Moths Spoladea recurvalis on consecutive nights in 1995 there had been fewer than ten British records - but times have changed to the extent that this was our 13th records, the British total stands at more than 250 and they even turn up in all sorts of Noddy inland locations - climate change has got a lot to answer for, not least the devaluing of a lot of these former goodies!...

...A fair proportion of moth undersides are drab, anonymous affairs that don't attract attention but a good few of the rarer pyralids look as great from underneath as they do on top; it's of course no more than an anecdotal observation but we'd venture to suggest that a disproportionate number of these rarities in our moth-traps are first seen from underneath as they're scuttling about on the underside of the perspex lid of the trap (today's recurvalis certainly was) - maybe they have more of a migratory urge and are less inclined to settle quietly deep inside the trap? © Martin Cade: