6th August

Hot, sunny and hardly bird-filled today. With the conditions far too benign to drop passerines in quantity it was hard work on the ground at the Bill, where the light scatter of routine warblers and Wheatears included in their midst just a lone Garden Warbler of minor note. Waders were a little better represented, with 125 Ringed Plovers, 83 Dunlin, 14 Sanderling and 4 Redshank making up the bulk of the tally at Ferrybridge. Visible passage was poorly covered but included a steady passage of Sand Martins everywhere and a gathering of 30 Swifts over Weston.

The clear sky and cool, brisky breeze did little for overnight mothing, with singles of Cosmopolitan and Bordered Straw as good as it got amongst the immigrants at the Obs.

We mentioned a couple of days ago the occasional paler Willow Warblers - at this time of year most likely nearly all 'just' adults rather than birds of more distant origin - amongst all the dazzling youngsters and the capture of one of these adults afforded the opportunity to have a closer look at it (in these pairs of photos the adult is at the top and the youngster at the bottom). The underparts are conspicuously more silky-white, with just a wash of pale yellow on the throat and under tail coverts; in contrast the youngsters are yellow to a varying degree across the whole of their underparts. Note also the much broader pale tips to the primaries in the adult:

Adults have noticeably broader, more round-ended tail feathers than youngsters; notice also how the better quality feathers in the adult tail are showing hardly any signs of wear, whereas the poorer quality feathers of the youngster are already beginning to get chipped and frayed at the tips. As usual, a note of caution: ageing's straightforward when the differences are as obvious as they are in our examples here but plenty of tricky intermediates crop up that aren't nearly so easy and these are always best left un-aged! © Martin Cade:

Finally, sad news to convey of the death last week of Nick Wright. 

Nick moved to Dorset in 2003 after a career as a Royal Air Force officer and, after retirement, spells in university and school administration. His interest in natural history - as a youngster in the early 1960s he'd had a spell as a long-term volunteer at Bardsey Bird Observatory - led him to gravitate toward PBO where he served as our Honorary Secretary between 2007 and 2012; many members and visitors will perhaps have known him best during this period for also managing our Bookshop. In mid-life Nick had been struck down literally overnight by a profound disability that severely impacted his mobility but he always made light of this and resolved to make as much of the rest of his life as he could - a resolution that he certainly fulfilled. He maintained the affairs of both his secretaryship and the bookshop in the most meticulous of fashions and was always willing to assist his successor. Nick did much good work for the Obs for which we're extremely grateful and we offer our sincere condolences to his family.

A couple of yesterday's flight shots of showing comparison with the Dunlin the Ferrybridge White-rumped Sandpiper pic.twitter.com/I2ImWkULg5