10th October

Insects provided the highlights of the day after some passing pre-dawn rain gave was to increasingly clear skies and, by the afternoon, real warmth to the sun. Singles of Long-tailed Blue butterfly and Vagrant Emperor dragonfly were spotted on East Weare, where Clouded Yellows were positively abundant. Whether the two rarities were new arrivals is debatable but there was back-up for this scenario in the form of the best overnight catch of immigrant moths since the first days of the month, with several Vestals, Scarce Bordered Straws and White-specks amongst the hugely improved totals of more routine fare.

Bird-wise, it was hard work getting amongst anything in quantity on the ground, where the overnight rain appeared to have worked no magic at all; at least three Dartford Warblers were an on-cue first for the season but a new Cetti's Warbler - the second of the autumn away from the north of the island where they seem to have reappeared after several month's absence - was the best of the rest. As in recent days, overhead passage was busier even if numbers were far from impressive: 3 Bramblings were an autumn first over the Bill amongst other totals that included 250 Meadow Pipits, 125 Linnets and 115 alba wagtails. In a fresh offshore breeze sea passage at the Bill was almost non-existent: 340 passing Mediterranean Gulls were almost to be expected these days but a paltry 3 Balearic Shearwaters were all that could be mustered by way of proper quality.

Long-tailed Blue remains the most tricky of all the 'mid-level' rare butterflies to catch up with at Portland: whilst the likes of Monarch, Large Tortoiseshell and others have been perfectly get-able at times there's never been a Long-tailed Blue - including this one - that's ever stuck in one place for more than a few seconds © Joe Stockwell: