18th July

In its own low-key, mid-July sort of way today was an oddly ripping little day, with it feeling for the first time this month that autumn passage was really getting going. With interest on the ground, overhead and over the sea a bit more coverage would have been helpful and would likely have turned up a little more variety on the ground; as it was, Green Sandpiper and Willow Warbler at the Bill and Great Spotted Woodpecker at Sweethill were firsts for the season and totals of at least 70 Lesser Black-backed Gulls and 37 Yellow-legged Gulls at the Bill - the latter the highest count so far from their recent influx - were of note. Migrant-wise, a small passage of hirundines - including 100 Sand Martins through at the Bill - and an increase in Dunlin to 54 at Ferrybridge accounted for the bulk of the rest of the numbers, with 2 Whimbrel and singles of Sanderling and Redshank adding some variety at Ferrybridge. Mediterranean Gulls put in a strong showing offshore, with 120 through off the Bill where 53 Common Scoter, 19 Manx Shearwaters, 10 commic terns, 2 Balearic Shearwaters and a Ringed Plover also passed by.

Time-wise, today was spot on for our first Green Sandpiper of the season:

Some nice pulses of Sand Martins were on the move...

...they've obviously been breeding well somewhere or another - all 26 that we netted in an impromptu attempt to catch a few that were lingering over the Crown Estate Field proved to be sparklingly fresh youngsters:

In marked contrast to the super smart Sand Martins, the season's first Willow Warbler was a right shoddy-looking adult in active moult...

...it'd be interesting to know from how far away this one had dispersed from - we're imagining that not too many breed in Dorset these days:

This Striped Hawkmoth - only the second trapped on the island this year - was a nice surprise in the Obs moth-traps; it'd been through the wringer as well, with lots of rubbing and damage to its right wings © Martin Cade: