26th August

The sea had to save the day again today with the briskish westerly breeze doing just enough to make up for what, perhaps not surprisingly, the clear overnight sky didn't deliver on the ground. One of the earlier in the week Melodious Warblers was a surprise recapture in the Obs garden mist-nets but the likes of 10 Tree Pipits, 2 Pied Flycatchers and singles of Redshank, Snipe and Common Sandpiper hardly provided much quality amongst the tiny numbers of commoner migrants kicking about at the Bill. A little bit of turn over amongst the Ferrybridge waders included the arrival of  17 Knot and 7 Sanderlings. Offshore, the Balearic Shearwater tally reached 78, with 190 Kittiwakes, 15 Common Scoter, 10 Manx Shearwaters and singles of Teal and Arctic Skua the best of rest from the sea.

Our evening Ferrybridge wader session provided one of those little events that make you wonder what you miss there at this time of year when there's so much active migration afoot: we became aware of Knot calls from high above us as we were scanning the mud and looked up to see 17 of them descending out of a clear, blue sky...

...they pitched in and fed voraciously for a short while...

...but within minutes were away off over Chesil into the setting sun. Where will they be by this time tomorrow? © Martin Cade:

Spotted Flycatchers are nice easy birds to age at this time of year, not only in the hand as we're fortunate enough to see them but also in the field. Although they have a really freaky moult regime this shouldn't get in the way of the fact that in autumn adults are looking very plain relative to the youngsters that have, amongst other things, a striking spotty wing-bar and spots on the tips of the uppertail coverts. Here are examples of the two age classes from our mist-nets this week © Martin Cade:

And to end, a couple of interesting 'you don't usually see it like this' views of Portland from earlier this week © Rob Sawyer: