8th October

If it weren't for the crisp autumn leaves underfoot or the sound of finches and pipits overhead, it would have been possible to think we had been transported back to the height of summer in today's glorious sunshine and warmth. Once again overhead passage dominated with totals from the various watchpoints around the Bill including 375 Swallows, 370 Meadow Pipits, 310 Pied Wagtails, 310 Skylarks, 285 Siskins, 140 Linnets, 70 Chaffinches, 42 Goldfinches, 58 Reed Buntings, 20 Redpoll, 4 Grey Wagtails, 2 Woodlarks and singles of Golden Plover, Osprey and Tree Pipit; elsewhere, a Tree Sparrow passed over at Coombefield. At sea, 32 Balearic Shearwaters, 20 Kittiwakes and a single Arctic Skua were logged. Another poor showing of grounded migrants included singles of Goldcrest and Lesser Whitethroat whilst the Grey Phalarope was still favouring the shallow pools at Ferrybridge.  

A good deal of the overhead passage seemed to be taking place at stratospheric height in the cloudless sky - many of the Siskin flocks in particular could be heard but not latched on by sight and could only be recorded as 1+! - however, with a bit of perseverance odd vantage points like West Cliffs afforded some nice photo opportunities © Joe Stockwell:

One migrant that actually dropped in in fair numbers was Reed Bunting © Nick Hopper:

Rarity-wise, the pick of the overnight moth catch was Portland's fifth Dark Mottled Willow from the Obs traps, although the third Death's-head Hawkmoth of the week (see below) - this one at Freshwater Bay - was a good deal more spectacular; the second Maize Moth in two days - this one was a daytime find, also at Freshwater Bay - was another nice scarcity. The moth catch might have been good (totals from the Obs traps included, amongst others, 44 Delicates and 11 Olive-tree Pearls) but as a spectacle the day-long southbound movement of Red Admirals took some beating - they've been on the move in a similar fashion for several days but today's passage was taking place on a broad front and based on a few random sample counts must have involved many thousands of butterflies. Further insect interest came in the form of a Vagrant Emperor dragonfly at Ferrybridge © Martin Cade: