August 2000

    August 30th Another day with a reasonable arrival of common migrants, but no sign of anything really unexpected. Hirundines, Yellow Wagtails, Wheatears and Willow Warblers were the most conspicuous migrants, and there were again a few Redstarts, and Pied and Spotted Flycatchers about the Bill area. Two groups of over-flying Black-tailed Godwits, totalling 24 birds, were unusual. Offshore, there were just a few commic Terns and Black-headed Gulls, and a single Pomarine Skua. August 29th The first really calm day for some time brought with it a few more migrants. Willow Warblers increased to 60 at the Bill, where there were also 30 Robins and 20 Tree Pipits, as well as a good sprinkle of all the expected common migrants for the time of year. In the afternoon a dramatic hatch of flying ants attracted more than 1000 hirundines to the Bill - the first decent gathering of the autumn. In the evening there was an out-of-the-blue sighting of a Cory's and a Sooty Shearwater during a brief seawatch from the Bill. The Curlew Sandpiper remained at Ferrybridge all day. August 28th Another rather lean day saw generally low numbers of common migrants logged. At the Bill higher counts included 60 Wheatears, 50 Yellow Wagtails, 15 Whitethroats, 15 Willow Warblers and 8 Grey Wagtails. Oddities included a Turtle Dove and a Grasshopper Warbler. A lone Curlew Sandpiper was at Ferrybridge throughout the day. August 27th Quieter all round today, with a change to fresher westerly weather and a drop in migrant numbers. Totals included 100 Wheatears, 50 Yellow Wagtails and 25 Willow Warblers, but otherwise just single figure counts of the other commoner migrants. Scarcer species included 5 Turtle Doves at Southwell, 4 Pied Flycatchers, and a single Nightingale at Blacknor. A lone Great Skua was the only noteworthy bird offshore. August 26th The recent easterly weather has promised much, but hasn't really produced the goods. Today saw a decent flurry of some of the commoner migrants, but the expected rarities failed to show. Around the Island, there were up to 500 Wheatears and 40 Whinchats, together with a sprinkle of other typical early autumn species. A Nightingale at the Bill was the only oddity. Seawatching produced 3 Balearic and 2 Sooty Shearwaters August 25th Another day dominated by a blasting easterly wind. A Little Shearwater passed east off the Bill early in the morning, but, with a supporting cast of just the first couple of returning auks and a single Manx Shearwater, it didn't mark the start of a good days seawatching. Birding on the land was difficult in the strong wind, although an Aquatic Warbler showed very briefly at Barleycrates Lane, and there were reasonable numbers of Wheatears and Yellow Wagtails around the Bill. Oddities included single Turtle Dove, Grasshopper Warbler and Pied Flycatcher at the Bill. August 24th Although some migrants continue to arrive in quite good supply, others that would normally be expected at this time of year remain very scarce. Today saw respectable totals at the Bill of, for example,  200 Wheatears, 40 Yellow Wagtails, 12 Tree Pipits and 10 Whinchats. However, warblers were virtually absent, with Willow Warblers barely reaching double-figures. Offshore, a lone Balearic Shearwater was the best bird seen. August 23rd A constant strong easterly wind again put paid to most passage, with nearly all the common migrants present in very low numbers, and a probable fly-through Dotterel at the Bill the nearest thing to a highlight of the day. Sand Martins passed through in fair supply all day, and an early Bullfinch showed up at Culverwell. A trickle of terns, including a single Black Tern, 2 Balearic Shearwaters and an Arctic Skua were the only reward from seawatching at the Bill. Waders at Ferrybridge included 10 Sanderling and 3 Knot. August 22nd The highlight today was the trapping of the fourth Melodious Warbler of the autumn at the Obs during the afternoon. Unfortunately, an ever strengthening easterly wind seemed to have put a stop to most routine migration, although a few oddities, including Merlin, Mediterranean Gull, Lesser Whitethroat and Pied Flycatcher, showed up at various times around the Bill. The sea remained very quiet, with 2 Arctic and a Great Skua very much the best birds seen. August 21st The improvement continued today, with another reasonable arrival of common migrants. Numbers were, in the main, rather similar to yesterday, although there were fewer Wheatears and Yellow Wagtails, and more Willow Warblers and hirundines. Less common species at the Bill included Merlin, 2 Greenshank and a Redshank, 5 Grey Wagtails and a Nightingale. Sea passage remained very slow, with nothing better than 2 Arctic Skuas seen from the Bill. August 20th A much better day today, with the first decent arrival of migrants for a couple of weeks. At the Bill, totals included 100 Wheatears, 60 Yellow Wagtails, 30 Willow Warblers, 10 Tree Pipits, 3 Whinchats and single Merlin, Turtle Dove, Cuckoo, Nightingale and Grasshopper Warbler; hirundines and Swifts also trickled through all day. August 19th More of the same today, with migrants remaining exceedingly few and far between. Wheatear was again the only common migrant in any numbers, with a total of only 40 at the Bill, and a handful elsewhere. The first autumn Purple Sandpiper was present at the Bill itself, whilst offshore, 8 Sandwich Terns, 2 Arctic Skuas and a Puffin were the only birds of note. Waders at Ferrybridge included 180 Ringed Plovers, 100 Dunlin and 5 Sanderling. August 18th There was little change in the migrant situation today, with low numbers of everything except Wheatears. A fresher wind and heavy rain during the morning promised to perk-up seawatching, but in the event the only birds seen from the Bill were 38 commic Terns, 2 Arctic and a Great Skua, and a lone Manx Shearwater. August 17th A re-run of yesterday, with most migrants in such short supply that, again, not a single new bird was trapped at the Obs. Around the Bill, Wheatears increased slightly to more than 80, whilst overhead, Swifts and Sand Martins trickled through all day. At Ferrybridge, waders included 2 Knot and 2 Sanderling. August 16th A few more migrants were in evidence today, although it remained quiet for the time of year. At the Bill there were 70 Wheatears and 50 Sand Martins, but warblers were all but absent (not one new bird was trapped for ringing at the Obs in 6 hours of trying!). Seawatching provided just 10 Common Scoter, 2 Great Skuas and a Sandwich Tern. August 15th Migrants were again at a premium; the Nightingale of two days ago was retrapped at the Obs, and there were only a handful of new arrivals of the commonest species overnight. Freshening winds and sporadic rain in the afternoon produced nothing better than a single Great Skua on the sea.  August 14th After the events of yesterday, the sea was well covered all day, but proved to be rather quiet. Off the Bill, counts included 34 Common Scoter, 6 Balearic and 3 Manx Shearwaters, and 2 Great and 2 Arctic Skuas. Migrants were again very sparse on the land, where the highlight was just a single Reed Warbler. August 13th A change in the weather promised a few more birds, but the bizarre selection that showed up could not have been predicted. The land was unexpectedly quiet, with a Nightingale - one of only two birds trapped at the Obs all day - very much the highlight. With so little about in the way of migrants, interest moved to the sea following the sighting of 2 unseasonable Velvet Scoters passing the Bill. Soon an adult Long-tailed Skua flew west, and then, just before midday, a presumed Fea's Soft-plumaged Petrel passed frustratingly quickly in the same direction. These highlights aside, the seawatching was otherwise remarkably unproductive, with counts of just 34 Common Scoter, 2 Arctic and 2 Great Skuas, and 2 Manx Shearwaters. August 12th Another hot day saw a variety of migrants arrive, although all were in very low numbers. At the Bill there were 25 Willow Warblers, 25 Wheatears, 7 Yellow Wagtails, 4 Tree Pipits, 2 Garden Warblers, and single Redstart, Pied Flycatcher and Spotted Flycatcher. August 11th In very fine weather, migrants were again relatively sparse. At the Bill, counts included 50 Willow Warblers, 8 Garden Warblers, 2 Pied Flycatchers, 2 Sedge Warblers and a Spotted Flycatcher. Twelve fly-by Mallards were the highlight of some unproductive seawatching. August 10th Migrants remained in low numbers at the Bill, where there were 45 Willow Warblers, 40 Wheatears, a Sedge Warbler, a Garden Warbler and a Pied Flycatcher. Seawatching provided just a single Balearic Shearwater and a Great Skua. August 9th Numbers of common migrants fell even further today, and a single Wood Warbler at the Obs was the only minor highlight on the land. Offshore, 2 Great Skuas passed in the morning. August 8th A much quieter day, with both the Melodious Warblers having moved on, and only rather low numbers of migrants having arrived overnight. Willow Warbler numbers dropped to just 40 and, although most of the species seen in recent days were present, all were in reduced numbers. A lone Sooty Shearwater was reported passing the Bill in the afternoon. August 7th Yesterdays Melodious Warblers remained in the area, with both being seen together on occasions. Common migrants continue to arrive at the Bill in reasonable supply, with totals today including 150 Willow Warblers, 10 Garden Warblers, 5 Tree Pipits and 2 Pied Flycatchers. Passage offshore was limited to 50 Black-headed Gulls and a few Common Scoter


Melodious Warbler - the 3rd  ringed this autumn  © Charlie Moores

  August 6th The good start to the autumn continued today with the trapping of another Melodious Warbler at the Obs in the afternoon; the bird present for the past few days was still present in the morning at least. Common migrants were present in good supply at the Bill, where counts included 300 Willow Warblers, 25 Garden Warblers, 10 Pied Flycatchers, and a scatter of other typical early movers in lower numbers. A single Little Ringed Plover flew over the Bill and a Balearic Shearwater passed on the sea.  August 5th August More of the same today, with the Melodious Warbler present all day and a reasonable sprinkle of common migrants having arrived overnight. At the Bill, there were 100 Willow Warblers, 8 Garden Warblers, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, and single Reed and Sedge Warblers; fly-over waders included both Snipe and Greenshank. The sea produced just a single Balearic Shearwater. At Ferrybridge, waders included 145 Ringed Plovers, 130 Dunlin and 15 Sanderling August 4th Once again the Melodious Warbler remained in the vicinity of the Obs Quarry throughout the day. It was the busiest day of the autumn so far for common migrants: Willow Warblers numbered around 200 at the Bill, where there were also 12 Garden Warblers, 10 Sedge Warblers, 2 Pied Flycatchers, 2 Tree Pipits, 2 Grey Herons, and single Snipe, Grasshopper Warbler and Redstart. The sea was much quieter, and provided just 5 Manx Shearwaters. August 3rd The Melodious Warbler remained in the Obs Quarry for most of the day and entertained a steady stream of birders throughout. Other oddities at the Bill included 2 Little Ringed Plovers and a Wood Sandpiper. Common migrants were still in short supply, with the best being a single Grasshopper Warbler. With blustery westerly weather continuing the sea produced totals of 19 Balearic and 9 Manx Shearwaters, and a single Arctic Skua August 2nd The Melodious Warbler showed well for most of the day in the Obs Quarry, but it was otherwise a quiet day spoilt by freshening westerly winds. A handful of Willow Warblers and a Spotted Flycatcher were the only new migrants on the land, and seawatching was surprisingly  unproductive all day.


Melodious Warbler  - the 2nd  ringed this autumn  © Martin Cade

  August 1st The Hippolais run continued today with the trapping of a Melodious Warbler in the Obs garden; the bird later showed well in the Hut Fields and Obs Quarry. Common migrants were again thin on the ground, with little more than a sprinkle of Wheatears, Willow and Sedge Warblers, and a single Tree Pipit at the Bill. A fly-over Green Sandpiper there was more unusual.