July 2003

July 31st A minor flurry of common migrants to end the month, with totals from Southwell and the Bill of 30 Willow Warblers, 19 Sand Martins, 6 Wheatears, 4 Garden Warblers, 3 Chiffchaffs, 2 Bullfinches, a Robin, a Sedge Warbler and a Lesser Whitethroat. Seawatching at the Bill produced 31 Common Scoter, 30 Manx Shearwaters, 2 Whimbrel and a Great Skua, whilst waders at Ferrybridge included 108 Dunlin, 28 Ringed Plovers and 11 Sanderling. July 30th Although the day itself was dry and bright, the weather overnight had remained pretty miserable and gave few opportunities for migrants to get moving. The south of the island produced just 3 Wheatears, 2 Willow Warblers, a Little Egret, a Sedge Warbler and a Garden Warbler, whilst seawatching at the Bill provided 20 Common Scoter, 3 Manx and a Balearic Shearwater, and 2 Great Skuas. July 29th The recent spell of poor weather continued, with a heavily overcast morning and a very wet and windy afternoon. New arrivals in the Bill area included 5 Wheatears, 4 Willow Warblers, a Sedge Warbler and a Spotted Flycatcher, whilst seawatching at the Bill produced 90 Common Scoter, 2 Manx and a Balearic Shearwater, 2 Sandwich Terns, a Whimbrel and an Arctic Skua. July 28th A few more early autumn migrants showed up at the Bill and Southwell, where there were 4 Willow Warblers, 2 Little Egrets, 2 Spotted Flycatchers, a Sedge Warbler and a Chiffchaff; a party of 7 Ravens overhead at the Bill constituted the highest count there this year. The sea remained rather quiet, with just 5 Common Scoter, an Arctic Skua and a commic tern passing the Bill. July 27th A little more interest today, with the highlight being 2 Crossbills at the Bill, where there were also 4 Willow Warblers, 2 Ringed Plovers, 2 Dunlin, 2 Wheatears, 2 Sedge Warblers and a Garden Warbler. Seawatching at the Bill produced 12 Common Scoter, 3 Black-headed Gulls and a Manx Shearwater. July 26th More wet and windy weather arrived soon after dawn and kept interest to a minimum. Seawatching at the Bill produced 33 Common Scoter, 3 Manx Shearwaters and 2 Sandwich Terns; a couple of Sand Martins passed through at the Bill, and waders at Ferrybridge included 3 Sanderling, a Whimbrel and a Curlew Sandpiper. July 25th An unbirdable wet and windy morning gave way to a brighter but still blustery afternoon, which saw a few Manx and at least 2 Balearic Shearwaters lingering off the Bill. Waders at Ferrybridge included 21 Sanderling and a Whimbrel. July 24th  Very quiet again, with just a lone Willow Warbler near the Obs and a single Arctic Skua passing through on the sea at the Bill. 


Whimbrel - Ferrybridge, July 23rd 2003 © Martin Cade

  July 23rd With hardly anyone birding on the island today, the only news was of 6 Sanderling and 3 Whimbrel amongst the commoner waders at Ferrybridge.  July 22nd After some false starts during the last couple of weeks it looks like autumn passage of warblers may just be getting going, with single Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat and Willow Warbler in the Bill area today. Whimbrel increased to 4 at Ferrybridge, where there were also 78 Dunlin, 54 Ringed Plovers and 8 Sanderling, whilst seawatching at the Bill produced 4 Manx Shearwaters, 4 Common Scoter and an Eider. July 21st Two Whimbrel and a Curlew Sandpiper were new arrivals at Ferrybridge, but the few birders in the field at the Bill were rewarded with nothing more than 3 Sand Martins and a Chiffchaff July 20th Ten Manx and 6 Balearic Shearwaters passed through off the Bill, and a lone Mistle Thrush showed up at the Obs.  July 19th  A Cuckoo at Verne Common and 100 Dunlin and 9 Sanderling at Ferrybridge were the best birds on the land. Seawatching at the Bill produced 7 Manx and 5 Balearic Shearwaters, 2 Black-headed Gulls, a Storm Petrel and a Great Skua. After dark, single Green and Common Sandpipers were heard calling over the Obs. July 18th With nothing of any note on the land it was left to the sea to just about save the day, with watches from the Bill producing 3 commic and 2 Sandwich Terns, a Manx and a Balearic Shearwater, and a lone Common Scoter. July 17th The recent hot, muggy weather was well and truly blown away by strong south-westerly winds that had sprung up overnight. Interest on the land was confined to 8 Common Sandpipers on the East Cliffs at the Bill. The sea was more productive, with 13 Common Scoter, 10 Balearic and 9 Manx Shearwaters, an Arctic Skua and a Black-headed Gull off the Bill. July 16th Two Black-headed Gulls and a single Manx Shearwater off the Bill, and 10 Dunlin and a Sanderling at Ferrybridge were the only noteworthy entries in the log today. July 15th Passage on the land remained at a standstill, with a couple of Sand Martins being the only faintly interesting birds logged at the Bill. Seawatching there produced 19 Common Scoter, 11 Black-headed Gulls and a Balearic Shearwater. July 14th Six Sand Martins and 3 Common Sandpipers were at the Bill, where 14 Black-headed Gulls and 3 Sandwich Terns also passed through on the sea. July 13th Seven Dunlin, 3 Sand Martins and a Yellow Wagtail passed overhead at the Bill, where a lone Manx Shearwater was the only worthwhile sighting on the sea. July 12th Odds and sods today included 18 Common Scoter, 4 Black-headed Gulls, 3 Manx and a Balearic Shearwater, and 3 Sandwich Terns past the Bill. Nothing of any note was reported on the land. July 11th Less than exciting again today, with plenty of effort at the Bill producing just 2 Sand Martins on the land, and a Manx Shearwater and a Curlew on the sea. July 10th Another 6 Storm Petrels were tape-lured at the Bill overnight, but the only 'daylight hours' news was of a Common Sandpiper, a Sand Martin, a Grey Wagtail and a Bullfinch at the Bill. July 9th In the early hours of the morning 5 Storm Petrels were trapped and ringed during a tape-luring session at the Bill. Precious little to report otherwise, with a Buzzard overhead at Weston, 7 Sand Martins and a Grey Heron at the Bill, and 2 Sandwich Terns and a lone Common Scoter passing through on the sea there. July 8th The only news today was of 132 Common Scoter and a single Sandwich Tern passing the Bill, and 20 Dunlin and 2 Whimbrel at Ferrybridge.


Grasshopper Warbler - Portland Bill, July 7th 2003 © Martin Cade

  July 7th A trickle of passage again today, with 3 Grey Wagtails, 2 Sand Martins, a Curlew and a Grasshopper Warbler at the Bill. Offshore, Common Scoter were also still on the move, with 35 passing down-Channel during the morning.



Peregrine - Southwell, July 6th 2003 © Simon Woolley & Julia Casson

  July 6th Early departing migrants at the Bill included 23 Sand Martins, 2 Willow Warblers, 2 Chiffchaffs, a Redstart and a Whinchat, whilst seawatching there produced 82 Common Scoter, 2 Balearic and a Manx Shearwater, 2 Sandwich Terns and a Black-headed Gull. July 5th Two late arriving Reed Warblers were still in song at the Bill, where there were also 2 Grey Herons, a Chiffchaff and a Spotted Flycatcher; seawatching there produced 47 Common Scoter, 8 Manx Shearwaters and a Balearic Shearwater. July 4th Three tardy singing Reed Warblers were in the Bill area, where 4 Common Scoter and a lone Manx Shearwater also passed by on the sea; the only other report was of a singing Chiffchaff at Wakeham. July 3rd Just a few snippets again, with a Sand Martin, a Grey Wagtail and a Reed Warbler at the Bill, and 2 Mediterranean Gulls passing on the sea there  July 2nd Precious little of note today, with a few Manx Shearwaters and a Black-headed Gull passing on the sea at the Bill, and 6 Sand Martins, a Whimbrel and a Yellow Wagtail at Ferrybridge.



Crossbill - Portland Bill, July 1st 2003 © Martin Cade

  July 1st A little early taste of autumn today, with 2 Crossbills dropping in for a couple of minutes at the Obs garden and the first 2 returning Common Sandpipers on the East Cliffs. A single Grey Heron was also at the Bill, and 2 Arctic Skuas, 2 Black-headed Gulls, 2 Sandwich Terns and a Balearic Shearwater passed through on the sea there. A lone Mediterranean Gull was at Ferrybridge.