June 2007



    Yellowhammer - Easton, June 2007 © Ruth Ashdown

....as you might guess from the colour of the sky this photograph wasn't taken today!

  June 30th

With low cloud and fog blighting the island the sea was invisible for periods today but it was apparent that Manx Shearwaters were still plentiful off the Bill although as had become apparent in the last couple of days it looks like some of the Balearics have at least temporarily left the area; Manx numbered well over 500, mainly flying west, whilst the 30 or so sightings of Balearics may not have referred to that many individuals as several were lingering offshore. The only other news was of at least 2 Storm Petrels off the Bill and a late Reed Warbler in song at the Obs.

The weather conditions weren't too bad for overnight mothing but the only immigrants caught at the Obs were singles of Rusty-dot Pearl and Delicate; Least Yellow Underwing and Common Rustic were both on the wing for the first time this year.



    Currant Clearwing - Fortuneswell, June 27th 2007 © Martin Cade

....perhaps surprisingly this is only the second species of clearwing moth to be recorded at Portland; The specimen was found close to gooseberry bushes in a garden at Fortuneswell and further searches with pheromone lures may well reveal that the species is established there.

  June 29th

Yet another seawatching day in windy and, early in the morning at least, very wet conditions (we're certainly paying for all that fine weather back in the early spring). All the news was from the Bill where 400 Manx and 5 Balearic Shearwaters, 10 Common Scoter, 3 Storm Petrels and an Arctic Skua passed by.






      Peregrines - Portland Bill, June 28th 2007 © Martin Cade 

......these two juveniles spent a long time settled on the Obs lighthouse tower during the morning. The Portland Peregrines have had a decent breeding season with a total of nine young fledging from four nest sites (a fifth pair appear to have been unsuccessful).

  June 28th

All the news was again from the Bill where there were 2 Sand Martins, a Redshank and a Spotted Flycatcher on the land and 200 Manx Shearwaters, 13 Balearic Shearwaters, 8 Common Scoter and singles of Arctic Skua, Great Skua and Black-headed Gull passed through on the sea.

The first Clouded Yellow for a few weeks was at the Bill this morning.

Late news for yesterday: a Currant Clearwing found in a garden at Fortuneswell in the evening was an addition to the Portland moth list; photos to follow in the next couple of days.



      Stonechat - Portland Bill, June 27th 2007 © Paul Baker 

  June 27th

Whilst the sea continued to provide most of the action there was a little more to report from the land where a Serin was seen briefly early in the morning on the Admiralty Fence at Southwell, a Little Egret flew north over the Bill and a late Reed Warbler was at Culverwell. Shearwaters still dominated the scene on the sea with 700 Manx and 16 Balearics passing through off the Bill during the morning; 33 Common Scoter, an Arctic Skua and a Sandwich Tern also passed through there.

A lone Dark Sword Grass was the only immigrant amongst a pitiful overnight catch of moths at the Obs.

Late news for yesterday: 3 Sanderling and a Redshank were amongst small numbers of commoner waders at Ferrybridge.

June 26th

In much more pleasant conditions today there was plenty more interest on the sea but precious little on the land where the only report of note was of a single Grey Wagtail at the Bill. The sea was watched for much of the day at the Bill where totals included 2100 Manx and 35 Balearic Shearwaters, 27 Common Scoter, 16 commic and 2 Sandwich Terns, 5 Storm Petrels, 3 Whimbrel, a Curlew and singles of Arctic and Great Skua.






    more Manx and Balearic Shearwaters - Portland Bill, June 25th 2007 © Martin Cade 

  June 25th

Yet another spell of heavy rain through the morning and early afternoon as well as a noticeable strengthening of the wind saw to it that the land wasn't covered at all. On the sea upwards of 200 Manx Shearwaters, 50 Balearic Shearwaters and a dozen Storm Petrels lingered off the Bill for much of the day, whilst the late afternoon and evening saw a further heavy passage of many hundreds of Manx moving up-Channel; other odds and ends getting on to the day-sheet included 9 Common Scoter, 6 commic terns, 3 Arctic Skuas, 2 Little Terns and a Sandwich Tern.

June 24th

Continual rain through the morning restricted birding activities to seawatching at the Bill where there was precious little change from recent days. Balearic Shearwaters numbered around 40, many of which were lingering offshore along with half-a-dozen or more Storm Petrels; at least 50 Manx Shearwaters, 31 Common Scoter, 3 Arctic Skuas and a single Great Skua also passed by.

In very wet conditions overnight the only immigrants attracted to the Obs garden moth-traps were a Delicate, a Silver Y and a Red Admiral butterfly; Clay was also a first record for the year amongst the resident species on the wing. 



    Red-breasted Flycatcher - Portland Bill, June 23rd 2007 © Martin Cade 

  June 23rd

Plenty more action on the sea today but the star bird of the day was the second Red-breasted Flycatcher of the week that appeared in the Obs garden for little more than an hour just before midday. Further odds and ends on the land included a couple of Willow Warblers and singles of Curlew, Sand Martin and Grey Wagtail at the Bill. On the sea at the Bill the Balearic Shearwater tally for the morning reached 48 arriving from the east along with a feeding flock of around 20 (presumably some of the same birds?) lingering offshore; 87 Manx Shearwaters also passed through and at least 5 Storm Petrels were lingering offshore.

Immigrant moths remained all but absent with just singles of Diamond-back Moth, Rush Veneer, Dark Sword Grass, Delicate and Silver Y caught in the Obs garden traps overnight; Dot Moth was the only addition to the year list in the traps.





    Balearic Shearwaters - Portland Bill, June 22nd 2007 © Colin McEntee (top two photos) and Martin Cade (bottom photo)

  June 22nd

A bit more interest today with several sightings of note on land and sea. On the land 2 Serins dropped in briefly at Culverwell before flying off high to the south and other late or early migrants included 3 Reed Warblers, 2 Sand Martins, a Grey Heron and a Whimbrel at the Bill and a Spotted Flycatcher at Easton. On the sea Balearic Shearwaters remained conspicuous with watches from the Obs producing a total of 52 (including a flock of 22) flying west which may or may not have included birds that were also lingering from time to time off the Pulpit Rock/Trinity House obelisk area (where the highest count of feeding birds was 27). Passing Manx Shearwaters reached around the 100 mark whilst 4 Common Scoter and 3 Sandwich Terns also passed through.

The only immigrants attracted to the Obs garden moth-traps overnight were 3 Silver Y and singles of Diamond-back Moth, Rush Veneer and Rusty-dot Pearl.

Late news for yesterday: afternoon/evening seawatching at the Bill produced another 300 Manx and 10 Balearic Shearwaters.

June 21st

In blustery and showery conditions just about the only reward was to be had from seawatching which produced 350 Manx and 16 Balearic Shearwaters, 11 Common Scoter, 4 Storm Petrels and 2 commic terns passing through off the Bill during the morning. The only worthwhile report from the land was of a Spotted Flycatcher at Culverwell.

It was another very poor night for immigrant moths with nothing more than 2 Diamond-back Moth and singles of Zeiraphera isertana, Rush Veneer and Pearly Underwing caught in the Obs garden traps overnight.



    Rook - Ferrybridge, June 20th 2007 © Martin Cade 

  June 20th

Nothing at all to report from the land today but the sea continued to provide some interest with more than 300 Manx Shearwaters and 20 Balearic Shearwater still milling around off the Bill and 21 commic terns and 3 Arctic Skuas passing by there. 

The immigrant tally in the Obs garden moth-traps dwindled to just 3 Diamond-back Moth, 2 each of Silver Y and Rusty-dot Pearl and a single Delicate; singles of Zeiraphera isertana at both the Obs and Southwell were additions to yesterday's immigrant/wanderer list whilst year-ticks during the last two nights included Blue-bordered Carpet, Shaded Broad-bar, Phoenix, Swallowtail, Brown-tail and Lesser Yellow Underwing.




    Red-breasted Flycatcher - Southwell, June 19th 2007 © Martin Cade 

  June 19th

With the forecast rain holding off for much longer than expected there was some hope that the brisk easterly wind might waft in some quality to liven up what has thus far been a very quiet June. Fortunately this came to pass with the discovery late in the morning of a Red-breasted Flycatcher in a private garden at Southwell, although the back-up cast of a Turtle Dove at Suckthumb Quarry, a Reed Warbler at Southwell and a Lapwing at the Bill were a good deal less inspiring. The sea continued to be worth a look with more than 20 Balearic Shearwaters milling around off the Bill where 25 Manx Shearwaters, 20 commic terns, 4 Black-headed Gulls, 2 Common Scoter, 2 Curlews, 2 Sandwich Terns and singles of both Arctic and Great Skua also passed by.

The Obs garden moth-traps remained at the ticking-over level with the only immigrants caught being 13 Diamond-back Moth, 13 Silver Y and singles of Rusty-dot Pearl, Delicate and Dark Spectacle.

June 18th

It was another good day for shearwater watching with 170 Manx and 17 Balearics passing through off the Bill during the morning but otherwise the only reports were of 47 Common Scoter, 10 commic terns, 3 Sandwich Terns and an Arctic Skua also passing the Bill, a new Whitethroat present in the Obs garden and a Spotted Flycatcher at Southwell.

There was very little to report from the Obs garden moth-traps with the only immigrants caught being 7 Diamond-back Moth, 3 Silver Y, 2 Rusty-dot Pearl and singles of Rush Veneer, Delicate.

Late news for yesterday: the kite reported over Verne Common was evidently seen by another observer and identified as a Red Kite.



    Manx Shearwater - Portland Bill, June 17th 2007 © Colin McEntee 

  June 17th

Other than a report of a kite sp seen briefly late in the morning being mobbed by gulls over Verne Common the only news today was of a few late/early waders at Ferrybridge including 9 Dunlin and 2 Sanderling and of some more seawatching at the Bill which produced 130 Manx Shearwaters, 10 Balearic Shearwaters, 14 commic terns, 5 Sandwich Terns and 3 Arctic Skuas.

The Obs garden moth-traps were a little busier than yesterday although immigrant interest was restricted to 19 Diamond-back Moth, 5 Rusty-dot Pearl, 3 Silver Y and singles of Rush Veneer, Delicate and Dark Spectacle.



    Balearic and Manx Shearwaters - Portland Bill, June 16th 2007 © Colin McEntee 

  June 16th

The arrival of fresher, westerly weather and a brisk wind promised some more interest on the sea but in the event it was much quieter than yesterday with just 28 Manx Shearwaters, 14 Common Scoter, 4 Balearic Shearwaters and 3 Arctic Skuas passing through off the Bill. A lone Willow Warbler was the only apparent new arrival on the land at the Bill.

In much less promising conditions overnight the Obs garden moth-traps were extremely quiet; the only immigrants recorded were 10 Diamond-back Moth, 2 Silver Y, 1 Rush Veneer, 1 Rusty-dot Pearl and 1 Delicate.

Late news for yesterday: 2 Dartford Warblers - both juveniles and so presumably locally-bred (and if so constituting the first breeding record for Portland) - were at Tout Quarry...if a breeding pair of Dartford Warblers can be overlooked for a whole spring it makes you wonder what else gets missed away from the hotspots!!





    Striped Hawk-moth, Balearic Shearwater and Manx Shearwaters - Portland Bill, June 15th 2007 © Colin McEntee (the shearwaters) and Martin Cade (Striped Hawk)

  June 15th

The sea provided nearly all the interest today with totals of 590 Gannets, 218 Manx Shearwaters, 16 Balearic Shearwaters, 8 Sandwich Terns, 7 commic terns, 4 Curlew, a Great Crested Grebe and a Common Scoter passing through off the Bill during the morning. The only news was of a Reed Warbler and a Willow Warbler at the Bill.

After a night of at times torrential rain the Obs garden moth-traps were extremely sodden and relatively quiet; quality was provided by a single Striped Hawk-moth but the only other immigrants/wanderers logged were 29 Diamond-back Moth,16 Silver Y, 3 Rush Veneer, 2 Dioryctria abietella and 2 Cream-bordered Green-Pea.

June 14th

We've reached that period where spring and autumn passages overlap and there was certainly evidence of both today. On the land there was a small flurry of late new arrivals that included 7 Reed Warblers, 2 Spotted Flycatchers and singles of Wheatear, Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler at the Bill and another Reed Warbler at Reap Lane, whilst on the sea autumn Common Scoter passage was getting going with several flocks totalling 61 birds heading off westwards (although another 14 were still on the move up-Channel!); the sea also produced a steady movement of more than 500 Gannets, 164 Manx Shearwaters and 7 Balearic Shearwaters.

A weather conditions didn't look too bad for immigrant moths but in the event the Obs garden traps couldn't muster more than 55 Diamond-back Moth,16 Silver Y, 4 Rush Veneer, 2 Pearly Underwing and singles of Rusty-dot Pearl, Dioryctria abietella, Dark Sword Grass and Delicate; Brown-line Bright-eye was also new for the year.



    misty dawn - Portland Bill, June 13th 2007 © Martin Cade 

  June 13th

Balearic Shearwaters featured again this morning when 10 flew west past the Bill but the only other interest was provided by 20 Manx Shearwaters and a Sandwich Tern passing the Bill and an unseasonable Grey Wagtail overhead there.

A slight improvement moth-wise saw the capture overnight in the Obs garden traps of 52 Diamond-back Moth, 5 Delicate, 3 Cream-bordered Green Pea, 4 Rusty-dot Pearl, 2 each of Rush Veneer and Silver Y, a single Dioryctria abietella and the first records for the year of Small Yellow Wave and Muslin Footman.

June 12th

The arrival of at least 9 Balearic Shearwaters that spent the first couple of hours of the day feeding amongst a gull flock off the Bill was a welcome event but otherwise Portland remained very much off the rarity radar. The sea also produced 90 Manx Shearwaters and 3 Common Scoter but the best that could be mustered on the land were singles of Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler and Spotted Flycatcher at the Bill.

Painted Lady and Red Admiral butterflies remain conspicuous everywhere with some evidence of the latter at least being on active passage with fair numbers passing straight through both yesterday afternoon and this morning.

Portland also remains off the moth immigration radar with nothing more than 12 Silver Y, 8 Diamond-back Moth, a Dark Sword Grass and a Delicate caught overnight in the Obs garden traps; Lackey was the only year-tick of the night.

June 11th

Another very short list of worthwhile sightings today, all of which were from the Bill: 3 Manx Shearwaters, a Balearic Shearwater and an Arctic Skua passed through on the sea and a Lapwing and a Willow Warbler were on the land.

Eleven Diamond-back Moths and 3 Delicates were the only immigrants attracted to the Obs garden moth-traps overnight.

June 10th

There was a shockingly poor bird list at the Bill today where only five species made it on to the day-sheet at the Obs and not all of those are worth mentioning here: 20 Common Scoter passed through on the sea and singles of Grey Heron and Golden Plover flew overhead on the land. Fortunately there were a few snippets of interest from elsewhere including a Tree Sparrow at Suckthumb Quarry, a Lapwing at Barleycrates Lane and a Green Sandpiper flying north over Easton.

Lots of moths in the Obs garden traps again this morning with immigrants/wanderers that included 16 Diamond-back Moth, 2 Rusty-dot Pearl, 2 Silver Y, 1 Dioryctria abietella, 1 Delicate and 1 Cream-bordered Green Pea together with Dwarf Cream Wave, Small Blood-vein, Magpie, Barred Straw, Clouded Silver and Sycamore all new for the year.

Late news for recent days: another Tree Sparrow passed overhead at the Bill yesterday and a Red-legged Partridge was there last Wednesday (6th).



    Golden Plover - Portland Bill, June 9th 2007 © Paul Gay 

  June 9th

The Greylag Goose did another circuit of the Bill during the morning but otherwise it was another day of relatively routine late arrivals/early departures, with a Grey Heron over Reap Lane and 5 Reed Warblers, 2 Grey Herons, 2 Willow Warblers, 2 Spotted Flycatchers, a Golden Plover, a Wheatear, a Whinchat, a Garden Warbler, a Blackcap and a Chiffchaff at the Bill.

It was another busy night in the Obs garden moth-traps but there wasn't quite as much quality as yesterday with immigrants/wanderers that included 35 Diamond-back Moth, 3 Rusty-dot Pearl, 2 Delicate, 1 Silver Y and 1 Small China-mark along with Common Emerald, Least Carpet, Short-cloaked Moth and Kent Black Arches new for the year.




    Tree Sparrow (this is such a poor picture that you'll have to take our word for the fact that it was one although you can just about make out a cheek spot and it's hard to imagine any of the lazy, sedentary, ground-dwelling Portland House Sparrows ever flying as high as this) and Dioryctria abietella - Portland Bill, June 8th 2007 © Martin Cade 

  June 8th

An early morning Golden Oriole at Reap Lane was certainly the bird of the day although 2 more Tree Sparrows roaming around the Bill area provided further interest. The commoner migrant tally included 6 Spotted Flycatchers and singles of Whimbrel, Yellow Wagtail, Sedge Warbler, a Garden Warbler, Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler at the Bill, a Black Redstart at Southwell and a Reed Warbler at Perryfields.

Interest picked up noticeably in the Obs garden moth-traps which attracted 13 Diamond-back Moths, 6 Delicates, 4 Dioryctria abietella, 2 Rusty-dot Pearl, 2 Silver Y, a Lozotaeniodes formosanus and a Marbled White Spot by way of immigrants/wanderers.

June 7th

With the exception of a grey goose sp - probably yesterday's Greylag reappearing - flying over Southwell during the morning today provided just a routine selection of late common migrants. The Bill area produced 6 Spotted Flycatchers, 4 Reed Warblers, 3 Willow Warblers, a Whinchat, a Sedge Warbler, a Blackcap and a Chiffchaff and there was a Spotted Flycatcher and a Willow Warbler at Avalanche Road. 

Interest in the Obs garden moth-traps this morning included 5 Delicates and a Diamond-back Moth by way of immigrants and year-ticks in the form of Riband Wave, Light Arches, Brown Rustic and Small Fan-foot.






    Greylag Goose - Portland Bill, June 6th 2007 © Martin Cade

  June 6th

There was a minor surprise early in the morning when a Greylag Goose appeared in the fields beside the East Cliffs at the Bill but the bird of the day - a Common Rosefinch in the Obs garden - proved to much more difficult to catch up with as it was only heard to utter a single burst of song and wasn't seen at all! The only other reports were of a singing Black Redstart at Blacknor and 6 Spotted Flycatchers, 2 Grey Herons, a Hobby, a Yellow Wagtail and a Willow Warbler at the Bill.

In cool and breezy conditions overnight the Obs garden moth-traps were fairly quiet: 5 Diamond-back Moths, 3 Silver Ys, a Rusty-dot Pearl and a Delicate were the only immigrants caught and Yellow-barred Brindle and Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing were the only year-ticks.





    today's Roe Deer and Painted Lady and yesterday's Turtle Dove - Southwell and Portland Bill, June 5th 2007 © Pete Saunders (Roe Deer and Turtle Dove) and Martin Cade (Painted Lady)

  June 5th

The only unexpected new arrivals today were a singing Firecrest in Top Fields and a singing Black Redstart at Southwell. Another couple of Hobbys passed through (at the Bill and Barleycrates Lane), single Blackcaps were at Easton and Reap Lane and odds and ends grounded at the Bill included singles of Wheatear, Reed Warbler, Willow Warbler and Spotted Flycatcher. Sea passage at the Bill consisted of little more than a steady procession of Manx Shearwaters heading west and a lone Mediterranean Gull heading east.

At least 2 Roe Deer have been visiting a garden in Southwell in recent days (where they have been devastating the crop of home-grown vegetables!).

A resurgence in immigrant butterflies included lots of Red Admirals flying north at the Bill where more than a dozen Painted Ladys were also newly arrived.

In quite humid conditions the moth-traps were busy overnight with the best of the various catches being a Green Oak Tortrix at Fortuneswell and 7 Diamond-back Moths, 4 Delicates, 2 each of Rusty-dot Pearl and Pearly Underwing and the first Crescent Dart of the year at the Obs.

Late news for yesterday: a Turtle Dove was at Southwell in the evening.



    Osprey - Portland Bill, June 4th 2007 © Martin Cade 

  June 4th

Late afternoon update.

An Osprey that arrived in off the sea at the Bill early in the afternoon was an unexpected newcomer for this time of year but otherwise most of the movement was of late commoner migrants passing straight through into a brisk northerly headwind early in the morning; the list for the Bill area included 15 Spotted Flycatchers, 2 Yellow Wagtails, 2 Wheatears, a Grey Heron, a Hobby and a Reed Warbler, whilst elsewhere there were 2 Spotted Flycatchers at Avalanche Road and a Hobby passed over at Suckthumb Quarry.

The only immigrants in the Obs garden moth-traps this morning were singles of Delicate and Silver Y; Figure of 80, Campion and Bordered Sallow were also year-ticks there.

June 3rd

A good deal more overcast and humid today but no more productive from the bird point of view. The sea produced a little more interest than the land with 38 Common Scoter, 15 Sanderling, 12 Sandwich Terns, 9 Common Terns, at least 4 Storm Petrels and singles of Great Crested Grebe, Whimbrel, Arctic Skua and Mediterranean Gull off Chesil and 21 Common Scoter, 7 Sandwich Terns, 6 Manx Shearwaters and 5 Black-headed Gulls past the Bill. The Bill area accounted for what few late migrants there were on the land: 5 Spotted Flycatchers, 2 Yellow Wagtails, 2 Wheatears and singles of Reed Warbler and Blackcap.

The overnight weather conditions didn't look too bad for immigrant moths but in the event precious little seemed to have arrived with the Obs garden traps producing just 3 Delicates, 2 each of Rusty-dot Pearl and Silver Y and singles of Diamond-back Moth and Pearly Underwing.

June 2nd

Some limited interest today in the form of a couple of Tree Sparrows at Culverwell and several sightings of at least 2 Storm Petrels off Chesil but otherwise it was extremely quite in calm, warm and sunny conditions. The few late migrants on the land included 5 Wheatears, 3 Sand Martins, 3 Spotted Flycatchers, 2 Yellow Wagtails and 2 Reed Warblers at the Bill, whilst odds and ends still on the move on the sea included 23 Common Scoter, 20 Arctic Terns, 17 Common Terns, 2 Arctic Skuas and singles of Sanderling and Whimbrel off Chesil and 38 Common Scoter, 7 Manx Shearwaters, 7 commic Terns and 3 Sandwich Terns off the Bill.

The moth-traps were still pretty quiet: the only year-ticks were Peach Blossom at Fortuneswell and Smoky Wainscot at the Bill and the only immigrants were singles of Diamond-back Moth, Delicate and Silver Y at the Bill.



    Honey Buzzard - Southwell, June 1st 2007 © Pete Saunders 

  June 1st

There were two nice highlights during the morning in the form of a Tree Sparrow in Top Fields at the Bill and a Honey Buzzard that arrived in off the sea over Blacknor before flying south as far as Southwell. Otherwise June begun much as May had ended with a fair list of more routine sightings on land and sea. Sixty Manx Shearwaters, 50 Common Scoter, 4 Balearic Shearwaters, 2 Arctic Skuas and a Storm Petrel passed through off the Bill, 8 Reed Warblers, 5 Spotted Flycatchers, 2 Chiffchaffs, a Wheatear, a Black Redstart, a Garden Warbler and a Willow Warbler were scattered in the Bill area and another Wheatear was at Barleycrates Lane.

Despite quite decent-looking conditions overnight there were few moths of note in the Obs garden traps: Drinker and Common Footman were on the wing for the first time this year and 3 Diamond-back Moths and 2 Silver Y provided the only immigrant interest.