August 2007

August 31st

With a subtle shift in wind direction from north-east to north-west as the week has gone on so passage has all but ground to a halt and there was certainly precious little to entertain visitors today. Odds and ends at the Bill - where Yellow Wagtail was the only one of the commoner migrants to return a double figure total - included 3 Tree Pipits, 2 each of Whinchat, Garden Warbler and Lesser Whitethroat and singles of Yellow-legged Gull, White Wagtail, Reed Warbler and Spotted Flycatcher; seawatching there produced 3 Balearic Shearwaters, 2 Great Skuas and an Arctic Skua.

Overnight moth-trapping at the Obs was barely worth reporting on: 11 Rusty-dot Pearl, 4 Silver Y and a Diamond-back Moth were the only immigrants caught.

August 30th

Just slim pickings today after another very clear night. The Bill's tally of common migrants certainly wasn't interesting enough to report in full but did include 60 Yellow Wagtails, 10 Tree Pipits, 3 Lesser Whitethroats, 2 Grey Wagtails, 2 White Wagtails and singles of Hobby, Redshank, Common Sandpiper, Yellow-legged Gull, Redstart, Grasshopper Warbler, Pied Flycatcher and Spotted Flycatcher. With what breeze there was still firmly offshore there wasn't much attention paid to the sea but 2 Balearic Shearwaters did pass through off the Bill.

Overnight mothing remained uneventful: the only immigrants trapped at the Obs were 9 Rusty-dot Pearl, 7 Silver Y, 2 Diamond-back Moths and a Convolvulus Hawk-moth.

August 29th

With the exception of an Ortolan Bunting that put in a brief appearance at Barleycrates Lane early in the afternoon there wasn't too much to report today. Migrants on the land at the Bill included 50 Yellow Wagtails, 30 Tree Pipits, 25 Wheatears, 11 Whinchats, 5 Grey Wagtails, 3 Ringed Plovers, 3 Garden Warblers, 2 Grey Herons, 2 Lesser Whitethroats and singles of Yellow-legged Gull, Sedge Warbler, Grasshopper Warbler and Spotted Flycatcher; a lone Mediterranean Gull was the only sighting of note on the sea at the Bill.

Overnight mothing at the Obs was as uneventful as the birding with 16 Rusty-dot Pearl, 6 Silver Y and a Dark Spectacle the only immigrants recorded.








   Garden Warbler - Portland Bill, August 2007 © Martin Cade 

...continuing our ageing theme from a couple of days ago with a look at Garden Warbler, a species in which the ages classes are quite tricky to tell apart. The majority of adults don't moult until they reach winter quarters but their plumage never seems to be as worn in autumn as might be expected. First years possess uniformly fresh plumage which is a little glossier, warmer and browner than the worn, colder and greyer plumage of adults; in particular the wing and tail feathers of adults are slightly ragged and faded, although even in the hand this often subtle difference can be easily missed. Note that the tips of the adult tail feathers, although worn, are clearly more rounded than the pointed first year feathers.

  August 28th

With us now in the full moon period there wasn't much anticipation of a good fall of migrants and even a reasonable cloud cover at dawn didn't make much difference today. Among the light scatter of birds at the Bill there were 100 Yellow Wagtails, 10 Whinchats, 7 Tree Pipits, 4 Sedge Warblers, 3 Snipe, 3 Grey Wagtails, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 2 Spotted Flycatchers, a Grey Heron, a Greenshank, a Common Sandpiper and a Grasshopper Warbler. Waders are often well represented in the full moon period and Ferrybridge continued to provide plenty of variety including 6 Sanderling and singles of Grey Plover, Knot, Curlew Sandpiper and Mediterranean Gull.

Overnight mothing wasn't too interesting: 5 Rusty-dot Pearl, 3 Diamond-back Moth, 3 Silver Y, a Pearly Underwing and a Dark Spectacle were caught at the Obs and a Southern Wainscot was the best at Southwell.





   Osprey, Black-tailed Godwit and Redshanks (the latter with a Knot and 4 Dunlin) - Portland Bill and Ferrybridge, 27th August 2007 © Martin Cade (Osprey) and Pete Saunders (the waders)

  August 27th

It was a case of quality rather than quantity today as common migrants were distinctly thinner on the ground but four Ortolan Buntings and an Osprey put in an appearance. A lone and for the most part rather elusive Ortolan roamed around the Helen's Fields area of Top Fields at the Bill and a party of three flew north over Ferrybridge (click here for a brief recording of the Helen's Fields bird calling in flight); the Osprey flew south over Southwell and the Bill during the afternoon. Among the migrants at the Bill there were 20 Whinchats, 10 Tree Pipits, 6 Spotted Flycatchers, 4 Lesser Whitethroats, 2 Grey Herons and a Grasshopper Warbler together with a light sprinkle of commoner species. Ferrybridge provided plenty of interest including 29 Redshank, 3 Grey Plover, 2 Knot and singles of Curlew Sandpiper, Little Stint, Black-tailed Godwit and Mediterranean Gull, whilst seawatching at the Bill produced 29 Redshank (presumably the Ferrybridge flock), 3 Balearic Shearwaters and a Great Skua.









   Bedstraw Hawk-moth and Redstarts - Portland Bill, 26th August 2007 © Martin Cade 

...common migrants have been plentiful in recent days and there have been good opportunities to compare adult and first year plumages of several species. In male Redstart the age classes are relatively easy to separate: the adults always look 'smarter' and have, for example, blue edged greater coverts (buff edged in first years) and broad, rounded tail feathers (narrower and pointed in first years). In the experience of this writer the age classes in females are much trickier to separate, even in the hand.

  August 26th

Plenty more of the same today although not quite the large fall that looked on the cards after a veil of cloud had appeared overhead before dawn. Willow Warblers dominated at the Bill (150 logged) but among the wide selection of other species there there were, for example, 25 Tree Pipits, 16 Whinchats, 7 Pied Flycatchers, 6 Redstarts, 2 Grasshopper Warblers and the first Goldcrest and Siskin of the autumn. Most other sites visited provided a similar array of migrants and an escaped Patagonian Conure provided additional interest at Weston.

The pick of the night's captures in the Obs garden moth-traps was the second Bedstraw Hawk-moth of the autumn.

Fuller details of the rest of the sightings to follow later.




   Scar Bank Gem and Common Gull - Portland Bill, 25th August 2007 © Martin Cade 

...the Common Gull was one of the more peculiar sightings of the day; it spent much of the morning (and indeed had been present in the same spot yesterday) wandering around amongst the parked cars and holidaymakers in the field beside the Obs Quarry. Common Gulls are very infrequent visitors to the island between May and October and are hardly ever seen settled on the land at the Bill at any time.

  August 25th

For once the highlight of the day came from the moth-traps: the second Portland specimen (ca15th British record) of Scar Bank Gem was caught overnight at the Obs.

On the bird front the overall tally of species was rather similar to the last few days although numbers were quite a bit lower with less having dropped in after a virtually cloudless night. Nothing of great note was found in the Bill area where there were, for example, 75 Yellow Wagtails, 30 Whinchats, 30 Whitethroats, 12 Pied Flycatchers, 7 White Wagtails, 7 Lesser Whitethroats, a Turtle Dove, a Grasshopper Warbler and a Dartford Warbler amongst plenty of commoner migrants. Two Great Skuas passed through on the sea at the Bill and 2 Grey Plover, a Merlin, a Little Stint and a Mediterranean Gull were the pick of the bunch at Ferrybridge.



   Nightingale - Portland Bill, 24th August 2007 © Martin Cade 

  August 24th

Another nice arrival of common migrants today in increasingly cloudy and muggy conditions. The centre and south of the island was well covered and returned totals that included 150 Wheatears, 100 Yellow Wagtails, 100 Willow Warblers, 55 Tree Pipits, 50 Whitethroats, 50 Spotted Flycatchers, 35 Whinchats, 20 Sedge Warblers, 20 Garden Warblers, 15 Pied Flycatchers, 8 Lesser Whitethroats, 20 Redstarts, 2 Greenshank, 2 Grasshopper Warblers, 2 Reed Warblers, a Purple Sandpiper, a Merlin and a Nightingale. Ferrybridge produced 2 Grey Plover, a Curlew Sandpiper and singles of Mediterranean Gull and Common Gull, whilst odds and ends passing on the sea included a couple of Great Skuas and a Manx Shearwater off the Bill.

A Great Dart was a notable highlight in the Obs garden moth-traps; 6 Rusty-dot Pearl, 5 Silver Y, a Rush Veneer and a White-speck were the only other immigrants recorded.



   Curlew Sandpiper, Grey Plovers and Garden Warbler - Ferrybridge and Portland Bill, 23rd August 2007 © Pete Saunders (waders) and Joe Cockram (Garden Warbler)

  August 23rd

The stiff north-easterly wind of recent days remained a feature and there was plenty more visible passage and a fair scatter of grounded migrants; at the Obs the total of 40 new birds trapped and ringed by the time of writing these notes represented the highest day total of new arrivals so far this autumn (...and provided a good indication of just how poor the early autumn has been for grounded warblers). Given the conditions it wasn't too much of a surprise that a Wryneck showed up in Top Fields at the Bill; much more unexpected at this time of year was a Serin seen briefly near the Privet Hedge at the Bill. Among the common migrants there was a strong passage of hirundines overhead and the Bill area produced counts of other species that included 200 Wheatears, 50 Tree Pipits, 50 Willow Warblers, 25 Whitethroats, 20 Yellow Wagtails, 20 Spotted Flycatchers, 10 Whinchats, 7 Sedge Warblers, 7 Garden Warblers, 5 Lesser Whitethroats, 4 Redstarts, 2 Greenshank, 2 Whimbrel, a Lapwing, a Snipe and a Purple Sandpiper; a Hobby at the Verne was the pick of the sightings elsewhere. The only reports from the sea were of an Arctic Tern and an Arctic Skua passing the Bill, whilst waders at Ferrybridge included 2 Grey Plover and the first Curlew Sandpiper of the autumn.

The brisk wind again spoilt overnight moth-trapping although immigrant totals at the Obs did creep up a little: 15 Rusty-dot Pearl, 5 Rush Veneer, 5 Silver Y and a Convolvulus Hawk-moth.

August 22nd

Lots more movement today, notably involving Tree Pipits and raptors. The latter included a Honey Buzzard flying north over the centre and north of the island during the afternoon, a Marsh Harrier over Tout Quarry in the morning and the first Merlin of the autumn at the Bill. Around 100 Tree Pipits passed over at the Bill where 10 Yellow Wagtails and 10 Ravens also passed through; on the ground there were 100 Wheatears, 50 Willow Warblers, 11 Spotted Flycatchers, 6 Common Sandpipers, 4 Sedge Warblers, 3 Garden Warblers, 2 Grasshopper Warblers, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, a Redshank and a Yellow-legged Gull at the Bill, 10 Spotted and 4 Pied Flycatchers around the centre of the island and 2 Avocets and a Greenshank at Ferrybridge. Seawatching at the Bill produced 4 Great Skuas, 3 Arctic Skuas and 2 Balearic Shearwaters, whilst a Black Tern was in Portland Harbour.

Despite a brisk wind overnight the Obs garden moth-traps were quite busy although the only immigrants trapped were 6 Silver Y, a Rusty-dot Pearl and a Convolvulus Hawk-moth.




   Greenshank and Marsh Harrier - Ferrybridge and Southwell, 21st August 2007 © Pete Saunders

  August 21st

Birding was quite hard work for much of the day in an unexpectedly strong north-east wind. An overflying Marsh Harrier at the Bill and Southwell was the best of the oddities although a decent movement of Tree Pipits at the Bill and an obliging Greenshank at Ferrybridge provided further interest. The migrant tally at the Bill included 50 Tree Pipits, 30 Wheatears, 20 Willow Warblers, 3 Dunlin, 3 Whinchats, 3 Sedge Warblers and singles of Little Egret, Ringed Plover, Yellow Wagtail, Grey Wagtail and Grasshopper Warbler, whilst Ferrybridge chipped in with 170 Ringed Plover, 30 Dunlin, 14 Wheatears and 3 Sanderling



   Tree Pipit - Portland Bill, 20th August 2007 © Martin Cade 

  August 20th

With yesterday's stiff wind having dropped right away overnight there was much more to see on the land early in the morning before the arrival of yet more rain spoilt proceedings. The small flurry of new arrivals at the Bill included 70 Willow Warblers, 20 Wheatears, 15 Tree Pipits, 11 Sedge Warblers, 10 Whitethroats, 2 Whinchats, 2 Garden Warblers and singles of Grey Heron, Snipe, Redstart, Grasshopper Warbler, Reed Warbler and Blackcap; elsewhere there was a Yellow-legged Gull at Barleycrates Lane. Some light passage on the sea at the Bill included 22 commic terns, 13 Manx and a Balearic Shearwater, 12 Common Scoter, a Great Skua and a Sandwich Tern passing by.

A lone Rusty-dot Pearl was the only immigrant attracted to the Obs garden moth-traps overnight.

August 19th

Fresh north-westerlies today - one of the local birder's least favourite conditions! On the land passage remained at a virtual standstill with nothing much more than a dozen Wheatears, 4 Willow Warblers, 2 Spotted Flycatchers and singles of Ringed Plover, a Whimbrel, Whinchat and Sedge Warbler at the Bill and 150 Ringed Plovers, 30 Dunlin, 4 Knot and 3 Sanderling at Ferrybridge. The offshore wind did the seawatchers no favours and just 12 commic terns, 8 Manx Shearwaters, 8 Common Scoter and singles of Arctic Skua, Great Skua, Sandwich Tern and Arctic Tern were logged passing through off the Bill.

Overnight mothing was no more productive and 4 Silver Y, a Rush Veneer and a Pearly Underwing were the only immigrants caught in the Obs garden traps.

Late news for yesterday: further late afternoon/evening sightings at the Bill included at least two more Sooty Shearwaters and reports of a Cory's Shearwater (and another probable Cory's) passing through on the sea.

August 18th

Another seawatching day in windy and often quite wet conditions. Birds were hardly streaming by but there was a little more on the move than earlier in the week, with the Bill returning totals that included 29 commic terns, 14 Manx, 6 Balearic and 5 Sooty Shearwaters, 14 Common Scoter, 5 Arctic Skuas, 3 Redshank, 2 Razorbills and a Yellow-legged Gull. Odds and ends on the land included 15 Wheatears, a Tree Pipit and a Whinchat at the Bill.

Singles of Rusty-dot Pearl and Silver Y were the only immigrants caught overnight in the Obs garden moth-traps.



   Knot - Ferrybridge, 17th August 2007 © Pete Saunders 

  August 17th

Rather uneventful on land and sea. The light scatter of common migrants at the Bill included 30 Wheatears, 25 Willow Warblers, 8 Tree Pipits, 6 Redshank, 2 Sedge Warblers, 2 Reed Warblers and a Ringed Plover on or overhead on the land and 4 commic terns and a Manx Shearwater passing through on the sea, whilst at Ferrybridge there were 170 Ringed Plover, 24 Dunlin, 3 Sanderling, a Knot and a Mediterranean Gull.

A lone Rusty-dot Pearl was the only immigrant in the Obs garden moth-traps this morning

August 16th

A nicer day today, albeit still on the windy side, saw more reports from the land. The pick of the bunch were a couple of Yellow-legged Gulls at the Bill and a fly-over Wood Sandpiper at Weston whilst common migrant totals at the Bill included 60 Wheatears, 35 Willow Warblers, 11 Tree Pipits, 2 Ringed Plover, 2 Sedge Warblers and singles of Reed Warbler and Lesser Whitethroat. The sea was actually a little more productive in a brisk north-westerly today than it had been in strong south-westerlies during the last couple of days, with 19 Manx Shearwaters, 18 commic terns, 4 Balearic Shearwaters, 4 Common Scoter, 2 Great Skuas, 2 Sandwich Terns, an Arctic Tern and a tardy auk sp passing through off the Bill.

Overnight moth-trapping produced just a handful of immigrants/wanderers: 4 Silver Y, 2 Rusty-dot Pearl, a Rush Veneer and a Small Rufous; Garden Dart was new for the year.




   Kittiwake and Yellow-legged Gull - Ferrybridge and Portland Bill, 15th August 2007 © Pete Saunders (Kittiwake) and Martin Cade (Yellow-legged Gull)

  August 15th

Autumn seawatching at the Bill in rough weather is invariably a dead loss and today proved to be no exception: no Little Shearwaters, no large shearwaters, no Audouin's fact not a lot of anything. The few things that were logged passing through included 7 Ringed Plover, 3 Manx Shearwaters, 3 Great Skuas, 2 Arctic Skuas, 2 Sandwich Terns, a Balearic Shearwater, a Sooty Shearwater, a Whimbrel and a Common Tern; the only reports from the land were of a Yellow-legged Gull and several Wheatears and Willow Warblers. Elsewhere there were 4 Common Terns, 3 Sanderling, 2 Bar-tailed Godwits, 2 Kittiwakes, 2 Arctic Terns and a Little Tern at Ferrybridge.

August 14th

Seawatching was the order of the day after a southerly gale and heavy rain had swept in overnight. The main feature at the Bill was an extremely heavy passage of Gannets with sample counts indicated that in excess of 5000 flew east between dawn and mid-afternoon (the previous highest day total there was 2500 on 5th October 1988); unfortunately there was remarkably little else on the move and the only other worthwhile sightings were of 16 Balearic Shearwaters, 2 each of Sanderling, Knot and Arctic Skua and singles of Dunlin, Whimbrel, Great Skua and Common Tern. The only other reports were of single Common Sandpipers at the Bill and Ferrybridge, a Yellow-legged Gull settled at the Bill and 2 Sanderling at Ferrybridge.






   Just a few of the weekend's bumper count of Autumn Lady's Tresses and some of the Fastnet Race competitors - Portland Bill, 11th and 13th August 2007 © Richard Newton (flowers) and Martin Cade (yachts)

....the Fastnet Race fleet passed the Bill late today; most steered well clear of the tide race a mile offshore but a few came so close along the East Cliffs that they were disappearing from view behind the trees at the bottom of the Obs garden before they jostled for position as they rounded the Bill.

  August 13th

Another very limited list of sightings to report today, with all the news coming from the Bill where there were 20 Willow Warblers, 3 Wheatears, 2 Sedge Warblers, a Ringed Plover and a Reed Warbler on the land, 3 Balearic Shearwaters lingering offshore and 2 Manx Shearwaters, a Sooty Shearwater, a Great Skua and a Sandwich Tern passing through on the sea.

A particularly miserable overnight haul of moths in the Obs garden traps included by way of immigrants just 2 each of Diamond-back Moth and Rush Veneer and singles of Rusty-dot Pearl and Silver Y.





   Little Stints, Gold Spot and Beautiful Gothic - Ferrybridge and Portland Bill, 12th August 2007 © Pete Saunders (stints) and Martin Cade (moths)

  August 12th

A marked change in the weather which saw cloud cover and even the odd light shower arrive around dawn - decent fall conditions you'd have thought - did nothing to improve the general migrant situation and it was quieter than for some while. Three Little Stints were new arrivals at Ferrybridge but the land was remarkable quiet at the Bill where 12 Wheatears constituted the only even faintly noteworthy count of commoner migrants. Seawatching at the Bill produced 623 Gannets, 2 Common Scoter, a Balearic Shearwater, a Garganey and a Great Skua.

The pick of a dire night's mothing at the Obs were 6 Silver Y, a Rusty-dot Pearl and a Gold Spot along with the first records for the year of Flounced Rustic and Beautiful Gothic.

Late news for yesterday: a total of 469 spikes of Autumn Lady's Tresses were counted along the East Cliffs at the Bill.

August 11th

Another fine almost cloudless day - once again not the sort of conditions to expect much of a fall of migrants. At the Bill most of the expected commoner species were represented in small numbers with the pick of the better quality being 3 Yellow-legged Gulls, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, a Grasshopper Warbler and fly-over singles of Wood Sandpiper and Greenshank; the sea chipped in with 5 Balearic and 2 Manx Shearwaters, a Great Skua and a Black Tern.

Two Evergestis extimalis were the best of the immigrants caught overnight in the Obs garden moth-traps; 5 Rusty-dot Pearl, 4 Silver Y, 2 Rush Veneer and an Oak Nycteoline were the only other captures worth mentioning.




   A Wood Warbler comes under close scrutiny - Portland Bill, 10th August 2007 © Martin Cade

  August 10th

Hirundines aside the only one of the commoner migrants to manage a double-figure total at the Bill was Willow Warbler of which there were around 40; a lone Wood Warbler trapped at the Obs provided some quality but by and large there was little reward for the fieldworkers this morning. Odds and ends passing by on the sea at the Bill included 17 commic terns and 10 Common Scoter

Despite very clear night skies the Obs garden moth-traps have been quite busy this week although immigrants and wanderers remain pretty thin on the ground; this morning's tally included 12 Silver Y, 3 Rusty-dot Pearl, 2 Rush Veneer, a Dark Sword Grass, a Slender Brindle, the second Porter's Rustic of the week and a Red Admiral butterfly.

August 9th

Once again not as much about as might be hoped for in mid-August but the continuing very fair weather is hardly suitable for dropping migrants in any quantity. Wheatears and Willow Warblers (50ish of both) accounted for the bulk of the migrants at the Bill where the single figure totals of other species included just a lingering Yellow-legged Gull and a fly-over Great Spotted Woodpecker by way of any quality. The sea was just as dull with a lone Manx Shearwater providing the most minor of highlights.

The immigrant tally in the Obs garden moth-traps included 11 Silver Y, 3 Diamond-back Moth, 2 Rush Veneer, 2 Dark Sword Grass, a Rusty-dot Pearl and 2 Red Admiral butterflies; Canary-shouldered Thorn and an early Lunar Underwing were year-ticks.

August 8th

Another fair selection of migrants today with the Bill area producing totals of 60 each of Wheatear and Willow Warbler, 10 Whitethroats, 6 Sedge Warblers, 5 Garden Warblers, 3 each of Grey Heron and Tree Pipit, 2 Reed Warblers and singles of Whimbrel, Kingfisher, Whinchat, Dartford Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher and Pied Flycatcher along with a steady trickle of Swifts and hirundines overhead. In a stiff offshore breeze not much attention was paid to the sea and the only sightings of note at the Bill were of 3 Manx Shearwaters, a Ringed Plover and a Mediterranean Gull passing by. Elsewhere there were 41 Dunlin and 7 Sanderling at Ferrybridge.

The cool northerly hardly helped overnight moth-trapping and the only immigrants/wanderers trapped at the Obs were 12 Silver Y, 2 Rusty-dot Pearl and singles of  Convolvulus Hawk-moth, Dark Sword Grass and Crescent.

Late news for Monday 6th: a presumed Black Stork (a naked eye sighting but well described by the observer) was seen flying north-west over Easton during the morning.



   Porter's Rustic - Portland Bill, 7th August 2007 © Martin Cade

  August 7th

A little more variety to report today but overall it remained relatively quiet. Migrants grounded or passing over at the Bill this morning included 50 Willow Warblers, 15 Wheatears, 14 Tree Pipits, 10 Sedge Warblers, 2 Grey Herons and singles of Yellow Wagtail, Redstart, Whinchat, Grasshopper Warbler, Reed Warbler, Dartford Warbler and Garden Warbler; the sea came up with nothing more than 5 Common Scoter and a single Sanderling.

The Obs garden moth-traps were slightly busier than of late with 2 Convolvulus Hawk-moths and a Porter's Rustic providing some quality amongst the catch; a single Bulrush Wainscot was an unexpected wanderer from elsewhere whilst 11 Silver Y, 6 Rusty-dot Pearl, 2 Dark Sword Grass and a Diamond-back Moth were the more routine immigrants logged.




     Red-breasted Merganser and Dark Spinach - Ferrybridge and Portland Bill, 6th August 2007 © Pete Saunders (Red-breasted Merganser) and Martin Cade (Dark Spinach)

  August 6th

The promised change in the weather didn't amount to much more than a few spots of rain overnight and a slightly fresher feel to an otherwise sunny day and certainly wasn't enough to drop a substantial arrival of migrants. Willow Warblers increased to 50 or more in the Bill area but the only other reports from there were of 12 Wheatears, 5 Sedge Warblers and 2 Garden Warblers on the land, a few departing hirundines overhead and 3 Common Scoter passing on the sea. Elsewhere there was a Grey Heron over Fortuneswell and 94 Ringed Plover, 32 Dunlin, 15 Common Terns, 4 Sanderling and the summering Red-breasted Merganser at Ferrybridge.

The fourth Portland record of Dark Spinach provided the overnight highlight in the Obs garden moth-traps; 9 Silver Y, 5 Rusty-dot Pearl and singles of Diamond-back Moth, Palpita vutrealis and Dark Sword Grass were the only recognised immigrants caught and Saltern Ear was a year-tick.




     A Sand Martin from today and a Large Tortoiseshell from 7th/8th July - Portland Bill and Tout Quarry © Colin McEntee (Sand Martin) and Owen Figgis (Large Tortoiseshell)

....the Large Tortoiseshell was one of the four reported to have been seen on the island in early July. We have recently received further details of this sighting and in fact it refers to just one individual that was seen at Tout Quarry during the weekend of 7th/8th July.

  August 5th

Still very quiet in fine and increasingly warm conditions. The migrant tally at the Bill included 200 Swifts, 17 Wheatears and 10 Willow Warblers along with low single figure totals of a handful of the other expected early August species; seawatching there produced 400 Gannets, 10 Manx Shearwaters, 8 Common Scoter and a single Balearic Shearwater. The only other reports were of 84 Ringed Plovers, 15 Dunlin, 2 Sanderling and a Red-breasted Merganser at Ferrybridge.

Mothing seems to be going from bad to worse: 6 Rusty-dot Pearl and 3 Silver Y were the only immigrants caught overnight in the Obs garden traps; Wormwood was a year-tick.



     yesterday's Great Spotted Woodpecker - Southwell, August 3rd 2007 © Pete Saunders

  August 4th

Weekend visitors had a relatively lean time of it today with little more than routine sightings everywhere. Migrants at the Bill included 30 Willow Warblers, 3 Wheatears, 2 Garden Warblers, a Redstart and a Whinchat on the land, a trickle of Swifts and hirundines overhead and 10 Common Scoter, 5 Balearic Shearwaters, 5 Great Skuas and an Arctic Skua on the sea. Pick of the sightings elsewhere included 113 Ringed Plovers, 27 Dunlin, a Red-breasted Merganser and a Sanderling at Farrybridge, a Yellow-legged Gull and a Whinchat at Barleycrates Lane and the Great Spotted Woodpecker again at Southwell. 

Another Convolvulus Hawk-moth was the pick of the overnight captures in the Obs garden moth-traps that otherwise didn't come with more than 9 Silver Y, 4 Rusty-dot Pearl and a Diamond-back Moth by way of immigrants. 



     Swift - Portland Bill, August 3rd 2007 © Martin Cade

  August 3rd

Just steady and relatively uneventful return passage to report today with the crystal-clear night sky ensuring that most migrants carried on overhead without stopping. The Bill area produced totals that included 200 Swifts, 100 Swallows, 100 Sand Martins, 25 Willow Warblers, 15 Wheatears, 4 Whimbrel, 4 Whinchats, 2 Sedge Warblers and singles of Ringed Plover, Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Yellow-legged Gull and Yellow Wagtail; 12 commic terns, 4 Common Scoter and 2 Balearic Shearwaters also passed by on the sea. The only report from elsewhere was of a Great Spotted Woodpecker at Southwell.

It was very quiet overnight in the Obs garden moth-traps, with 12 Silver Y, 6 Rusty-dot Pearl and 3 Dark Sword Grass the only immigrants recorded. 






   Kentish Plovers and Convolvulus Hawk-moth - Ferrybridge and Portland Bill, August 2nd 2007 © Pete Saunders (top two Kentish Plover) and Martin Cade (bottom Kentish Plover and Convolvulus Hawk)

  August 2nd

The arrival of a party of 4 Kentish Plovers at Ferrybridge provided a real surprise and there was also quite a long list of other sightings albeit not of anything in any great quantity. 

The Bill area produced 25 Willow Warblers, 15 Wheatears, 6 Tree Pipits, 2 Whinchats, 2 Sedge Warblers, a Mallard, a Yellow-legged Gull, a Yellow Wagtail, a Nightingale and a Dartford Warbler on the land and 6 Common Scoter and 4 Balearic Shearwaters on the sea, whilst elsewhere there were 2 more Sedge Warblers at Reap Lane and 50 Ringed Plovers, 50 Dunlin, 5 Teal, 2 Yellow-legged Gulls and singles of Redshank, Greenshank and Whimbrel at Ferrybridge.

The Obs garden moth-traps keep turning up the odd scaps of quality - today it was a single Convolvulus Hawk-moth - without there being any sign of a more general upturn in immigration; the pick of the rest of the morning's catch were 7 Silver Y, 3 Rusty-dot Pearl, a Diamond-back Moth and a Dark Sword Grass; Chocolate-tip and Mouse Moth were both year-ticks. 



   Jersey Tiger - Portland Bill, August 1st 2007 © Martin Cade

  August 1st

Something of a repeat of yesterday - fine weather and nothing more than a thin sprinkle of migrants. The Bill area produced totals of 20 Willow Warblers, 12 Wheatears, a Ringed Plover, a Dunlin, a Common Sandpiper and a Sedge Warbler on the ground, small numbers of hirundines overhead and 23 Common Scoter and single Manx and Balearic Shearwaters overhead. Equally small numbers of common migrants elsewhere included 16 Dunlin at Farrybridge and a Sedge Warbler at Reap Lane.

The only immigrants in the Obs garden moth-traps this morning were 9 Silver Y, 6 Rusty-dot Pearl, 2 Dark Sword Grass and a Pearly Underwing; Barred Rivulet was a year-tick.

Late news for yesterday: a Common Scoter was at Ferrybridge.