August 2011




 Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler - Portland Bill, 31st August 2011 © Martin Cade

  31st August

Heavily overcast skies for a good part of the day but the arrival of a fresh easterly saw to it that there was a bit more in the way of variety and numbers. The feature of the morning and middle of the day was again the prodigious numbers of Manx Shearwaters off the Bill, where a probably conservative estimate of 10000 or so were logged before all eventually headed away west into Lyme Bay; odds and ends of further interest on the sea there included 29 Common Scoter, 5 Teal, 3 Balearic Shearwaters, 2 Sooty Shearwaters, singles of Great Skua and Arctic Skua, and small numbers of commic terns passing through/lingering. On the land, the Wryneck was still in residence in the Obs Quarry, but in terms of commoner migrants only phylloscs featured in any quantity, with 100 Willow Warblers and 15 Chiffchaffs new in at the Bill; the tally of slightly scarcer migrants there included 30 Yellow Wagtails, 4 Tree Pipits, 3 Snipe, 3 Redstarts, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 2 Spotted Flycatchers, a White Wagtail and a Whinchat, whilst elsewhere a Curlew Sandpiper was a new arrival at Ferrybridge.

Immigrants in the Obs garden moth-traps: 18 Rusty-dot Pearl, 5 Rush Veneer and 3 Silver Y.




 Melodious Warbler - Portland Bill, 30th August 2011 © Martin Cade

  30th August

Pretty deadly for common migrants on a lovely still, mainly overcast day but the Wryneck remained in the Obs Quarry, where it was joined by a new Melodious Warbler (for long periods they were only two migrants in the quarry!). In terms of spectacle, the highlight of the day was undoubtedly extraordinary - and certainly unprecedented at this time of year - numbers of Manx Shearwaters off the Bill, where something of the order of 10000 birds were lingering distantly/passing through during the course of the morning; at least 7 Balearic Shearwaters and 2 Great Skuas also passed by there. The common migrant tally at the Bill was sufficiently uninspiring as to not be worth enumerating in full; the only slightly out of the ordinary sighting was of a lone Knot on the rocks at the Bill tip.

Immigrants in the Obs garden moth-traps this morning: 6 Rusty-dot Pearl and 1 Rush Veneer.




   Wryneck and Hummingbird Hawk-moth - Portland Bill, 29th August 2011 © Martin Cade

...the Wryneck is the Obs Quarry individual which, since it's ringed, is assumed to be the last week's bird surfacing again. 

  29th August

Not much change in the weather or the birding save for the appearance of single Wrynecks at the Obs Quarry and Culverwell. Aside from quantities of passing hirundines (with Sand Martins seemingly outnumbering the others), Yellow Wagtail, Wheatear, Willow Warbler and Tree Pipit were the only migrants in any sort of numbers at the Bill, where further minor interest was provided by 3 each of Ringed Plover, Whinchat, Redstart and Lesser Whitethroat, and singles of Swift, Turtle Dove, Grey Wagtail and Spotted Flycatcher.

Immigrants in the Obs garden moth-traps this morning: 2 Rush Veneer, 2 Silver Y and singles of Rusty-dot Pearl, Dark Sword Grass and Pearly Underwing.




   Little Stint and Canada Goose - Ferrybridge and Portland Bill, 28th August 2011 © Pete Saunders (Little Stint) and Martin Cade (Canada Goose)

...the Canada Goose has actually been wandering around the Bill tip for several days but we haven't bothered to mention it since it's bearing some sort of avicultural ring: 


...which reminded us that we also didn't mention a Goldfinch that was mist-netted at the Obs a few days ago and was also found to be bearing an avicultural ring (although it showed no other signs of having recently been in captivity):


 Another Convolvulus Hawk-moth was the pick of the overnight moth catch:


And on the subject of moths, regular visitors to the site will remember the Bedstraw Hawk-moths we caught back in late July. These laid a few eggs which hatched on 1st/2nd August and the resultant caterpillars are presently doing very well:


additional photos © Martin Cade

  28th August

Fair weather and north-westerlies again today. Yellow Wagtails and Wheatears were the only common migrants in any quantity, with totals of 50 and 100 respectively at the Bill; other routine migrants were sufficiently few and far between as to not really be worth mentioning in full, whilst the only scarcer migrant making the list was a Little Stint at Ferrybridge. Seawatch reports included singles of Sooty Shearwater, Great Skua and  Arctic Skua through off the Bill.

A Clouded Yellow at the Bill was the first reported for some while.

Immigrants in the Obs garden moth-traps this morning: 1 Rush Veneer, 1 Convolvulus Hawk-moth and 1 Dark Sword Grass

27th August

The wind seems to be settling back into an unhelpful west/north-west direction although Portland does look to be missing an awful lot of showers that are passing further out in the Channel or over the mainland. Shearwaters again figured conspicuously off the Bill, where 1000 Manx and 14 Balearics passed through in quick time during the morning, and no doubt more of both would have been seen with longer coverage. On the land Wheatears were well represented - numbering at least 200 at the Bill - but only Tree Pipit and Yellow Wagtail otherwise chipped in with decent totals (20 and 40 respectively at the Bill); scarcer migrants at the Bill included singles of Turtle Dove, White Wagtail and Pied Flycatcher.

Immigrants in the Obs garden moth-traps this morning: 3 Dark Sword Grass, 3 Silver Y and 1 Rush Veneer.



   Little Owl - Portland Bill, 26th August 2011 © Ken Parker

...this week has seen the appearance of the first Little Owl in the Obs Quarry for many months. The first Convolvulus Hawk-moth of the year was also welcome in the Obs garden moth-traps (© Martin Cade):


  26th August

Another day of variable weather and, for the most part, not too many migrants. The only numbers of birds appeared somewhat unexpectedly on the sea (it was millpond calm at the time) where 211 Manx Shearwaters, 12 Balearic Shearwaters and a Great Skua passed through off the Bill. The land was again fairly quiet, with precious little on the move overhead and hardly more than a light scatter of grounded arrivals; singles of Canada Goose, Little Egret, Greenshank, Whimbrel and Turtle Dove provided the only minor interest at the Bill.

Immigrants in the Obs garden moth-traps this morning: 8 Rusty-dot Pearl, 2 Rush Veneer, a Convolvulus Hawk-moth and a Silver Y.



   Sanderling - Ferrybridge, 25th August 2011 © Pete Saunders

...and just lately there's been a fair bit of waiting around to open the nets on watery dawns at the Obs (if recent years are anything to go by then just as soon as the schools go back an anticyclone will set in and we'll have a September of warmth, clear skies and brisk easterlies!):


  25th August

With the weather remaining all over the place - it rained on and off throughout the hours of darkness before clearing up enough to leave a pretty decent albeit breezy day - migration hasn't settled into any sort of predictable pattern, and today was much quieter than the last three days. Most of the expected routine migrants were logged, but there was remarkably little on the move overhead and numbers/variety on the ground included precious little worth recording in full. Seawatching at the Bill produced 3 Great Skuas and 2 Balearic Shearwaters, whilst 4 Sanderling, 2 Knot and and a Bar-tailed Godwit were amongst the waders at Ferrybridge.

Immigrants in the Obs garden moth-traps this morning: 7 Rush Veneer, 5 Rusty-dot Pearl and 1 Silver Y.

24th August

Very different conditions - clear skies, sunshine and a freshening breeze - produced a very different day's birding. A Wryneck - presumably yesterday's bird - was seen occasionally between the Obs Quarry and the Qinetiq compound at the Bill, whilst 300 Wheatears, 75 Yellow Wagtails, 30 Whitethroats and 20 Tree Pipits were notable common migrant totals from the Bill area.

Immigrants in the Obs garden moth-traps: 10 Rusty-dot Pearl, 4 Silver Y, 3 Rush Veneer, 2 Dark Sword Grass and 1 Diamond-back Moth.




   Pine-tree Lappet and Wryneck - Portland Bill, 23rd August 2011 © Martin Cade

...the Pine-tree Lappet was a nice prize for Bernard Skinner who has been staying at the Bill for a few days.

  23rd August

The promised overnight rainfall hadn't actually amounted to much by dawn, but thereafter drizzle and a fresh north-easterly set in until early afternoon. The birding was good and included pockets of shelter at the Bill and at Southwell that held really decent numbers of common migrants. The rarity highlight was a Wryneck that was trapped and ringed at the Obs during the afternoon; however the strangest feature of the day was the presence of what was quite likely an unprecedented proportion of adults amongst some of the migrant species grounded at the Bill : the writer of these notes has never witnessed anything like it in umpteen autumns of acquiring some rather geeky knowledge of these matters at the Obs - if we get a spare hour in the next few days we might try and cobble together a few thoughts/photos on this event. Amongst the day's totals at the Bill (where the conditions saw to it that coverage wasn't great) 150 Wheatears, 100 Willow Warblers, 100 Spotted Flycatchers, 50 Whitethroats, 15 Tree Pipits, 15 Redstarts and 5 Common Sandpipers were particularly noteworthy; elsewhere, singles of Little Stint and Little Gull were new in at Ferrybridge.

On the moth front a Pine-tree Lappet - a new species for Portland and Dorset - was caught overnight at the Coastguard Cottages, Portland Bill; unfortunately the seemingly promising conditions failed to deliver much else in the way of immigrants, with nothing more than 4 Silver Y, 3 Dark Sword Grass, a Diamond-back Moth and a Rush Veneer caught in the Obs garden traps.

22nd August

A veil of cloud to the south of the island on an otherwise fairly clear dawn with a waft of east still in the wind dropped the best little arrival of migrants for a couple of weeks, with 200 Willow Warblers, 50ish totals of Yellow Wagtail, Wheatear and Whitethroat, 30 Tree Pipits and more modest counts of most of the other expected common species grounded at the Bill; hirundines didn't feature quite as conspicuously as at the weekend but still numbered well into the thousands overhead. As so often happens the day's only goodie - a Melodious Warbler trapped and ringed at the Obs - didn't turn up until well into the afternoon when most of the routine fare had long filtered away; the first Great Spotted Woodpecker for a long time was another noteworthy arrival at the Bill.

Immigrants in the Obs garden moth-traps: 3 Rush Veneer, 2 Silver Y and singles of Rusty-dot Pearl and Dark Sword Grass; additionally, a Latticed Heath was a notable capture in a garden trap at Reap Lane, Southwell.



   Spotted Flycatcher - Southwell, 21st August 2011 © Pete Saunders

  21st August

A very similar selection to yesterday, even down to the two oddities: a Crossbill overhead at the Bill in the morning and an Osprey flying south over Weston during the evening. At the Bill, an unexpectedly prolonged pulse of rain spoilt the morning's birding, but not before it had become apparent that, apart from the addition of singles of Grey Wagtail, Redstart and Lesser Whitethroat, numbers and variety of common migrants were much as logged yesterday. Four Balearic Shearwaters and a Great Skua passed though on the sea there.

Immigrants in the Obs garden moth-traps this morning: 2 Rusty-dot Pearl, a Diamond-back Moth and a Silver Y.

20th August

An Osprey that flew south along West Cliffs before returning back north-east across the island towards the mainland and a Crossbill that pitched in briefly at Culverwell provided the highlights on a morning when passage of routine migrants showed little sign of picking up. At the Bill, Wheatear, Yellow Wagtail and Whitethroat got to around the 30 mark but, apart from 5 Tree Pipits, none of the totals of other expected fare were worth mentioning. A single Great Skua passed by on the sea at the Bill.

Immigrants in the Obs garden moth-traps this morning: 3 Rusty-dot Pearl, 3 Dark Sword Grass, 2 Silver Y, a Diamond-back Moth and a Rush Veneer.

19th August

Much nicer conditions today but still not exactly bursting with birds. Hirundines were gathering in quantity everywhere (although few of them actually seemed to be leaving), whilst on the ground Yellow Wagtail, Tree Pipit, Wheatear, Sedge Warbler, Whitethroat and Willow Warbler all returned totals of between 10 and 30 at the Bill, where 4 Knot, 2 Ringed Plovers, 2 Spotted Flycatchers, a Whimbrel and a Grasshopper Warbler were amongst the less frequent species logged. 

Immigrants in the Obs garden moth-traps this morning: 4 Dark Sword Grass, a Rush Veneer, a Rusty-dot Pearl and a Silver Y.



   Common Scoter - Ferrybridge, 18th August 2011 © Pete Saunders

  18th August

A morning-long deluge (that dumped more than 40mm of rain at the Obs) put paid to any meaningful fieldwork until the afternoon when it soon became apparent that not a great deal in the way of new arrivals had been downed by the grim conditions. Waders, including 100 Ringed Plover, 50 Dunlin, 15 Knot, 3 Sanderling and a Whimbrel, were more numerous than of late at Ferrybridge, where a Common Scoter also passed overhead. Whilst there were clearly a few new arrivals at the Bill, including 3 Spotted Flycatchers in the Obs garden and a steady trickle of Swifts battling overhead into the brisk north-easterly, neither numbers nor variety were much different to the last few days.

No immigrants were noticed in the very soggy contents of the Obs garden moth-traps this morning.



   Yellow Wagtail - Portland Bill, 17th August 2011 © Pete Saunders

  17th August

Despite a north-easterly breeze and the pre-dawn arrival of a veil of heavy cloud after an otherwise clear night migrants remained in surprisingly short supply. The very modest scatter at the Bill included 30 Whitethroats, 20 each of Wheatear and Willow Warbler, 8 Swifts, 6 Yellow Wagtails, 3 each Tree Pipit and Reed Warbler and singles of Merlin (a slightly early first for the autumn) Redstart and Garden Warbler - hardly vintage stuff for the second half of August.

Immigrants in the Obs garden moth-traps: 4 Silver Y and 2 Dark Sword Grass.

16th August

Almost uniformly dire today, with the odd morsel of interest on the sea providing the only glimmer of interest. The land was sufficiently migrant-free that we didn't catch a single summer visitor in the Obs garden mist-nets in a whole morning of trying. Only extreme perseverance produced any reward on the sea, with the morning's totals at the Bill consisting of 30 Common Scoter, 17 Manx Shearwaters, 3 Great Skuas and a single Sooty Shearwater. The only reports from elsewhere were of singles of Whimbrel and Greenshank at Ferrybridge.

Moth immigration also remained at a standstill, with a solitary Silver Y the only overnight capture of any interest in the Obs garden traps.

15th August

After a night of clear skies and a huge moon when migration was no doubt in full flow it soon became apparent that precious little took the trouble to drop in at Portland. Once again, the day's species list was much as would be expected at this time but only Wheatear, Whitethroat and Willow Warbler, that reached totals of 40, 30 and 20 respectively at the Bill, made any sort of contribution to the numbers on the ground; a fly-over Green Sandpiper was easily the best of the less common migrants there. The only seawatch reports of note were of 12 Common Scoter, 3 Balearic Shearwaters and 3 Great Skuas through off the Bill.

The moth-trapping remained as quiet as the birding, with 3 Silver Y and 2 Dark Sword Grass the only immigrants caught overnight in the Obs garden traps.

Also, we've been very interested to see the results from regular mist-netting currently being undertaken at Durlston Head, to our east at the end of the Isle of Purbeck, where, for example, 175 birds were ringed today (as against our paltry 21). Migration at Portland often bears precious little resemblance to what's going on the 'mainland' and we look forward to seeing more findings from this project in the future. For those without access to restricted newsgroups these are best viewed on a new blog from Obs member, Ian Lewis; click here to check out Ian's site which also includes a wealth of other fascinating detail on his birding and other travels.

14th August

Ticking over rather than lively today with the usual suspects represented in small numbers and nothing of any great quality. At the Bill the numbers were made up of 30 Willow Warblers, 25 Wheatears, 10 Tree Pipits and 10 Sedge Warblers, with ones and twos of a range of other expected migrants to provide some variety. A trickle of birds on the move offshore included 2 Balearic Shearwaters and a Great Skua through off the Bill.

Immigrants/wanderers in the Obs garden moth-traps this morning: 2 Dark Sword Grass and singles of Diamond-back Moth, Antler Moth and Silver Y.




Grayling and Beech-green Carpet - Portland Bill and Cheyne Weare, 13th and 12th August 2011 © Martin Cade

...Graylings are quite numerous in places around the island but are only very infrequent visitors to the Obs garden so the overnight capture of this specimen in the Obs garden moth-traps was a bit unexpected. As far as we know, Portland remains the only Dorset site for Beech-green Carpet

  13th August

A night of more wind and rain provided few opportunities for migrants to get moving, with numbers and variety on the ground remaining less than impressive. Four Yellow-legged Gulls did provide some minor interest at the Bill, where there was otherwise just a very light scatter of routine fare. A fair bit of seawatching there produced 59 Common Scoter, 3 Manx Shearwaters, a Balearic Shearwater and an Arctic Skua.

A solitary Silver Y was the only immigrant that made it into the Obs garden moth-traps overnight; a Grayling butterfly was also a rather unexpected capture in the traps. Also on the moth front, Beech-green Carpet is now on the wing, with 25 or more noted during the last hour of daylight yesterday evening in the Cheyne Weare area.

Finally, members and visitors to the Obs might be interest to know that this week we got round to incorporating a host of new books into the Obs library. These books formed the bulk of the book collection of Iain Prophet, who sadly died earlier this year. It was the wish of Graham, Iain's brother, that his books should get to be used by other birders, and to this end he decided to donate them to PBO. Included are the likes of Handbook of the Birds of the World, BWP Concise, very many bound volumes of British Birds and Birding World and a host of regional field guides, all of which we're sure will get plenty of use for many years to come. Many thanks indeed to Graham for this extremely kind donation which will be widely appreciated.



12th August

Still not much sunshine but at least the wind had abated during the hours of darkness. Given the conditions and the presence of a nearly full moon we weren't expecting much in the way of numbers and there certainly wasn't a lot grounded at the Bill where Wheatear, Whitethroat and Willow Warbler were the only migrants that managed double-figure totals; minor interest there was provided by singles of Reed Warbler, Garden Warbler and Spotted Flycatcher. The only seawatch reports were of 7 Common Scoter and 2 Manx Shearwaters through off the Bill.

The immigrant moth tally was as uninspiring as migrant bird numbers, with 2 each of Rusty-dot Pearl, Dark Sword Grass and Silver Y and singles of Diamond-back Moth and Rush Veneer the only overnight captures in the Obs garden traps.



Garden Tigers - Weston, 11th August 2011 © Duncan Walbridge

...the lack of other photographs today reminded us of this image that we'd been meaning to post for several days. Garden Tiger is a resident species - albeit not usually a particularly common one - throughout the island, but since moving to Weston a couple of years ago Duncan Walbridge has tapped into extraordinary numbers of them in his garden: the photo above shows just part of one nights haul in his back garden actinic trap, which frequently attracts between 30 and 40 individuals/night. We also heard this week from Jon Stokes of similar events at Fortuneswell, where a moth-trap he was running whilst on holiday there last week was attracting up to 80 individuals/night. To put these numbers in perspective, we've been paying attention to the traps in the Obs garden and at the Grove this week and we haven't managed more than 4 individuals in a trap at any one time.

  11th August

A very stiff south-westerly and dreary skies saw the recent run of quite decent days for passerine migration draw to a close, with the odd few migrants netted at the Obs all being re-traps that were lingering on there. There was scant reward for plenty of attention given to the sea, with 16 Common Scoter, 15 Manx Shearwaters, 2 Great Skuas, a Balearic Shearwater and a Teal through off the Bill and 4 Great Skuas and 3 Teal through at Chesil Cove.

Given the strength of the wind not much was expected of overnight mothing, so it wasn't a surprise to discover that not a single immigrant showed up in the Obs traps.




   Melodious Warbler - Portland Bill, 10th August 2011 © Martin Cade was rather distant and camera-shy when we popped up to have a look and there were mutterings from one or two observers that the wing-panel looked a bit too conspicuous for a Melodious, but as the enlargement below shows this was just an occasional effect of the coalescing of the otherwise quite thin pale edges to the secondaries of this fresh-plumaged bird of the year; the short primary-projection was exactly as would be expected on a Melodious.


  10th August

Sunny skies still today but a constantly freshening westerly wind made looking for migrants pretty difficult. The highlight of the day was the third Melodious Warbler of the autumn discovered early in the morning in Top Fields at the Bill, but that aside there were still fair numbers of commoner migrants around in the sheltered spots. Day-totals in the Bill area dropped a little from yesterday, with 100 Willow Warblers, 35 Wheatears and 15 Sedge Warblers making the log, although variety was a little better and included singles of Grey Wagtail, Redstart and Pied Flycatcher; elsewhere 3 Black-tailed Godwits were notable new arrivals at Ferrybridge. Two passing Shoveler were a good record off the Bill, from where visitors reported that a number of shearwaters included 'several' Balearics.

Immigrants/wanderers in the Obs garden moth-traps this morning: 10 Dark Sword Grass, 2 Diamond-back Moth, 2 Silver Y, a Brown China-mark and a Rush Veneer.





   Cuckoo - Portland Bill, 9th August 2011 © Martin Cade

  9th August

The wind remained firmly in the west but had abated noticeably overnight and there was another good scatter of routine migrants at the Bill, where a Cuckoo provided the day's highlight. Commoner migrants there included 100 Willow Warblers, 50 Wheatears, 20 Sedge Warblers and ones and twos of Whimbrel, Bar-tailed Godwit, Greenshank, Yellow Wagtail, Tree Pipit, Grasshopper Warbler, Reed Warbler, Blackcap, Garden Warbler and Lesser Whitethroat, whilst Ferrybridge came up with 4 Sanderling and a Knot amongst the commoner waders. The sea remained very quiet, with just 4 Manx Shearwaters and an Arctic Skua through off the Bill.

Overnight moth-trapping at the Obs produced immigrant totals of just 4 Dark Sword Grass and 1 Silver Y.






   Little Egret, Shelduck, Yellow-legged Gull and Pebble Hook-tip - Ferrybridge and Southwell, 8th August 2011 © Pete Saunders (the birds) and Debby Saunders (the moth)

  8th August

Bearing in mind that the weather hadn't changed much and it was still really quite windy there was a surprisingly decent little arrival of new migrants today. Willow Warblers continue to dominate, with 75ish at the Bill, where the morning's list also included a fly-over Crossbill, 50 Wheatears, 10 Sedge Warblers, 5 Garden Warblers, 2 Yellow Wagtails and singles of Greenshank, Common Sandpiper, Grasshopper Warbler and Spotted Flycatcher. The only other reports came from Ferrybridge where there were 40 Ringed Plover, 29 Dunlin, 3 Sanderling and singles of Grey Heron, Shelduck, Redshank, Knot and Yellow-legged Gull.

On another poor night for moths the only immigrant attracted to the Obs garden traps was a single Dark Sword Grass; elsewhere a Pebble Hook-tip (an infrequent wanderer to the island) was caught at Southwell.



A reminder that the next In Focus field event at the Obs takes place between 10am and 4pm tomorrow, Tuesday 9th August. 

  7th August

Whilst there was a noticeable increase in the strength of the wind the threatened showers failed to materialise until very late in the day. Migrant numbers dropped right away, with little more than 25 Willow Warblers, 10 Wheatears and singles of Yellow Wagtail, Tree Pipit and Reed Warbler at the Bill. The sea has been something of the poor relation in recent days, with today's stiff westerly hardly perking things up at all: just 14 Common Scoter, 7 Sandwich Terns, 4 Manx Shearwaters and a Great Skua passed through off the Bill.

The blusterly conditions spoilt overnight mothing, with a lone Dark Sword Grass the only immigrant attracted to the Obs garden traps.

Finally, scroll back down this page for the daily updates for the last week or so that we weren't able to upload whilst away on holiday.





   Willow Warbler, Curlew Sandpiper and Rosy Wave - Southwell, Ferrybridge and Portland Bill, 6th August 2011 © Pete Saunders (Willow Warbler) and Martin Cade (Curlew Sandpiper and Rosy Wave)

  6th August

Nice fall conditions at dawn - mainly overcast skies and odd spits and spots of drizzle - dropped a good arrival of Willow Warblers, although further variety was disappointingly limited. The Willow Warbler tally got up to around 250 at the Bill, where there were otherwise just 15 Wheatears, 2 Dunlin, 2 Grasshopper Warblers and singles of Greenshank, Yellow Wagtail and Whinchat. Elsewhere, a Curlew Sandpiper was a new arrival at Ferrybridge.

The pick of the overnight moth catch at the Obs was the island's fourth Rosy Wave; 10 Silver Y, 9 Dark Sword Grass and singles of Diamond-back Moth, Evergestis extimalis and Small Rufous made up the rest of the immigrant/wanderer list there.

5th August

A fair and still quite warm day produced another decent little fall of migrants at the Bill, where day-totals included 150 Willow Warblers, 50 Wheatears, 3 Sedge Warblers, 2 Redstarts and singles of Greenshank, Yellow Wagtail and Grasshopper Warbler. The sea remained very quite, with nothing more than 3 Common Scoter logged at the Bill.

The immigrant tally remained disappointingly low in the moth-traps, with the Obs garden traps returning totals of just 5 Silver Y and singles of Diamond-back Moth, Rusty-dot Pearl and Dark Sword Grass.



   Common Terns - Ferrybridge, 4th August 2011 © Pete Saunders

  4th August

The increasingly hot, humid conditions of recent days finally broke in dramatic fashion with a veritable deluge of rain either side of dawn. Migrants dropped at the Bill included 30 Willow Warblers, 2 Garden Warblers and singles of Grasshopper Warbler and Spotted Flycatcher, whilst a steady passage of hirundines were heading out to sea. Seawatching there produced 3 Manx Shearwaters and a lone Great Skua, whilst elsewhere 49 Common Terns passed through at Ferrybridge.

The very sodden moth-traps at the Obs produced just one immigrant: a solitary Rusty-dot Pearl.

3rd August

The hot, muggy conditions of recent days remained established and migrant numbers picked up quite noticeably, with the Bill area returning totals of 150 Willow Warblers, 10 Wheatears, 5 Sedge Warblers, 3 each of Tree Pipit and Grasshopper Warbler, 2 Yellow Wagtails and singles of Hobby, Redstart and Garden Warbler. Elsewhere there were 35 Ringed Plover, 15 Mediterranean Gulls, 6 Dunlin and a Sanderling at Ferrybridge.

Immigrants in the Obs garden moth-traps this morning: 3 Silver Y, 2 Rusty-dot Pearl and 1 Diamond-back Moth.

2nd August

Continuing yesterday's theme of disappointing numbers, today's tally from the Bill included 30 Willow Warblers, but little else of note there beyond a trickle of departing Swifts and hirundines, and 2 Grasshopper Warblers and singles of Yellow Wagtail, Whinchat, Grasshopper Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat and Garden Warbler on the ground.

Immigrants in the Obs garden moth-traps this morning: 6 Silver Y, 5 Rusty-dot Pearl, 5 Dark Sword Grass, 1 Diamond-back Moth and 1 Small Marbled.

1st August

The new month begun rather uneventfully, with a similar species list to recent days but numbers reduced to, for example, just 30 Willow Warblers at the Bill; a lone Grasshopper Warbler was the only slightly scarcer migrant there.

Immigrants in the Obs garden moth-traps this morning: 8 Silver Y, 2 Diamond-back Moth, 2 Rusty-dot Pearl, 2 Dark Sword Grass and 1 Four-spotted Footman.