23rd June

A lovely warm, sunny day that produced few surprises beyond the first presumably dispersing Great Spotted Woodpecker of the autumn that showed up at the Obs. The only other bird news also came from the Bill, where singles of Reed Warbler and Chiffchaff were new in, at least 1 Blackcap was still about and 7 Manx Shearwaters passed through on the sea.

A Red-veined Darter dragonfly put in a brief appearance in the Crown Estate Field.

Immigrant moth interest dwindled still further, with a lone Small Mottled Willow the only long-distance migrant attracted overnight to the Obs garden traps; Hummingbird Hawk-moths continued to be recorded by day, with singles at several sites today.

Hummingbird Hawk-moth, Red-veined Darter and Chalk-hill Lance-wing - Portland Bill, 23rd June 2015 © Martin Cade
There was plenty of nice natural history interest today, even if the birds were very much the poor relation. The Chalk-hill Lance-wing Epermenia insecurella is one of the local special micro-moths that seems not to have been doing too well in recent years. Today's specimen was discovered by Mark Parsons of Butterfly Conservation whilst he was surveying the food-plant - Bastard-toadflax - at the Bill and, as far as we're aware, is the first adult seen for several years. This national rarity is one of the few special indigenous micros of the island that seemingly escaped the attention of the great Victorian fieldworkers who found pretty well everything else of major interest; the first island record appears to have come from our moth-traps at the Obs - on 31st July 1990 - and it was this that led to the discovery of a resident population nearby that looked to be well established until relatively recently.