31st July

With a near full moon looming large in a crystal clear sky it didn't look likely that migrants on the move would drop in any quantity, but dawn did bring greater variety than hitherto this autumn. The Bill area came up with 45 departing Sand Martins, 25 Willow Warblers, 20 Whitethroats and singles of Grey Heron, Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Green Sandpiper, Whimbrel, Yellow Wagtail, Sedge Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat and Blackcap, whilst 155 Sand Martins and 8 Shoveler passed over at Ferrybridge. Shearwaters again featured off the Bill, where 125 Manx and 6 Balearics passed by during the morning.

As a measure of just how weak autumn passage has been thus far, Peter Morgan has totted up for us the July ringing totals at the Obs (...sadly, not a very arduous task!); the measly total of just 68 new birds ringed included only 15 presumed active migrants: 12 Willow Warblers, 2 Spotted Flycatchers and 1 Sedge Warbler. It can only get better...

Despite the unpromising chilly, clear conditions there were signs of immigrant moths numbers picking up just a little, particularly at Sweethill where 2 Small Mottled Willows and a Bordered Straw provided the best of the quality.

Bordered Beauty - Sweethill, 31st July 2015 © Debby Saunders
...we used to consider Bordered Beauty a rare stray to Portland - it's very infrequent at the Obs and today's example was new for Debby at Sweethill - but last year came up with circumstantial evidence that it might now be established at Culverwell.