9th August

Slow on the migrant front today with no more than 20 Willow Warblers, 10 Wheatears and a Garden Warbler grounded at the Bill and 4 Redshanks the best of the seemingly few new waders at Ferrybridge. Visible passage was stronger, with several conspicuous pulses of Sand Martins and Swallows through over the Bill in particular; a Yellow Wagtail also passed over at Blacknor. The only other reports were of seawatching at the Bill that came up with 6 Common Scoter, 5 Manx Shearwaters, 3 Balearic Shearwaters and 2 Grey Herons.

There were again indications of moth immigration getting going, with several species recorded in their highest numbers so far this moth at the Obs; quality was rather limited, but did include the fourth island record of Lesser-spotted Pinion at West Grove Terrace and a Golden Pearl Anania verbascalis at the Obs.

Whitethroat and Golden Pearl - Portland Bill, 9th August 2015 © Martin Cade
...passerines in as heavy moult as today's Whitethroat usually steer well clear of drawing attention to themselves but the odd one blunders into a mist-net from time to time; the flight capabilities of this individual were so compromised that it struggled to make it to the nearest cover when we released it.
Golden Pearl is one of that long list of moth species of which we're never quite sure whether they're a scarce resident or just a stray. Until quite recently the records were sufficiently infrequent that we'd have had no doubt they referred to vagrants; however, after becoming more or less annual, last year we twice chivvied up singles from patches of the larval food-plant, Wood Sage, at Freshwater Bay and a resident status seemed more likely. Searches there this year have so far drawn a blank and last night's moth-trap single at the Obs is the first we've seen of this summer.