4th September

A really enjoyable birding day with a good spread of common migrants nicely rounded off with a selection typical September oddities. A crack of dawn Ortolan Bunting over the Crown Estate Field and briefly settled at the Privet Hedge wasn't too unexpected given the continuing presence of the likes of the Wryneck at the Pulpit Bushes and the Barred Warbler at Culverwell; a Nightingale at the Obs Quarry seemed most likely to be a reappearance of the individual seen there from time to time in the last week or more, whilst reports of single Green Sandpipers at the Bill and Barleycrates Lane probably referred to the same individual. Routine migrants were patchily spread with, for example, a steady catch of phylloscs in the Obs garden but not a single bird netted close by in the Crown Estate Field; notable totals from around the Bill included 75 Willow Warblers, 50 Wheatears, 30 Whitethroats, 15 Chiffchaffs and 10 Blackcaps, whilst 60 Yellow Wagtails, 14 Siskins, 13 Tree Pipits, 4 Grey Wagtails and a late Swift were amongst the overhead passage there.

Unaccountably, immigrant moth interest was maintained at the Obs where the overnight catch was the best this week; it would appear that, despite very unsuitable conditions, immigrants are arriving on the coast but not then penetrating any further inland (garden traps elsewhere on Portland and apparently also elsewhere in south Dorset are attracting relatively few immigrants). The night's immigrant totals were 108 Dark Sword Grass, 69 Silver Y, 57 Rush Veneer, 24 Pearly Underwing, 7 Rusty-dot Pearl, 5 Scarce Bordered Straw, 3 Convolvulus Hawk-moth, 2 Diamond-back Moth, 2 White-speck and singles of Small Mottled Willow, Bordered Straw and Ni Moth; additionally, there was a conspicuous but unquantified increase in the likes of Angle Shades that likely referred to immigrants.

Barred Warbler - Portland Bill, 4th September 2015 © Simon Craft