6th September

A return of summer, with glorious warm sunshine from dawn 'til dusk - such conditions are often a dead loss for migrants but today saw a decent enough spread of birds to keep the weekend visitors more than entertained. Of the recent oddities only the Pulpit Bushes Wryneck looked to have remained overnight and in terms of local rarity a passing Long-tailed Skua off the Bill was by far the best of the day's newcomers. Commoner migrants were surprisingly well represented on the ground and, given the conditions, not so surprisingly well represented overhead: Siskins have been steadily increasing over recent day, so 180 through over the Bill (a minimum total since quite a flocks could be heard but not seen as they passed high overhead) wasn't unexpected; hirundines - including a good proportion of Sand Martins were also on the move in quantity, whilst 70 Yellow Wagtails were amongst the other visible migrants. Phylloscs dominated on the ground, with 80 Willow Warblers and 25 Chiffchaffs at the Bill, whilst the fair variety of other rountine fare included 2 White Wagtails and a Firecrest at the Bill and a Green Sandpiper at Weston. Additional to the skua, 2 Balearic Shearwaters also passed through off the Bill.

Knot and Convolvulus Hawk-moth - Ferrybridge and Portland Bill, 6th September 2015 © Debby Saunders (Knot) and Martin King (Convolvulus Hawk)

Also thanks to Martin King for a couple of photos of happenings on the water today; where once we gawped at the might of Britain's Royal Navy coming and going from Portland Harbour, these days it's cruise liners slipping in and out of the harbour that have become the familiar dawn and dusk sight from the Obs:

...and today saw the Cowes Classic powerboat race pass the Bill; the glamour days of the past when the Bill Common was opened up for car parking as thousands of visitors turned up to watch the spectacle of the Cinzano and Dry Martini boats jostle for position as they rounded the Bill are long gone and it's now rarely possible to even get two boats in the same frame: