17th July

Shouldn't really complain but it was a bit too hot for meaningful fieldwork at times today. The bird of the day was a Serin that popped up twice during the morning at Blacknor. Early autumn passage remained at the bitsy level, with 75 Swallows, 20 Sand Martins, 4 Grey Herons and singles of Redshank, Yellow Wagtail and Blackcap through or on the deck at the Bill, where 59 Common Scoter, 16 Manx Shearwaters and a skua sp passed by on the sea. Elsewhere, 13 Mediterranean Gulls, 3 Sanderling, a Whimbrel and a Redshank were at Ferrybridge.

Although a few relatively regular strays featured in the moth-traps, 'proper' immigrants were still thin on the ground: Diamond-back Moths continued to increase, including 77 at the Obs, but none of the other routine species managed double figure totals.

Common Tern, Little Tern, Sparrowhawk, Whitethroat and Grey Seal - Ferrybridge, Southwell and Portland Bill, 16th/17th July 2016 © Pete Sanders (the terns), Debby Saunders (Sparrowhawk) and Ted Pressey (Whitethroat and Grey Seal)

Moth-wise, the pick of the day's sightings was a second Orange-tailed Clearwing in two days; this one, which again came to Robert Payne's pheromone lure, was discovered in the Obs Quarry:

...with two found in quick succession in widely separated parts of the island it's hard to believe the species isn't a well-established resident. As far as we can recollect, previous searches have been concentrated on the Penn's Weare area where Wayfaring Tree is extremely common; perhaps those attempts didn't coincide with the main flight period, or maybe the species prefers its Wayfaring Trees amongst flowery grassland rather than thick scrub (there are only isolated trees at both Inmosthay and the Obs Quarry, whereas they're mainly tightly packed amongst other scrub at Penn's Weare).

Finally, a nice Sulphur Pearl Sitochroa palealis from yesterday. Although most likely just a transient breeder, this species had until recently looked to be getting pretty well established on Portland; however, our trap totals at the Obs have declined sharply in the last couple of years so perhaps it's fizzling out once again?