25th July

Lovely weather and very enjoyable birding today with plenty more action out to sea and another small flurry of early departing migrants on the land. The biggest surprise on the sea was a brief reappearance by the Great Shearwater that joined the melee of gulls feasting on bait fish off the Bill during the afternoon; up to 6 Balearic Shearwaters also put in appearances there, whilst 65 Mediterranean Gulls, 30 Common Scoter, 10 Manx Shearwaters, 7 Yellow-legged Gulls, 6 Arctic Skuas and a Roseate Tern passed through and, in the early hours, another 6 Storm Petrels were sound-lured and trapped. Land-wise, both Whinchat and Garden Warbler - singles of each - were logged for the first time this season at the Bill, where 25 Willow Warblers and 10 Sedge Warblers made up the bulk of the numbers on the ground, gatherings of up to 100 Swallows and 20 each of Swift and Sand Martin paused overhead and a lone Yellow Wagtail also passed through.

Immigrant insects featured again, with 7 Painted Ladys and 4 Clouded Yellows amongst the many hundreds of Red Admirals about at the Bill; 5 Red Admirals and singles of Painted Lady and Emperor dragonfly were also caught overnight in the Obs moth-traps. A Pale Shoulder at Weston and a Lunar Thorn at the Obs (the fourth and second island records respectively) were nice rarity highlights amongst the moths caught overnight; common immigrant numbers also increased, including 35 Dark Sword Grass, 27 Silver Y and 19 Rusty-dot Pearl at the Obs.

We arrived at the Bill tip just in time to see the Great Shearwater fly off and disappear over the horizon but these Balearic Shearwaters provided some compensation © Martin Cade (apologies for the poor quality of several of the recent videos we've posted here - the speed of our internet connection at the Obs has recently declined to such an extent that we're currently unable to upload to YouTube from here and have had to resort to uploading some inferior footage via our phone whenever we've got a 4G signal):

Although a good national record - the UK total is still only around the 40 mark - the Pale Shoulder was the fourth record for Portland © Duncan Walbridge/Martin Cade...

...and in a typically peculiar quirk of distribution the Lunar Thorn - that's an uncommon resident in part of north and west Dorset - was actually a rarer moth for the island (there's just a single previous record) © Martin Cade: