3rd September

Today had that inexplicable feeling of excitement that something could turn up at any time. The autumn appears to be dragging its feet along slightly where numbers are concerned but todays species totals were much more like a typical Portland September. Despite only catching 18 birds during the course of the mornings trapping session, this consisted of 13 species including 1 Wood Warbler, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 2 Redstarts, 1 Pied Flycatcher, 3 Grey Wagtails and 2 Yellow Wagtails. Other avian highlights included a magnificent passage of Hirundines with 600+ Swallows reported in 2 hours from Ferrybridge and a similar number at the Bill accompanied by 300 House Martins and a handful of Sand Martins. The mornings excitement didn't stop there however, as a Wryneck shot between the Hut fields and the Obs garden eluding almost everyone but the lucky few in the right place at the right time, this happening concurrently with the arrival of the resident Great Spotted Woodpecker meant, unusually, that there were two species of Woodpecker in the garden at once. Ortolan Buntings also put in a brilliant display with 2 showing at Fancy's farm near dusk and a single flyover at Ferrybridge in the morning. Another impressive spectacle was the passage of 53 Grey Wagtails over the morning period, far outstripping the total of just 18 Yellow Wagtails.  The sea passage of 14 Balearic Shearwaters was overshadowed by the presence of many other species of commoner migrants such as Spotted Flycatchers, Pied Flycatchers, Redstarts, Whitethroats, Lesser Whitethroats, Sedge Warblers and Reed Warblers.

Today we also received Nick Hoppers report from the night of 1st/2nd September which included another 2 Ortolan Buntings, Pied Flycatcher, 2 Yellow Wagtails, 4 Robins, 3 Tree Pipits, Redshank and 2 Common Sandpipers.

Such has been the dearth of immigrant moths in the last few weeks that a relatively modest overnight arrival qualified as a really worthwhile event. Obs totals of 11 Rush Veneer, 8 Dark Sword Grass, 7 Silver Y, 4 each of European Corn-borer and Rusty-dot Pearl, 3 each of Diamond-back Moth and Delicate, and singles of Marbled Piercer, Convolvulus Hawkmoth and Dark Spectacle were hardly impressive on their own, but that the fact that this lowly assemblage were accompanied by a Passenger certainly made the night a memorable one; elsewhere, 2 more Convolvulus Hawkmoths were at the Grove and a single Delicate was caught during a mobile trapping session at Ferrybridge.

Ferrybridge had a cracking day, not only on the Bunting front, but also with a record count of 43 Canada Geese (perhaps not exciting anywhere else but a good record here!). A flock of 9 Pochard flying East were another great species to add to the day list. The Sparrowhawks seem to be making a nuisance of themselves across the island with this juv even turning its hands to a spot of wader flushing, we can definitely forgive it when its this photogenic © Pete Saunders (the wildfowl), Edmund Mackrill (Sparrowhawk). 

We made a stupid mistake in not going to check out Charlie Richard's lone Ortolan Bunting at Fancy's Farm whilst the sun was out; it had clearly only temporarily disappeared since we jammed straight into not one but two birds there late in the evening - it might not look like it in this snatched record shot but by then it was nearly dark as well as drizzling steadily and the birds promptly vanished again into the gloom © Martin Cade:

The Wood Warbler was a slightly unexpected capture in the mist-nets set in Crown Estate Field crops © Martin Cade/Erin Taylor:

After their indifferent spring it's been good to log some autumn Hobbys - this one over Southwell today was the third in recent days © Pete Saunders:

Always a good rarity nationally, Portland's been favoured for Passenger records - today's specimen was the fourth for the island © Martin Cade:

It wasn't just a brilliant morning for birds and there's not many places you can get a view like this every morning! © Martin King