26th February

With the freaky, summer-like conditions continuing it was perhaps appropriate that butterflies stole the show today, with 2 Large Tortoiseshells showing at times at Tout Quarry; several Red Admirals and a Painted Lady were amongst the other butterflies logged today.

On the bird front, the first 3 Sand Martins of the year - along with another Swallow - passed through on West Cliffs where a handful of incoming Meadow Pipits and 2 Song Thrushes were also on the move and the first Wheatear dropped in at Ferrybridge; a Curlew through off the Bill was another more or less on cue migrant. The only other report was of the Black Redstart still at the Bill.

After a considerable amount of legwork the lingering Large Tortoiseshell was eventually tracked down at Tout Quarry © Martin Cade...

...and following examination of photographs taken at various times through the afternoon it was later realised that there were in fact two individuals present - the second insect having, along with a variety of 'plumage' differences, a chunk missing from one of its hindwings © Andy Luckhurst:

And a bit of video of the less shabby of the two ©Martin Cade:

Having never heard a Penduline Tit singing we also took ourselves off to Lodmoor for a while to see if the Weymouth winterer would oblige, as it apparently has been in recent days. In the couple of months since we last saw it it's got into a much jazzier plumage that was nice to see © Martin Cade...

Its bouts of singing were relatively infrequent although quite prolonged when it did get going; they were also always given from the trees and hedges rather than from the reedbed where it was feeding. Sadly, it tended to stay just within the outer branches of the trees whilst singing so it wasn't particularly easy to video - also, whenever it did emerge on the outside of the trees there'd be a crescendo of machinegun-esque camera shutter activity that trashed many of our recordings - just one of the perils of going anywhere near a mob of photographers these days! The song itself was a really quite peculiar jumble of varied notes that was surprisingly subtle/overlookable - it was noticeable that it wasn't registering as a song with many of the birders present who weren't using it to latch onto the bird when it was out of view; these two recordings were about as good as we could get: