8th June

Despite a change in the wind and a slight rise in temperature, it was once again down to a Cuckoo to save the day, this one flying north over Ferrybridge. The comparatively healthy handful of additional migrants included at the Bill 3 each of Grey Heron and Reed Warbler and singles of Spotted Flycatcher, Willow Warbler and Blackcap, and at Ferrybridge 6 Dunlin and a Sanderling. The drop in the wind saw a downturn in productivity on the sea with little more than 68 Common Scoter - autumn passage getting going? - three Sandwich Terns and a single Mediterranean Gull.

Samphire Knot-horn Epischnia asteris is a nice local special that's a nightly catch in the Obs moth-traps at the moment. It's a sea-cliff inhabitant with a national distribution that's restricted to Southwest England and West Wales; in contrast to other strictly cliff inhabitants like Cliff Plume Agdistis meridionalis it seems to readily wander up as far as the Obs garden but we're not aware that it's ever strayed off-island to, for example, Weymouth. When we first became acquainted with the moth it had the specific epiphet, banksiella; that name was coined by Nelson Richardson - the pre-eminent Portland lepidopterist of the Victorian era - who believed he'd discovered the species as new for science on the island in 1887 - and honours his Purbeck contemporary, Eustace Bankes; it's a shame that the law of priority has seen us lose these Dorset connections even if the 'new' name does provide an association of sorts with the larval foodplant, golden samphire © Martin Cade: