8th July

Portland Bill
Manx Shearwater c70, Balearic Shearwater 2etc 2e, Common Scoter 7w, Mediterranean Gull 5etc, Cuckoo 1, Swift 20, Sand Martin 10s, Swallow 40s, Blackcap 2, Chiffchaff 1; also Bottle-nosed Dolphin 8etc.

Black-tailed Godwit 1.

This morning's Black-tailed Godwit at Ferrybridge © Debby Saunders:

We clearly need to make spiteful comments about Storm Petrels more often: no sooner had we bemoaned how difficult it is to catch them in any numbers these days then they immediately made every effort to make us look stupid by staging an unexpected resurgence at the Bill tip last night; after six lured in quick time after dusk we then even fluked a French-ringed bird - only our second ever at the Bill © Martin Cade:

Freaks of nature rather appeal to us and today's little curiosity was this yellow-chested male Linnet; sadly, the extremely harsh light of another day of blazing hot sunshine rather burnt out the colours in our photographs so you'll have to take our word for the fact that to our eyes it really was strikingly yellow; we've seen photographs of Redpolls with their red replaced with yellow but have never seen this in the many thousands of Linnets that we've handled © Martin Cade:

It was really pleasing to see this Coast Diamond-back Rhigognostis annuatella that John Williamson brought out for us to see today - it had been trapped overnight in John's garden at Blacknor. In our early days at the Bill we used to catch annuatella annually in some numbers and more or less took it for granted; however, it then suddenly vanished rather in the manner of, for example, Dotted Rustic and Bordered Gothic, and until today we had no records of it after 1994. There are a few aspects of the biology of this species at Portland that have always puzzled us: MBGBI gives the larval foodplant as Common Scurvygrass Cochlearia officinalis and in his review of Portland lepidoptera in the Victorian era Nelson Richardson stated that "larva sometimes common on Cochlearia"; however, the Flora of Dorset states that there are no certain records of this plant for Dorset, let alone Portland. Modern sources extend the range of larval foodplants to Danish Scurvygrass (which apparently also doesn't occur on 'mainland' Portland) and Hairy Bitter-cress (which is recorded here) Whatever the upshot of this conundrum it's pleasing that annuatella clearly isn't extinct on the island even if it's presumably far scarcer than it once was © Martin Cade: