20th August

Rather short rations again today on the land with a brisk westerly doing nothing for migrant numbers or variety. Offshore, a resurgence in Balearic Shearwaters at least provided some entertainment.

Portland Bill
Migrants Yellow Wagtail 15, Wheatear 10, Willow Warbler 10, Tree Pipit 9, Pied Flycatcher 7, Whimbrel 2, Whinchat 1, Reed Warbler 1, Spotted Flycatcher 1.
Sea passage Balearic Shearwater 90w, Mediterranean Gull 60w 16e, Kittiwake 18w, Lesser Black-backed Gull 9s, Common Scoter 4w 1e, Arctic Skua 1w.

Spotted Flycatcher 2, Pied Flycatcher 1.

Ringed Plover 216, Turnstone 16, Sanderling 3, Knot 2, Whimbrel 1, Redshank 1.

Selected immigrants Obs: Rusty-dot Pearl 26, Rush Veneer 23, Turnip 22, Pearly Underwing 7, Dark Sword Grass 6, Diamond-back 2, Bordered Straw 2, Delicate 1.

The long-staying Knot found a friend this morning © Pete Saunders:

Wader-wise, Ringed Plovers are still dominating the scene at Ferrybridge...

...and on several recent evenings there we've been treated to one of those silly little 'simple things please simple minds' events that always catches our imagination at this time of year - we've probably witnessed it a hundred times over the years but it always excites: on evenings with a clear blue sky you can be sat counting or scrutinizing the waders when suddenly a whole bout of calling will break out for seemingly no reason at all; after a few seconds a few birds will fly up and aggregate together, usually undertake a couple of laps low over the sandflats and then tower up and head away high south over Chesil until they disappear from view as tiny specks in the far distance:

We've always thought it slightly odd that these little flocks are very often of mixed species - last night it was Ringed Plovers, Dunlins and a Sanderling. Of course we'd love to know where their next stop is - do they just cross the Channel and then drop in on, say, the huge wader roosts beside the Baie du Mont-Saint-Michel which would probably be reachable just as darkness fell or do they carry on all night and end up many hundreds of kilometers south by dawn? © Martin Cade:

This year's August peculiarity has been the number of Common Gulls logged in a month when they're usually absent from these parts - yesterday evening two more juveniles dropped in amongst the large gulls loafing on Chesil near Ferrybridge © Martin Cade: