15th September

An unexpectedly heavy cloud cover at dawn did no harm today and there was a nice little drop of grounded arrivals along with a fair trickle of overhead migrants brought down to a very visible height. The Bee-eater undertook a few more early laps of the south of the island before seemingly managing to escape: it wasn't reported after mid-morning and it's tempting to wonder if later news of singles over Durlston and the Isle of Wight referred to the same individual. Among the commoner migrants an early first Redpoll and the first passing Red-throated Diver of the season were of note

Portland Bill
Migrants Meadow Pipit 300 over + 250 grounded, Yellow Wagtail 50, Blackcap 50, Chiffchaff 45, Wheatear 40, Willow Warbler 30, Grey Wagtail 17, Chaffinch 17, Tree Pipit 14, with lower totals including Spotted Flycatcher 5, White Wagtail 3, Little Egret 1, Merlin 1, Kingfisher 1, Bee-eater 1, Swift 1, Redstart 1, Pied Flycatcher 1, Siskin 1, Redpoll 1.
Sea passage Teal 4e, Red-throated Diver 1w.

Yellowhammer 1.

Selected immigrants Obs: Rush Veneer 154, Rusty-dot Pearl 52, Turnip 18, Pearly Underwing 17, Silver Y 10, Delicate 6, Vestal 4, Diamond-back 3, Dark Sword Grass 3, European Corn-borer 2, Wax Moth 1, Scarce Bordered Straw 1, Red Admiral butterfly 1.

Our day was somewhat disrupted by news of a peculiar wagtail having been found at Lodmoor, debate about which hung over proceedings like a bad smell and eventually forced us to abort the potential of the Bill to go and take a look. We were fortunate to jam straight into what were evidently the best views thus far obtained, even if the bird remained frustratingly silent which greatly hampered the ID process. Despite being told by well-travelled observers that 'it looks just like all the Eastern Yellow Wagtails we've seen' it actually looked rather unlike what we'd imagined one would look like: amongst other things, the enormous wing-bars, black-centred tertials, wholly black bill and at least part of the head pattern all looked spot on for the bird to have had a massive input of Citrine genes. However (and despite having been shown a photo taken earlier of the head pattern looking pretty well perfect for Citrine!), we utterly failed to see any suggestion of a whitish wrap around the rear ear-coverts and if not really dark then the lores certainly weren't in any way pale. This wackily-anomalous head pattern aside it was clearly a Citrine, but at what point does that sort of anomaly become an issue? - we've seen several photos of similar-ish vagrant Citrines with the rider added that this sort of head pattern's unusual or aberrant but that seems like a bit of a concern when these features are of such importance. It'd be really good if the call of the bird could be recorded to show that at least all's well in that department © Martin Cade: