13th October

On what looked to be an all too blustery night for productive mothing it did at least remain completely overcast and often damp which kept the temperature noticeably higher than on recent nights. Overall, immigrant numbers were the highest since 14th/15th September and amongst the catch at the Obs was a Southern Brindled Green; the full tally of other immigrants there was 94 Rusty-dot Pearl, 41 Rush Veneer, 9 Turnip, 6 Vestal, 2 Pearly Underwing, a Delicate and a Scarce Bordered Straw, with 2 Oak Rustic (the first of the autumn) another irregular wanderer/immigrant to the Bill.

Bird-wise, the overnight cloud and damp may have been rather too comprehensive since the relative calm of dawn revealed a marked paucity of new arrivals; sheltered spots up-island were eventually found to contain some good concentrations of Chiffchaffs in particular, whilst Stonechats were numerous everywhere (maybe 50 in total around the centre and south of the island), but for the most part the day was one of unrealised potential. The best of the less frequent migrants were a/the Yellow-browed Warbler at Southwell, at least 5 Dartford Warblers at the Bill with further singles at Bowers Quarry and Penn's Weare, a lingering Firecrest at the Bill and single Black Redstarts at the Bill and Reap Lane; of further minor interest were a late Garden Warbler at the Bill and the first 3 wandering Long-tailed Tits of the autumn there. The sea was still coming up with some numbers that included 207 Gannets, 105 Kittiwakes, 17 Balearic Shearwaters, 16 Common Scoter, 2 Arctic Skuas and a Manx Shearwater through off the Bill.

Sometimes there are advantages to not being able to get too blasé about certain relatively common moths. The Brindled Green has always been a pretty infrequently-trapped moth at Portland and whenever it does show up it gets as much attention as certain rarities; there's also a tendency to look hard at the specimens just to make sure you're not throwing away something exciting like a Southern Brindled Green. Well, when a real Southern Brindled Green did emerge from one of the Obs moth-traps this morning it was so blindingly different to its commoner cousin that we almost couldn't believe our eyes and tried to convince ourselves for a moment that it must be something more mundane that we were forgetting about. Anyway, the rest is history and the moth was indeed the rarity - the first record for Britain! © Martin Cade: