15th September

Any promise engendered by a few decent enough days evaporated today - perhaps unexpectedly given the waft of easterly breeze - as passage at the Bill dwindled right away on all fronts. The likes of singles of Redstart, Whinchat, Reed Warbler and Goldcrest amongst a thin spread of Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs were well short of what might have excited on the ground and for long periods the sky was all but bereft of movement, with an eventual 100 each of Swallow and Meadow Pipit an order of magnitude shy of what ought to be making the log in mid-September. Five Balearic Shearwaters and 2 Arctic Skuas passed by on the sea.

Our photos of yesterday's Barred Warbler that showed the fantastic difference in iris colour between adults and youngsters reminded us that we'd been tinkering around during the last couple of weeks with a few ageing photos for Common Whitethroat. Given good light, the iris colour of their two age classes is surprisingly different - although of course there are differences and differences and things are a bit more subtle in Whitethroat than in Barred Warbler! Here are a couple of youngsters...

...that have a much darker iris than adults - the first of these adults is a likely female from Portland this week and the second is an adult male (quite likely of the race icterops) from Kenya last November:

Even in the field the paler iris of an adult should be reasonably obvious - this is another from Kenya (maybe of the race rubicola?) last November © Martin Cade: