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Joseph Stockwellnoreply@blogger.comBlogger1598125
Updated: 1 hour 8 min ago

31st July

Tue, 07/31/2018 - 21:37
We seem to be heading firmly back into summer, although a touch of autumn could be felt with the arrival of a smattering of migrants. Todays highlight came in the form of a mega-flock of Mediterranean Gulls at Ferrybridge, including a large proportion of juveniles. The moth traps remained uneventful but a Six-belted Clearwing  represented a possible first for the Obs garden.

Portland Bill Willow Warbler 8, Swift 6, Sand Martin 4, Lesser Whitethroat 1, Sedge Warbler 3.

Portland Bill Seawatch Manx Shearwater 42, Balearic Shearwater 3, Common Scoter 1, Yellow-legged Gull 7, Mediterranean Gull 5, Kittiwake 18, Black-headed Gull 2, Sandwich Tern 2, Guillemot 1, Curlew 2.

Ferrybridge Common Sandpiper 3, Curlew 2, Turnstone 2, Whimbrel 1, Grey Heron 1, Yellow-legged Gull 3, Mediterranean Gull 1230 (420 juveniles).

Moths Silver Y 8, Rusty-dot Pearl 2, Diamond-back Moth 9, Six-belted Clearwing 1.

There's nothing that spices up hanging out the washing like finding a Six-belted Clearwing on the wall of the Obs. Although relatively abundant on Portland, it is usually only with the help of a pheromone lure that one gives itself up © Erin Taylor:


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30th July

Mon, 07/30/2018 - 21:22
As yesterdays tempest slowly ameliorated into a blustery but otherwise clear day, the numbers of seabirds calmed and migration over the land began to pick up again. As far as Moths were concerned, we were firmly back to the old faithfuls.

Portland Bill Swift 14, Sand Martin 2, House Martin 2, Willow Warbler 8, Raven 6.

Portland Bill Seawatch Manx Shearwater 68, Balearic Shearwater 3, Arctic Skua 1, Bonxie 1, Yellow-legged Gull 16, Mediterranean Gull 41, Guillemot 1, Sandwich Tern 1, Kittiwake 16, Curlew 1.

Ferrybridge Mediterranean Gull 595 (130 juveniles).

Moths Silver Y 2, Rusty-dot Pearl 3, Diamond-back Moth 5.

Juvenile Whitethroats are comprising the majority of the catch at the moment, particularly in the Crown Estate Fields where the species seem to have had a bumper year. 

The Bill Quarry Wheatears seem to be determined to moult into Wallcreepers...
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29th July

Sun, 07/29/2018 - 22:41
Another unseasonably dire day provided us with both some much needed moisture for the browning fields and some sea-watching entertainment. Yet again, land-based migrants struggled with the conditions and numbers were somewhat thin on the ground. Moth numbers were up on the previous nights catch, although that isn't saying much!

Portland Bill Swift 1, Willow Warbler 6, Red-legged Partridge 1.

Portland Bill Seawatch Common Scoter 8, Bonxie 8, Manx Shearwater 42/hour, Balearic Shearwater max. 34, Great Shearwater 1, Yellow-legged Gull 12, Mediterranean Gull 36, Whimbrel 18, Redshank 1, Ringed Plover 1.

Ferrybridge Whimbrel 10, Curlew 4, Sanderling 3, Dunlin 40, Turnstone 6, Common Tern 1, Yellow-legged Gull 1.

Moths Silver Y 2, Diamond-back Moth 11, Dark Sword Grass 2, Rusty-dot Pearl 3, Hummingbird Hawkmoth 1. (Emperor Dragonfly also in the trap).

Despite the strong wind and rain, some of our guests were brave enough to venture to the coast to witness the swell at its very best!  © Alan Hooper. 

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28th July

Sat, 07/28/2018 - 22:34
A day of brisk South/ South Westerlies that saw the end (however brief) of the heatwave, also saw a reduction in migrating land birds. However, the swell generated attracted some noteworthy sea-watching events. Cooler temperatures overnight also hindered 'mothing' attempts, with only a slack-handful of migrants to show for our efforts. 
Portland Bill Swift 15, Willow Warbler 6, Lesser Whitethroat 1, Yellow-legged Gull 2.
Beach Road Arctic Skua 1 (flying West). 
Portland Bill Seawatch Manx Shearwater 239 in 1 hour, Balearic Shearwater up to 26, a possible Cory's Shearwater, Whimbrel 2, Great Skua 1, Guillemot 3, Common Scoter 11, Yellow-legged Gull 4, Mediterranean Gull 3, 1 Sunfish.
Ferrybridge Curlew 4, Mediterranean Gull 300 (including 50 juveniles). 
Moths Silver Y 2, Diamond-back Moth 27, Rusty-dot Pearl 2. 
The dry conditions have not impacted the emergence of hundreds of Chalkhill Blue Butterflies over the past few weeks, but how will the lack of Vetches alter their population in years to follow? 

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27th July

Fri, 07/27/2018 - 23:34
Portland Bill Swift 30, Sand Martin 25, Willow Warbler 15, Sedge Warbler 2, Grey Wagtail 1, Yellow Wagtail 1, Lesser Whitethroat 1.

Portland Bill seawatch Manx Shearwater 20, Common Scoter 9, Balearic Shearwater 4etc, Mediterranean Gull 4, Yellow-legged Gull 2, Sandwich Tern 1.

Portland Bill offshore Great Shearwater 1w.

Moths PBO Diamond-back Moth 490, Silver Y 28, Rusty-dot Pearl 10, Marbled Piercer 7, Water Veneer 1, Spindle Knot-horn Nephopterix angustella, Four-spotted Footman 1, Gold Spot 1 + Four-spotted 6, Meadow Brown 1, Large White 1.

The big news of the day was that PBO today purchased the Obs Quarry and adjacent field, along with one of the strips just to the north of the Crown Estate Field; the areas in question are identified in the auction catalogue copied below:
Although there is a public footpath running around the back of the Obs Quarry and another running diagonally across the Quarry Field all other access to this area is unofficial and highly likely to have been lost had these fields been acquired by other parties. The Obs trustees felt that it was imperative that access to this important area should be maintained and its natural history interest preserved/improved and so prioritised its acquisition - today's positive result owes much to the generosity and foresight of our late benefactor, Miss Helen Brotherton, who we're sure would have been delighted with the outcome.  
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26th July

Thu, 07/26/2018 - 23:09
Portland Bill Swallow 200, Swift 100, Sand Martin 50, Willow Warbler 30, Lesser Whitethroat 2, Ringed Plover 1, Turnstone 1, Grey Wagtail 1, Wheatear 1 (first autumn migrant), Sedge Warbler 1.

Portland Bill seawatch Manx Shearwater 60, Common Scoter 20, Black-headed Gull 2, Yellow-legged Gull 2, Sandwich Tern 1.

PBO nocturnal passage Oystercatcher 1, Redshank 1.

Weston Turtle Dove 1.

Ferrybridge Dunlin 21, Ringed Plover 12, Sanderling 2, Redshank 2, Black-tailed Godwit 2, Wheatear 1.

Moths PBO Silver Y 27, Diamond-back Moth 26, Marbled Piercer 2, Maiden's Blush 2, Rusty-dot Pearl 2, Wax Moth 1, Mocha 1, Four-spotted Footman 1.

Despite the prevailing scorching conditions immigrant butterflies aren't at all conspicuous around the island: Clouded Yellows have been straightforward to see in recent days in the Crown Estate Field where half a dozen or more seem to be semi-resident in the bottom of the valley but there have been few reports from elsewhere; a few very fresh Painted Ladys are maybe the progeny of earlier arrivals - this photographed specimen was at Easton today © Ken Dolbear; Red Admirals have been the most numerous although even they're hardly abundant.

This Mocha - another woodland stray that's a very infrequent visitor to Portland - was the pick of last night's moth catch © Martin Cade:  
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25th July

Wed, 07/25/2018 - 23:43
Portland Bill Swallow 200, Sand Martin 100, Swift 30, Willow Warbler 5, Grey Heron 2, Dunlin 2, Ringed Plover 1, Sedge Warbler 2, Lesser Whitethroat 1.

Portland Bill seawatching Mediterranean Gull 160west, Manx Shearwater 61, Guillemot 3 (local breeders have all departed), Black-headed Gull 1, Great Skua 1.

Moths PBO Diamond-back Moth 64, Silver y 37, Four-spotted Footman 3, Rusty-dot Pearl 3, Marbled Piercer 2, Gold Spot 1 + Red Admiral butterfly 1. Sweethill Flame Carpet 1. Reap Lane Scorched Carpet 1. Weston Wax Moth 1. Grove Maiden's Blush 1, Slender Brindle 1.

Bug-filled sunflower heads at the Bill were proving popular with some of today's Swallows © Martin Cade:  

Although the early stages of the current hot spell were fantastic for moth-trapping with huge catches and lots of interesting dispersal, latterly things have quietened right down, with catches much diminished and interest dwindling. A few island oddities are still putting in appearances, with this Flame Carpet at Sweethill one of last night's better captures © Debby Saunders:  
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24th July

Tue, 07/24/2018 - 15:07
Moths PBO Silver Y 20, Diamond-back Moth 6, Four-spotted Footman 2, Marbled Piercer 1, Bulrush Veneer 1, Rusty-dot Pearl 1, Gold Spot 1.

Back to the last few days for some photos: Curlews are regular enough visitors to Ferrybridge but they're sufficiently skittish/ill at ease there that they're rarely settled for long after dawn or much before dusk; this little group were present at dawn yesterday © Debby Saunders:  

The young Wheatears are still about at the Bill where they're now getting increasing mobile © Roger Hewitt:  

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