The immigrant tally in the Obs moth-traps again consisted of just a single Dark Sword Grass.
Firecrest and Widow Iris - Portland Bill and Broadcroft BC reserve, 12th March 2015 © Martin Cade (Firecrest) and Ken Dolbear (Widow Iris)
...the Widow Iris is just getting into full flower on exactly the same date as last year; in contrast, in the cold, late spring of 2013 it wasn't in flower until the last days of April.
With so many Stonechats about we couldn't resist making an effort to spring-trap some of them and lucked in on a pretty decent tally of 7 in all. Females are a right struggle to age with any confidence but most males are do-able - a task that's even easier when you happen to jam in on three at once:
The well-worn, less densely-coloured plumage and various moult contrasts in the first-summer birds are relatively easy to spot here in the hand but are usually visible as well in a good field view. The adult male could almost pass muster as a Continental 'rubicola' bird but, as regular readers with remember, we've never been very enamoured with the pigeonholing of stonechats for the simple reason that the more you look at them the more you appreciate there's an almost seamless gradation in plumage from extreme 'rubicola' to extreme British 'hibernans' - where does one stop and the other begin?