Stonechat and Small Tortoiseshell - north Portland, 17th March 2015 © Nick Hopper
...carrying on from what we wrote about stonechats the other day, we're not sure we've actually seen a male Stonechat in recent days that doesn't show some/many features of 'rubicola' which seems rather peculiar since it's hard to believe most of them aren't routine migrants passing through en route to breeding places in western Britain.
Finally, some very belated news of a second for Britain at Portland. Phil Sterling has kindly been going through our boxes of moth specimens from the last couple of years and has identified this pyralid (caught and photographed at the Obs on 7th August last year, with the specimen set and retained) as Ancylosis cinnamomella:
...we probably should have done better with this record since the first and only other record for Britain - on 12th August 2003 - was also taken at the Obs! We can remember being perplexed by last year's specimen and deciding it was perhaps a dark form of Gymnancyla canella (canella is an occasional vagrant to the Bill but the previous records have all been of paler forms) but odd enough to be worth retaining. Although collecting specimens isn't everyone's cup of tea it does afford the luxury of being able to revisit tricky IDs when things aren't quite so busy - or in this case just passing them to an acknowledged expert to sort them out for you. For interest, here's the 2003 cinnamomella (photos © Martin Cade):