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Sightings - Friday 10th August 2018.

Dorset Bird Club - Fri, 08/10/2018 - 19:56
Common Scoter - 2 past Portland Bill
Balearic Shearwater - 3 past Portland Bill
Sooty Shearwater - 1 past Portland Bill
Manx Shearwater - 58 past Portland Bill
Ruff - 1 (Reeve) - Holton Lee
Sanderling - 5 Sandspit, Hengistbury Head
Dunlin - 30 Sandspit, Hengistbury Head
Curlew Sandpiper - 1 adult Lytchett Fields RSPB
Green Sandpiper - 1 Holton Lee
Wood Sandpiper - 1 Lytchett Fields RSPB

Dunlin - Sandspit, Hengistbury Head © Clinton Whale 
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Blog Post: August 2018 RSPB Radipole Lake Update

RSPB Weymouth Wetlands - Fri, 08/10/2018 - 16:55
The summer holidays are finally here! Radipole Lake is the place to be for families on Tuesdays for the rest of August. The Family Fun day starts from 10:00 a.m. and runs through until 3:00 pm. Free games are available out on the patio, there's Splat the Rat, Giant Jenga, Giant Snakes and Ladders and Pebble Painting.  There'a also pond dipping and bug hunting kits available to go exploring out on the reserve.  After all that exhausting fun you can feed the ducks from our duck platform, duck food is available to purchase in the Discovery Centre. The games are free but there is a small charge for the pond dipping and bug kit hire. Wildlife Update The birds are quiet at this time of year, many are moulting and hiding away. There are, however, two firsts for the reserve this week; a female Purple Hairstreak butterfly discovered on Radipole Lake by volunteer Alan Neilson on Monday 6th August. The following day a Southern Migrant Hawker was seen. Our young families are growing up.  The Mute Swan cygnets are getting quite large now, this family was seen having a rest by the swan platforms, mum and dad were close by keeping an eye on things. Close by was a Mallard family also taking a break.  You can clearly see which young are growing into males or females. Many plants have finished flowering early due to the prolonged hot weather.  Hemp Agrimony is looking at its best around the reserve this month.  This plant is excellent for attracting butterflies and other insects, one to look for if you have hired one of our bug hunting kits. For further information about the Tuesday Family Fun Day and all the latest sightings, contact Radipole Lake Discovery Centre, details below or pop in and see us. Hot and cold refreshments and snacks available. Telephone : 01305 778313 Email : Website :
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10 Aug 18

Martin Adlam - Fri, 08/10/2018 - 16:40
Mermaid Track, Rufus Castle, St Andrews Church and Pennsylvania Castle Wood.

The first significant and much needed rain fell this morning and throughout the day. There was a brief interlude where I managed to get out for a walk, though the last 200 metres I did get a real soaking as the heavens opened again.

The bit in between was good and despite a stiff southerly wind, the sun did come out and with it a few butterflies, bees and hoverflies.

Main highlight was my first ever Lesser Hornet Hoverfly (Volucella inanis), which does make me wonder whether I have overlooked others in the past and passed them off as Hornet Mimic Hoverfly (Volucella zonaria).

Butterflies seen were several "blue" butterflies, a Green-veined White, 2 Commas and a Large White.

Other than the Lesser Hornet Hoverfly, I came across Common Drone Fly and Marmalade Hoverfly.

In a couple of places I came across a few Wall Lizards with 2 in the grounds of St Andrew's Church and a juvenile just north of Rufus Castle.

I can't remember the last time I came across a Bloody-nosed Beetle (Timarcha tenebricosa), but I found one marching across the southwest coast path and another which was life expired.

Here are a few images from this afternoon:

This is a Lesser Hornet Hoverfly (Volucella inanis) and is........ first one on the island. It is slightly smaller than the similar Hornet Mimic Hoverfly (Volucella zonaria) and I came across it on the Mermaid Track..........

........where I also came across this bumblebee, which I'm struggling to ID. It looks like a Shrill Carder Bee (Bombus sylvarum) but they are very rare and found mainly in the South-east, along the M4 corridor and South Wales. More on Shrill Carder Bee Here. Most likely it is a Cuckoo Bee either a Gypsy Cuckoo Bumblebee (Bombus bohemicus) or Forest Cuckoo Bee (Bombus sylvestris). I'm just waiting for an ID.

A Bloody-nosed Beetle......
.......makes its way across the South-west coast path.
Good to see that a few Wall Lizards have produced............
...........a few little ones. This one was just off the South west Coast Path on the way down to Rufus Castle.
Here is an adult in the grounds of St Andrew's Church, which is probably the best place on the island to see them.

A Holly Blue
Rough Seas.
Its been awhile since the sea has been this rough.
Looking south across Church Ope Cove
The grounds of St Andrew's Church, still looking parched but the heavy rain this morning and late afternoon should help.
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9th August

Portland Bird Observatory - Thu, 08/09/2018 - 21:55
Yet another swing in the wind direction and a little cloud cover saw a small rush of migrants. Willow warblers surpassed 200 with 51 trapped in the crown estate fields and garden combined, 10 Sedge Warblers, 1 Chiffchaff, 12 Wheatears, 1 Garden Warbler, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Spotted Flycatcher and 2 Whinchats. We also received late news of a Marsh Harrier from two days previous. The highlight of todays sea watch came in the evening with 6 Sooty Shearwaters. The rest of the day saw: 11 Balearic Shearwaters, 5 Manx Shearwaters, 1 Arctic Skua, 6 Common Scoters, 10 Mediterranean Gulls, 2 Black-headed Gulls, 7 Oystercatchers and 1 Dunlin.

Ferrybridge was quiet compared to recent days with sightings including: 3 Curlew, 3 Sanderling, 53 Dunlin, 30 Ringed Plover and 1 Redshank.

There was a distinct decrease in migrant moths within the traps this morning generating the following totals: 41 Silver Y, 9 Dark Sword Grass, 23 Diamond-back Moths and 1 Rush Veenes. 

Wasp Spiders were introduced to the UK in the 1920's and have since colonised the South coast, Portland is no exception. The males will wait at the edge of the orb web spun by a female like this one and will only mate once she has moulted, before her fangs have re-hardened  ©Erin Taylor:
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Sightings - Thursday 09th August 2018

Dorset Bird Club - Thu, 08/09/2018 - 20:25
Great White Egret - 1 Abbotsbury Swannery
Spoonbill  - 6 Middlebere , 1 River Char, Charmouth
Avocet - 1 Middlebere
Ruff - 1 Lytchett Fields RSPB
Curlew Sandpiper - 1 Lytchett Fields RSPB 
Wood Sandpiper - 1 Lytchett Fields RSPB
Greenshank - 6 Middlebere
Whinchat - 1 Lytchett Fields RSPB 

*Late News for Yesterday - Wednesday 08th August - Dotterel 1 - Durlston CP*
Note.The elevated numbers of Osprey in Poole Harbour at present is due to the Osprey translocation scheme which is being carried out by the Birds of Poole Harbour charity and The Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation, for more information on this project follow the link below.

There are 1 or 2 adult birds hanging around which are not part of this project
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9 Aug 18

Martin Adlam - Thu, 08/09/2018 - 18:06

More painting on Star, Dawn and I are getting there slowly. A quick break and a scan across the Fleet revealed several Dunlin, Ringed Plover and Sanderling. Further out and close to Chesil Beach a Redshank was knee deep in the water. Also about 2 Sandwich Terns, 2 Oystercatchers, a Carrion Crow and 3 Ravens. The latter making their way south along the Portland Road.

The biggest highlight though was an Osprey over Portland Harbour. This one though was a Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey which has been in the area now for a couple of days or so. More on this aircraft Here.

A very distant shot of the Redshank on The Fleet. My first this year.
A bit closer an Osprey.............
.........which has been in the area for a couple of days now.
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Sightings - Wednesday 8th August 2018

Dorset Bird Club - Wed, 08/08/2018 - 22:14
Balearic Shearwater - 100+ past Portland Bill
Spoonbill - 6 Arne from Coombe viewpoint
Osprey - 2 Arne
Wood Sandpiper - 1 Lytchett Bay, 1 Holton Heath from Holton Lee Hide
Ringed Plover - 63 Ferrybridge
Sandwich Tern - 210 Christchurch Harbour
Common Tern - 85 Christchurch Harbour, 18 off Mudeford Quay
Black Tern - 1 Christchurch Harbour
Cuckoo - 1 Stoborough Heath yesterday
Wryneck - 1 Lulworth Camp (no public access)
Yellow Wagtail - 2 Wick
Redstart - 1 Durlston CP
Wheatear - 1 Ferrybridge
Wood Warbler - 1 Worth Matravers yesterday
Pied Flycatcher - 1 Ballard Down

Note.The elevated numbers of Osprey in Poole Harbour at present is due to the Osprey translocation scheme which is being carried out by the Birds of Poole Harbour charity and The Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation, for more information on this project follow the link below.
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8th August

Portland Bird Observatory - Wed, 08/08/2018 - 20:35
A switch in the wind altered our fortunes somewhat with the majority of records coming from the sea as opposed to the land, as they have in recent days. The undoubted highlight came from a constant stream of Balearic Shearwaters with the final mornings total reaching 127. Further counts included: 20 Manx Shearwaters, 5 Mediterranean Gulls, 1 Yellow-legged Gull, 2 Black-headed Gulls and 1 Sandwich Tern. Pied Flycatchers were conspicuous by their absence given recent days totals and just one was recorded at the Avalanche Hump, and there was a noticeable decline in Willow Warbler numbers with 39 recorded across the obs area. Other migrants included an early morning Grasshopper Warbler, a Garden Warbler weighing a whopping 23g, 3 Sedge Warblers, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Yellow Wagtail, 6 Wheatears and 2 Whinchats.

2 Curlew, 2 Sanderling, 30 Dunlin, 63 Ringed Plover, 9 Turnstone and 1 Wheatear were at Ferrybridge this AM.

A windy and cooler night produced 42 Silver Y, 51 Diamond-back Moths, 6 Dark Sword Grass, 1 Rush Veenes and 2 Rusty-dot Pearls.

With the recent land purchase in mind, we unearthed this advert from the sale of the Old Lower Light and attached quarry from 1907, the year after the current Bill lighthouse came into function. The lighthouse underwent many transformations between then and now, even becoming a tea room shortly after WW1. 

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6 Aug 18 - Speckled Bush Cricket

Birding in Poole Harbour and Beyond - Wed, 08/08/2018 - 18:00
Whilst doing some gardening, I found an adult female Speckled Bush Cricket. This is the third commonest Cricket & Grasshopper in my garden, behind Dark Bush Cricket (commonest) & Oak Bush Cricket. I also have had the occasional sighting of Great Green Bush Cricket, Grey Bush Cricket & Field Grasshopper in the garden over the last two decades.
Speckled Bush Cricket: FemaleThey are a common species in Dorset, especially in the East of the county.
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8 Aug 18

Martin Adlam - Wed, 08/08/2018 - 15:40
Portland Bird Observatory and Pasture Field

Its been awhile since I last visited the Obs and on arrival it was great to see a Painted Lady, 2 Red Admirals and 2 Wall Browns in the garden. Overhead were dozens of Swallows, with several feeding on insects just inches off the road surface on the main road at the Obs entrance.

Nothing to report from the Obs Quarry other than singles of Great Tit, Blackbird and a Skylark on the edge.

On the newly acquired pasture fields (See PBO Entry 27 Jul 18 Here) there were just a few butterflies seen, which didn't come as a surprise as the grass here is absolutely parched. What I did find were a few Common Blue Butterflies and several Meadow Browns.

Also on the field just one Six-spot Burnet moth and a Lime-speck Pug (Eupithecia centaureata) which was a bit of a surprise. Quite a few bees with a majority being Red-tailed Cuckoo-bees (Bombus rupestris) and a few Common Carder Bee (Bombus pascuorum).

Here are few images from this afternoon:

A Painted Lady in the Obs garden
Also here a Red Admiral.......
.......and one the two Wall Browns flitting around the paths and walls.
On the overhead telephone wires a few Swallows were having a rest whilst others.........
.........were flying up and down......
.......the road at the Obs entrance........
........catching insects........
........just inches from the surface.
Here a youngster has a go at catching insects.
A Wall Brown on the brambles on the way to the Obs Quarry.
The Obs Quarry with PBO in the background. It wont be long I'm sure, before this quarry will be filled with migrants such as warblers and other delights such as Wrynecks, stopping off for a break before heading off over the Channel to their winter quarters. several Meadow Browns
A faded Six-spot Burnet moth. Just the one seen.
A Lime-speck Pug was an unexpected find.
As above
And another shot.
A male Red-tailed Cuckoo-bee. A very numerous bumblebee on Portland
This is Greater Knapweed (Centaurea scabiosa) and found growing in dry grasslands. Well its certainly very dry in these fields.
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7th August

Portland Bird Observatory - Tue, 08/07/2018 - 22:36
This morning felt like a true autumnal morning with plenty of birds flicking around the garden at first light. This apparent passage passed very quickly with the warming weather and clearing skies. However, the numbers early on amassed to: 60+ Willow Warblers, 4 Pied Flycatchers, 1 Tree Pipit, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Chiffchaff, 6 Wheatears, 4 Sedge Warblers and 1 Whinchat. The highlight of the morning came from a Crossbill, originally seen flying over Culverwell, that then pitched briefly in the Holm Oak before flying well over the net and away. Sea totals were much the same as usual with: 4 Yellow-legged Gulls, 7 Mediterranean Gulls, 1 Black-headed Gull, 1 Sandwich Tern, 2 Common Scoter, 85 Manx Shearwater, 3 Balearic Shearwater, 1 Guillemot and 1 Whimbrel
Ferrybridge had an impressive number of Ringed Plovers with 50 recorded at the high tide. Other species included: 4 Sanderling, 5 Curlew, 1 Whimbrel, 36 Dunlin, 6 Little Tern, 9 Sandwich Terns, 1 Willow Warbler and 2 Wheatears
Moth numbers were slightly down on recent nights with: 19 Silver Y, 58 Diamond-back Moths, 6 Dark Sword Grass and 5 Rusty-dot Pearl
Wheatears are becoming increasingly conspicuous with double figures looming on the horizon  © Debby Saunders:

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Sightings - Tuesday 7th August 2018

Dorset Bird Club - Tue, 08/07/2018 - 21:44
Great White Egret - 1 Lodmoor
Garganey - 1 juv Longham Lakes
Spoonbill - 6 Middlebere, 3 Arne
Curlew Sandpiper - 1 Brownsea
Wood Sandpiper - 1 Sherford Pool, Lytchett Fields
Ruff - 1 Lodmoor
Sanderling - 5 Ferrybridge
Greenshank - 10 Lytchett Fields
Ringed Plover - 50 Ferrybridge
Yellow Wagtail - 1 Hengistbury Head
Wheatear - 2 Ferrybridge
Whinchat - 1 Portland, top fields
Whitethroat - 35 Hengistbury Head
Pied Flycatcher - 1 Portland, Pennsylvania Castle Wood, 4+ Lambert's Castle, 1 Durlston CP
Chaffinch - 1 melanistic glimpsed at Lambert's Castle

Other news - Swallowtail butterfly photographed recently at Redhill Common per Bournemouth  
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7 Aug 18

Martin Adlam - Tue, 08/07/2018 - 19:34
Mermaid Track, Rufus Castle, St Andrews Church and Pennsylvania Castle Wood.

A lovely walk today which ended up at Penn's Wood and briefly seeing a "brown" Pied Flycatcher before it flew into private gardens. At this time of year adult females, juveniles of both sexes can all look very similar.

In fact many years ago I was privileged to be at The Hurst, the home of the late Playwright John Osborne, accompanying Julian Langford a BTO ringer from the Shropshire Ornithological Society.

Julian and I were given access to the Hurst and the woods close-by, owned by the Sainsbury's family, to ring Pied Flycatchers. What was noticeable from the onset, was the variation in colours with brown males, dark females and the normal colouration's. The hills north of Clun are alive with Pied Flycatchers and it was certainly an eyeopener to see so many different colouration's between adult birds.

Also about several Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers making their way south along the hedgerows and trees between the Mermaid Track and Church Ope Cove. Overhead at Rufus Castle were 3 very vocal Ravens, which having sorted out their "issues" all headed south towards Southwell.

There was definitely an increase in the number of Wall Lizards with at least 10 seen. The past few weeks has seen just the odd glimpse, but with the temperature dropping a few degrees, they seem a lot happier to come out and bask.

A few "blue" butterflies about and lots of Small Whites. Just 2 Meadow Browns and 3 Speckled Woods seen and that was it.

Also seen was a possible Short-winged Conehead (Conocephalus dorsalis), funnily enough in the same area where the pink Meadow Cricket was seen, but today.

Here are a few images from today in order of the walk.

This caterpillar of the Lime Hawk-moth was making its way down Wakeham.
A pair of "blue" Butterflies.
Not sure whether this is a Short-winged Conehead (Conocephalus dorsalis) or a Long Winged Cone-head (Conocephalus fuscus). apparently its down to the wing size. I think this probably a male Short-winged Conehead, but I will check. Whatever one it is, it's my first on Portland.

Another "blue" butterfly
One of the 3 Ravens over Rufus Castle.
Great to see the Wall Lizards out in fairly good numbers. This one on the steps leading down to Church Ope Cove from Rufus Castle.

A nice close-up of one.
A Speckled Wood
Its either a Meadow or Field Grasshopper. There are lots of both species along the pathways.
Another "blue" Butterfly, this one on a Hemp Agrimony in the grounds of St Andrew's Church where..........

......there were several Wall Lizards.
And another.
And one more.
A Common Dronefly - Eristalis tenax
Common Carder Bee - Bombus pascuorum
Small Garden Bumblebee - Bombus hortorum
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18 Apr 18 - Atlantic Odyssey - Day Twenty: A Run Ashore At St Helena (Part 2)

Birding in Poole Harbour and Beyond - Tue, 08/07/2018 - 18:00
Having got to the bottom of Jacob's Ladder, I realised that life on St Helena wasn't always as laid back as it appeared on the surface.
Parking infringements are taken very seriously: A cannonball is a bit extreme, but a good deterrent
Parking rules are quite detailed The local nickNapoleon Street: Named after the most famous visitor. Although he was incarcerated at the other side of the islandNapoleon statue: Putting on his best Gordon Brown smile
Cannon bollard: Just like Swanage back home which has a lot of Napoleonic era cannons as bollards After a look around Jamestown, then I decided to head off to Anne's Place to meet up with Glenn for a cuppa & some lunch. The cafe/bar is easy to find as it is in the only small park in lower Jamestown.
The small park
White Tern: The trees in the park provided a shady nest site for some of the White Terns
I like the humour of the local Saints
St Helena Moggie
Old anchor & Fig Tree
Anne's Place
Anne's Place: It has a good atmosphere insideDoc Laura: Catching up on news from the outside worldCommon Myna: Another introduced species which originates in Iran to the India Subcontinent to South East Asia
African Monarch: There were a couple feeding in the small park next to Anne's Place
Sean Browne: Chimping the African Monarch photos
After lunch it was time to head back to the Plancius as Glenn & I were booked to go on a trip to the Sperry Islands to look for the local Band-rumped Storm-petrels & other Seabirds.St Helena Roller: Apparently, it is owned by one of the hotel owners & must be horrendously expensive to run as we were told it managed 6 miles per gallon. Still it looked perfect for the island
Wirebird: The only surviving St Helena endemic Bird. There are sub-fossil remains of a Petrel, Shearwater, Crake, Swamphen, Dove, Cuckoo & Hoopoe
Michael Frauendorfer getting a short run ashore: Michael, along with Zsuzsanna, were the two hotel managers on the Plancius who was responsible for all the accommodation & catering onboard. Both put in long hours to ensure an excellent experience for the passengers
This check post box looks to have been around for many years
Another example of Saints humour: But a bit of reality as well, given Land Rovers are probably the best suited & maintainable vehicles on St Helena
Common Myna: These platforms were erected to replace the nesting ledges used by the White Terns before the cliffs were covered in the retaining wire
White Tern: A recently fledged White Tern
Sally Lightfoot Crab (Grapsus adscensionis): There were a few scrambling around the harbour rocks. This species occurs in the Eastern Atlantic, but has also colonised Ascension island & St Helena
Sally Lightfoot Crab: They have quite a variable colouration
While we were waiting after lunch for the boat there were a few Red-billed Tropicbirds & White Terns flying around the harbour.Red-billed TropicbirdWhite Tern: This is the nominate alba subspecies which occurs at the Brazilian Fernando de Noronha & Trindade Islands, as well as, St Helena & Ascension Island
White Tern: I like the shadows on the second individual
White TernWe returned to Anne's Place for a meal & drinks ashore in the evening.
Kev Bollington (left) & Mike Deverell: Heading off for evening food & drinksJacob's LadderCommon House Gecko: We were pleased to finally see this Gecko. Somebody had claimed one on Tristan da Cunha where they don't occur & it became a standing joke in ever log after that until we finally saw some in the toilets of Anne's PlaceCommon House Gecko: They are another introduced species. The nature range is India, South East Asia, Indonesia, New Guinea & Northern Australia
A number of the Wildwings punters returned to Anne's Place in the evening: Phil Hansbro was happy to get a chip buttie as apparently, they haven't worked out how to prepare this typical British cuisine in his adopted Australia
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Abbotsbury Swannery Bird Sightings - May 2018

Swannery Steve - Tue, 08/07/2018 - 15:30
Arguably the best bird of the month was the long overdue first European Bee-eater for The Swannery, seen and videoed by Joe Stockwell. Also in contention was a putative ‘Siberian Common Tern’, presumably the regularly returning individual and a 'Continental Coal Tit' the first confirmed sighting of this form at The Swannery. Also noteworthy were a Garganey, a lingering Greater Scaup, up to three Western Ospreys, a Little Gull, at least three Arctic Terns, a Roseate Tern and a Short-eared Owl.

The putative 'Siberian Common Tern', Abbotsbury Swannery, May 2018 © Steve Groves.

The Month's Bird News In Full...More details of the above highlights and the rest of this month's sightings...

Canada Goose... Present throughout with 69 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 20th.
Barnacle Goose... The lingering bird was present until the 13th, whilst four flew south east on the 22nd.
Brent Goose (Brant Goose)... One of the Russian (dark-bellied) breeding form was present on the 2nd .
Snow Goose... One on the 26th (a presumed escape) was believed to be the same individual seen last month.

Snow Goose, Abbotsbury Swannery, May 2018 © Joe Stockwell
Snow Goose, Abbotsbury Swannery, May 2018 © Steve Groves

Greylag Goose... One on the 5th, three on the 12th/13thand one on the 29th.
Black Swan… Two were present for much of the month.
Mute Swan... Present throughout with 670 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 20th.

Mute Swan (2nd calendar year) & Snow Goose, Abbotsbury Swannery, May 2018
© Steve Groves

Common Shelduck... Present throughout with 62 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 20th.Common Shelduck (duckling), Abbotsbury Swannery, May 2018 © Steve Groves
Northern Shoveler… Present through much of the month with a peak of seven on the 15th.
Garganey... A drake was present on the 22nd.
Gadwall... Present throughout with a peak of eight on the 26th.
Eurasian Wigeon... A single drake remained throughout.
Mallard... Present throughout with 88 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 20th.
Northern Pintail... A female with wing damage remained all month and a confiding (presumed escaped) drake was also seen regularly.

Northern Pintail (drake), Abbotsbury Swannery, May 2018 © Steve Groves
Eurasian Teal... 20 were still present on the 1st but by the 3rd only a single drake remained and it lingered for the rest of the month.
Common Pochard... Present throughout with a peak of 26 on the 26th.

Common Pochard (drake), Abbotsbury Swannery, May 2018 © Steve Groves
Tufted Duck... Present throughout with a peak of 30 on the 8th.
Greater Scaup... The lingering second calendar year female was present until the 15th.
Common Scoter... One, a female, was present from the 3rdto the 6th.
Red-breasted Merganser... One on the 1st.
Common Pheasant... Present throughout.
Little Grebe... One on the 8th.
Great Crested Grebe... Present throughout with 31 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 20th.
Great Crested Grebe, Abbotsbury Swannery, May 2018 © Steve Groves
Grey Heron... Singles were seen regularly.
Little Egret... Present throughout with three counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 20th.
Great Cormorant... Present throughout with around 20 roosting nightly.
Western Osprey... Singles on the 12th, 14th and 22nd.
Eurasian Sparrowhawk... Singles were seen regularly.
Western Marsh Harrier... Singles were seen regularly but at least two individuals were seen on the 7th and 23rd.

Western Marsh Harrier, Abbotsbury Swannery, May 2018 © Joe Stockwell
Red Kite... An unprecedented movement took place between the 6thand 26th mostly involving single figures but with at least 25 west on the 14th and a staggering 58 west on the 15th.

Red Kite (& Rook), Abbotsbury Swannery, May 2018 © Joe StockwellRed Kites, Abbotsbury Swannery, May 2018 © Joe Stockwell

Common Buzzard... Present throughout.
Water Rail... A dead chick was found on the 22ndindicating proof of breeding (a rarely proven event) but no adults were seen or heard.
Common Moorhen... Present throughout with 9 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 20th.
Eurasian Coot... Present throughout with 28 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 20th.
Eurasian Oystercatcher… Present throughout with a peak of 13 on the 9thwhich included three nesting pairs.

Eurasian Oystercatcher, Abbotsbury Swannery, May 2018 © Steve Groves

Eurasian Oystercatchers (chick & adult), Abbotsbury Swannery, May 2018 © Joe Stockwell

Pied Avocet… One on the 13th and two on the 19th.

Above images Pied Avocets, Abbotsbury Swannery, May 2018© Steve Groves. The colour marked bird was believed to be ringed in France

Northern Lapwing... Last month’s individual remained into this month and was last seen on the 14th.
Grey Plover... Singles on the 6th, 12th, 17thand 28th.
Common Ringed Plover... Seen regularly with a peak of eight on the 23rd.

Common Ringed Plover, Abbotsbury Swannery, May 2018 © Joe Stockwell

Whimbrel... Seen regularly with a peak of at least 20 on the 6th.
Bar-tailed Godwit... Seen regularly with a peak of five on the 12th.

Black-tailed Godwit... Seen regularly with a peak of 10 on the 28th. All were of the Icelandic breeding form.

Above images Black-tailed Godwits, Abbotsbury Swannery, May 2018© Steve Groves
Ruddy Turnstone... Seen regularly with a peak of 11 on the 22nd.

Above images Black-tailed Ruddy Turnstones, Abbotsbury Swannery, May 2018© Steve GrovesRuddy Turnstone, Abbotsbury Swannery, May 2018 © Joe Stockwell

Red Knot... One was present on the 23rd/24th and two were seen on the 27th.
Sanderling... Seen regularly with a peak of 19 on the 29th.
Dunlin... Seen regularly with a peak of  at least 100 on the 9th.

Above images Dunlins, Abbotsbury Swannery, May 2018 © Steve Groves
Common Sandpiper… Singles on the 1st, 6th, 7thand 17th.

Above images Dunlins, Abbotsbury Swannery, May 2018 © Joe Stockwell
Common Redshank... Seen regularly with a peak of three on the 24th.
Common Greenshank... Four on the 6th.
Black-headed Gull... Present throughout with 39 counted during the Wetland Bird Survey on the 20th.
Little Gull... One (a second calendar year) was present on the 19th.
Mediterranean Gull... Seen regularly with a peak of seven on the 29th.
Common Gull (Mew Gull)... At least two were still present on the 1stbut the only other sightings were of singles on the 7th and 30th.

Common Gull (2nd calendar year), Abbotsbury Swannery, May 2018 © Joe Stockwell

Great Black-backed Gull... Present throughout with a peak of at least 50 on the 1st.

European Herring Gull... Present throughout with a peak of at least 250 on the 12th.
Sandwich Tern... Seen regularly with a peak of at least 10 on the 7th.
Roseate Tern... One on the 31st.
Common Tern... Present throughout with a peak of at least 100 on the 14th. The regularly returning individual showing characters of the Siberian breeding form was seen on the 24th.

The putative 'Siberian Common Tern', Abbotsbury Swannery, May 2018 © Steve Groves.
Here the redness of the tongue shows that the bill really is black and not just a light affect. There were other dark-billed Common Terns present but none had quite such black bare parts as this bird or had the distinctive 'feel' of this individual.

Common Terns (Adult & 2nd calendar year), Abbotsbury Swannery, May 2018
© Joe Stockwell
Common Terns, Abbotsbury Swannery, May 2018 © Joe Stockwell

Arctic Tern... One on the 1st and at least two on the 16th.

Arctic Tern, Abbotsbury Swannery, May 2018 © Joe Stockwell
Rock Dove... Feral/Domestic birds were seen regularly.
Stock Dove... Seen regularly.
Common Wood Pigeon... Present throughout.
Eurasian Collared Dove... Present throughout.

Western Barn Owl... Singles on the 29th and 31st.
Short-eared Owl... One flew north on the 27th, the first since November 2016 and the first in spring since April 2010.
Common Swift... Seen regularly with a peak of 50 on the 16th.

European Bee-eater... 
What was perhaps surprisingly the first for The Swannery flew north on the 26th.
Great Spotted Woodpecker... Seen regularly.

European Green Woodpecker... 
Seen regularly.

Common Kestrel... One or two were seen regularly.

Hobby... Singles on the 7th and 25th were the first since August 2017.
Peregrine Falcon... Singles on the 2nd, 5th, 11thand 29th.
Eurasian Magpie... Present throughout.
Western Jackdaw... Present throughout.
Rook... Present throughout.
Carrion Crow... Present throughout.
Northern Raven... Seen regularly.
Coal Tit... The only sighting was of one present on the 5th and it was the first confirmed record of an individual of the Continental form for The Swannery!
Eurasian Blue Tit... Present throughout.
Great Tit... Present throughout.
Eurasian Skylark... Present throughout.
Sand Martin... Seen regularly until the 17th, with a peak of 100 on the 16th.
Barn Swallow... Present throughout, with a peak of 100 on the 16th.
Common House Martin... Seen regularly until the 17th, with a peak of 50 on the 16th.
Cetti's Warbler... Present throughout.
Long-tailed Tit... Present throughout.
Willow Warbler... Seen regularly until the 7th, with a peak of over 10 on the 4th.
Common Chiffchaff... Present throughout.
Sedge Warbler... Present throughout.
Eurasian Reed Warbler... Present throughout.
Eurasian Blackcap... Present throughout.
Garden Warbler... One on the 22nd.
Lesser Whitethroat... At least three singing males were present throughout.
Common Whitethroat... Present throughout with at least five seen/heard on the 7th.
Goldcrest... Present throughout.
Eurasian Wren... Present throughout.
Eurasian Nuthatch... One on the 1st.
Eurasian Treecreeper... Seen regularly.
Common Starling... Singles on the 7th, 19th and 27th.
Common Blackbird... Present throughout.
Song Thrush... Present throughout.
Mistle Thrush... A pair were present to the 5th only.
Spotted Flycatcher... One on the 12th, three on the 14thand one on the 29th.
European Robin... Present throughout.
European Pied Flycatcher... Two on the 29th were the first since August 2016!
Northern Wheatear... Three on the 4th, two on the 5th, one on the 7th and one on the 27th. At least three of these, if not all, were of the Greenland breeding form.

Northern Wheatear, Linton Hill above Abbotsbury Swannery, May 2018 © Steve Groves

House Sparrow... Present throughout.
Dunnock... Present throughout.
Western Yellow Wagtail... Two on the 2nd and singles on the 11th and 16th.

Western Yellow Wagtail, Abbotsbury Swannery, May 2018 © Joe Stockwell
Pied Wagtail (White Wagtail) ... Present throughout.

Above images Pied Wagtails, Abbotsbury Swannery, May 2018 © Steve Groves
Meadow Pipit... One on the 2nd only. Sadly none held territory this year.
Common Chaffinch... Present throughout.
Eurasian Bullfinch... Seen or at least heard regularly.
European Greenfinch... After being extremely scarce so far this year it was good to see a return to form from the 11th on, with at least one pair holding territory.
Common Linnet... Present throughout.
European Goldfinch... Present throughout.
Common Reed Bunting... Present throughout.

... And that's it for this month except to say thanks to my work colleagues for additional sightings and additional images, particularly Joe Stockwell and Charlie Wheeler but also Kev Butler, Phil Jenks and Jonny White. Also thanks to the WeBS counters ... Alan Barrett and Nick Urch.
I'll leave you with a couple of Joe Stockwell's dragonfly images from this month...

Above images male & Female Broad-bodied Chasers, Abbotsbury Swannery,
May 2018
 © Joe Stockwell

June's sightings to follow shortly.
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Sightings - Monday 6th August 2018

Dorset Bird Club - Tue, 08/07/2018 - 00:10
Great White Egret - 1 Lodmoor
Purple Heron - 1 juvenile Littlesea, Studland
Spoonbill - 1 Stanpit
Osprey - 1 Arne
Marsh Harrier - 1 Stanpit
Curlew Sandpiper - 1 Stanpit
Common Sandpiper - 4 Stanpit
Sanderling - 7 Ferrybridge
Wood Sandpiper - 1 Lytchett Fields, 1 Abbotsbury
Ruff - 1 Stanpit
Whimbrel - 7 Stanpit
Wheatear - 2 Ferrybridge
Pied Flycatcher - 1 Portland, 1 Winspit
Grasshopper Warbler - 1 Durlston

Dunlin count yesterday was 82 at Stanpit (not Sanderling) Apologies for error.

Ring-necked Parakeet - 1reported in a Child Oakford garden Yesterday.
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6 Aug 18

Martin Adlam - Mon, 08/06/2018 - 23:41

I'm always busy. You would think that being semi-retired you would have more time on your hands, but apparently not. So after a busy day, it was a late afternoon sat in the back garden just chilling out.

Main highlight was my first Small Copper butterfly in the garden, which, had I'd been a bit quicker with the camera, would have made a lovely photo I'm sure.

Still pretty enough for a shot was a Red Admiral, which was flitting between plants and laying eggs. I hadn't realised that it's not just nettles it lays its eggs on, but also Pellitory-of-the-wall (Parietaria judaica), of which there are a few plants growing on the wall in the back garden.

Also about was the Pied Hoverfly again, this time having a drink from the pond, several Marmalade Hoverflies, a Common Drone Fly, lots of Honeybees, 2 Red-tailed Cuckoo-bees, a micro moth to ID and a frog hopper sp.

Here a few images from this afternoon:

A Red Admiral checking out the Lighthouse.
A male Red-tailed Bumblebee.
Lots of Marmalade hoverflies about........
........and another.
A Pied Hoverfly
Common Drone Fly
Common Wasp
A micro moth.......
....and a very small one to ID
One of the Frog Hoppers. Not sure which yet.
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6th August

Portland Bird Observatory - Mon, 08/06/2018 - 22:46
A day of quality over quantity, despite the ringing totals reaching a meagre 13 there was a noticeable movement of birds over head. The first Garden Warbler of the autumn was trapped in the crown estate field and 2 fly-over Tree Pipits were an encouraging sign of things to come. Other totals included: 7 Pied Flycatchers, 23 Willow Warblers, 2 Chiffchaffs, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 3 Sedge Warblers, 2 Wheatears, a Lapwing and a Whimbrel in the top fields and a reeling Grasshopper Warbler. The passage of Swifts once again increased with 110 birds heading out to sea, 30 Swallows were also seen departing accompanied by 5 Sand Martins. The sea continued to produce a few waders on top of the regulars: 3 Sandwich Terns, 5 Yellow-legged Gulls, 7 Mediterranean Gulls, 8 Black-headed Gulls, 2 Ringed Plovers, 1 Turnstone and 3 Sanderlings. A Greenshank past Blacknor was also of note.

Ferrybridge was comparatively quiet compared to recent wader totals with: 7 Sanderling, 15 Turnstone, 3 Curlew, 1 Sandwich Tern and 2 Wheatears.

The moths returned to form with only our regulars putting on any kind of performance, 35 Silver Y, 8 Dark Sword Grass and 77 Diamond-back Moths.

It doesn't feel like Portland when the Willow Warblers have gone, its good to have them feeding up close and personal again before they depart for Africa ©Erin Taylor:

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18 Apr 18 - Atlantic Odyssey - Day Twenty: A Run Ashore At St Helena (Part 1)

Birding in Poole Harbour and Beyond - Mon, 08/06/2018 - 18:00
Finally, it was my turn to get onto a zodiac to go ashore on the first morning to explore St Helena. I was looking forward to seeing this interesting British Overseas territory. St Helena was discovered in 1502 by Portuguese sailor Joao da Nova on his return from India. In true fashion of the day, the Portuguese introduced animals, mainly Goats, but also Pigs, Rats, Cats & Dogs. Also, they introduced fruit trees & left a few sick sailors there. However, they didn't establish a permanent settlement. The island was used as a useful refuelling stopover as it had a plentiful supply of fresh water. Sir Francis Drake is believed to have been the first English explorer to see the island on his round the world voyage of 1577 - 1580. The next English man to visit was Thomas Cavendish who stayed for 12 days in 1588. With the island becoming better known to the English, English privateers started to raid Portuguese & Spanish ships on their way from the Far East. As a result, the Portuguese & Spanish ships stopped visiting St Helena. The Dutch went on to claim St Helena in 1633, but again didn't formally occupy the island. Finally, the East India Company were given a charter to govern the island by Olivier Cromwell in 1657 & they quickly went on to fortify & colonise the island. In 1660, the fort was renamed James Fort & the town as Jamestown following the restoration of the monarchy when James II became the King. It is now the second oldest British colony (after Bermuda). Within a couple of decades, the colonists had managed to clear most of the surviving indigenous forest, helped by the impacts of the introduced animals. A census in 1723, put the population at just over 1100, including just over 600 slaves. By 1800, the garrison had increased to 1000 soldiers. Following the capture of Napoleon Bonaparte at the Battle of Waterloo, the British chose St Helena to imprison him. Having previously escaped from the island of Elba in the Mediterranean, the British had no desire to see him escape again. He lived on the island until his death in May 1821. In 1834, St Helena was formally transferred from the East India Company to the British Crown. In 1997, St Helena was changed to be a British Overseas Territory. The current population was 4255 in 2008.
Finally, ashore on the quayside: Note, the cliffs are protected to stop rocks failingThe quayside buildings: These buildings would have been replaced long ago with bland concrete replacements had they been in the UK
Java Sparrow: There were a few grovelling around the containers. Assuming they are not causing an environmental problem in St Helena, it is perhaps good they are established here, given then are severely persecuted for the Indonesian Bird trade Another old land rover that has lasted well The memorial to the crew lost in the sinking of the RFA DarkdaleEven the two world wars affected St Helena with islanders killed servicing with UK forcesThe Ladder Hill Fort
I'm always happy to see some old defensive gun emplacements The fort entrance gateThe fort entrance gate: Good to see the old historical look hasn't changedAll terribly BritishThe main high street & churchThe local bobby gets to deal with some awkward repobates at timesJacob's Ladder: I quickly left Glenn & the others and headed to climb Jacob's Ladder. This was originally constructed in 1829 to connect the town with the garrison in the Ladder Hill Fort above to allow transportation of goods between the two sites. Originally, there was a two carriage tramway, as well as, the steps. However, due to termite damage from introduced termites the carriages were removed in 1871. There are 699 steps at an average incline of 40%. I can testify that it is a steep old climb & just as tough on the knees coming back down. Still it had to be climbed Christophe Gouraud: The French member of the expedition staff. He wisely walked down the gentle, but long slope of the road to the town. I walked back down the steps & it took 2 or 3 days for the knees to recover from the fast walk back downAnne's Place cafe & bar: This looked a good place to grab a bite. The staff were great & we kept returning for food & drink whilst we were ashore. Wifi attracted some of the passengers, but having told family & friends I was going to be out of contact for the whole voyage, I wasn't bothered about email updatesOnly 100 steps & I needed a breather to take a photoView over the town: The town has retained its great old-fashioned lookJacob's Ladder: The halfway point, although it seemed I had got further up
Common Myna: With the Plancius in the background The hillside has a few plants growing on it: All of the big ones looked introduced to my non-plant eyesPrickly Pear: This is a native of the Southern US, Mexico & South America. It was introduced around the British empire as it provided a good dark red dye. The fruits are edible (if you can remove all the spines) & it can also be made into a drink. However, it is generally regarded as a weed on St Helena these daysJacob's Ladder: Obviously, I only stopped to have my photo taken, not as an excuse for a breakJacob's Ladder: Some of the steps are in need of repairJacob's Ladder: Just another 150 steps to the top. The current record to ascend the 180 metres in elevation is 5 minutes, 16 seconds. My 15 minutes including Birding timeThe view over the bay & the town: The steps are as steep as they look
Another view of the town
The upper town
Part of the fortifications at the top of the steps
The defences on the other side of the steps
The final step The full panoramic view of Jamestown
When I got to the top I found Christophe photographing the introduced Yellow Canaries
Yellow Canary: Male on the left & female/immature on the right
Yellow Canary: Male. This introduced species is a resident from Angola to South Africa. They really are cracking when seen well
Some of the buildings at the top of the steps
The close building retained its Royal Engineers emblem
This building looks to have had a very colonial history
The Ladder Hill Fort
A good military flag post
The Ladder Hill Fort: It doesn't look like it has changed much since it was built (if you take away the street furniture)
Some of the barracks within the Ladder Hill Fort
This looks like an old gun emplacement: Which is being turned into a garden
The hills around Jamestown are dry & barren
Zebra Dove: Another introduced species. The native range occurs from Burma, through Thailand, Malaysia to Indonesian Sumatra, Java to Lombok. They also occur in the Philippines
Finally, it was time to face the walk down the steps: It was that steep it was good to have the railings to hang onto. I almost made it down in one go without stopping, but ended up spending a minute photographing the Madagascar Red Fody
Madagascar Red Fody: A male just moulting into full plumage
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Fire destroys 3 hectares of Upton Heath nature reserve

Dorset Wildlife Trust - Mon, 08/06/2018 - 14:49

Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT) is starting a clean-up operation following a fire which has destroyed 3 hectares of heathland on its Upton Heath nature reserve, near Corfe Mullen.

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