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Bird-cherry Ermine

Nature of Dorset Reference Database - Sun, 07/29/2018 - 18:45

A common immigrant species in the soputh of England

 

Photograph by: Portland Bird Observatory The records for this species have been organised into reports, charts, maps and photos. Click a pic below to see the detail: Sites List Distribution Map Distribution Map Some Charts Some Photographs Original Tweets Relatives Guidance Notes
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Yellow-legged Clearwing

Nature of Dorset Reference Database - Sun, 07/29/2018 - 18:43

Widespread but not often seen occurring in parks and open deciduous woodland

 

Photograph by: Marcus Lawson The records for this species have been organised into reports, charts, maps and photos. Click a pic below to see the detail: Sites List Distribution Map Distribution Map Some Charts Some Photographs Original Tweets Relatives Guidance Notes
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White Satin

Nature of Dorset Reference Database - Sun, 07/29/2018 - 18:39

Mainly a coastal species in Dorset

 

Photograph by: Debby Saunders The records for this species have been organised into reports, charts, maps and photos. Click a pic below to see the detail: Sites List Distribution Map Distribution Map Some Charts Some Photographs Original Tweets Relatives Guidance Notes
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Cypress Carpet

Nature of Dorset Reference Database - Sun, 07/29/2018 - 18:37

Larvae feed on leylandii hedging and so found in gardens with leylandii hedges - a recent coloniser probably brought in on imported leylandii plants

 

Photograph by: Debby Saunders The records for this species have been organised into reports, charts, maps and photos. Click a pic below to see the detail: Sites List Distribution Map Distribution Map Some Charts Some Photographs Original Tweets Relatives Guidance Notes
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Festoon

Nature of Dorset Reference Database - Sun, 07/29/2018 - 18:34

Although mainly a woodland species it also occurs in scrubby habiats and also heath where oak occurs

 

Photograph by: Luke Phillips The records for this species have been organised into reports, charts, maps and photos. Click a pic below to see the detail: Sites List Distribution Map Distribution Map Some Charts Some Photographs Original Tweets Relatives Guidance Notes
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Boxworm Moth

Nature of Dorset Reference Database - Sun, 07/29/2018 - 18:32

An Asia species introduced with imported box plants on which it feeds and is considered a 'pest'

 

Photograph by: Nick Hull The records for this species have been organised into reports, charts, maps and photos. Click a pic below to see the detail: Sites List Distribution Map Distribution Map Some Charts Some Photographs Original Tweets Relatives Guidance Notes
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Great Oak Beauty

Nature of Dorset Reference Database - Sun, 07/29/2018 - 18:29

An uncommon species found in southern oak woodlands where the larvae feed on the leaves of pedunculate oak

 

Photograph by: Luke Phillips The records for this species have been organised into reports, charts, maps and photos. Click a pic below to see the detail: Sites List Distribution Map Distribution Map Some Charts Some Photographs Original Tweets Relatives Guidance Notes
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29 Jul 18

Martin Adlam - Sun, 07/29/2018 - 17:41
Out and About

Rain stopped play today. I never thought I'd say that this Summer. After several weeks of baking hot weather, the heavens opened this morning and boy did it rain. Both water butts are full, the pond refilled and the plants well watered.

Needless to say not much to report other than a pair of House Martins still at their nest site by the Co-Op in Wyke Regis, a lone Swift over Easton and a Curlew at Ferrybridge.

Hopefully more tomorrow.
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Reports of interest, Saturday 28th July 2018.

Dorset Bird Club - Sun, 07/29/2018 - 00:19
Storm Petrel - 1 Hengistbury Head.
Manx Shearwater - 239 past Portland Bill in 1 hour.
Balearic Shearwater - 26 past Portland Bill.
CORY'S SHEARWATER - 1 possible past Portland Bill.
Osprey - 3 RSPB Lytchett Bay.
Whimbrel - 2 Portland Bill, 6 Stanpit.
Common Sandpiper - 2 Christchurch Harbour.
Green Sandpiper - 1 Holton Lee.
Greenshank - 3 Christchurch Harbour.
Arctic Skua - 1 pale-phase Ferrybridge.
Yellow-Legged Gull - 6 Portland sites.
Yellow Wagtail - 1 Holton Lee.

Late news:  A Great Shearwater from a boat east of Portland yesterday.

Juvenile Stonechat at Hengistbury Head © John Wareham
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28th July

Portland Bird Observatory - 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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28 Jul 18

Martin Adlam - Sat, 07/28/2018 - 18:40
Mermaid Track and Rufus Castle

A much shorter and faster walk this afternoon, as another hefty shower threatened. As I left the cottage it was wall to wall blue sky, but a hundred metres down the road and those black clouds rolled in again. For once (I normally get caught out) the edge of the shower was just north of me, so I was saved a soaking.

With gusts up to 40 mph, I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised to only see 1 Chalk Hill Blue and 2 Six-spot Burnet moths. And apart from a 3 inch juvenile Wall Lizard that was it.

A lone Chalk Hill Blue
One of just two Six-spot Burnet Moths found.
And looks are deceptive, this is a very tiny Wall Lizard..........
....all of 3 inches I reckon.
Wakeham

Well the promised rain did arrive today. Once in the early hours of the morning and again mid-afternoon. Unfortunately it will probably do more harm than good, especially with the grass. Any light surface water, as most people know, will only encourage the roots to turn upwards, only to be burnt off by the baking sun. Not that it would make any difference in my back garden, the grass has been replaced by hard packed soil!

Before this afternoons squally shower came in off the sea, a Comma visited the hanging banana, which has been fermenting away now for a good week or so. I got the idea from a Twitter Feed Here and though it's taken awhile, it does work.

This Comma has found the over-ripe banana I placed in a bird feeder in the back garden.
It's taken awhile, but it does at least prove that fermenting bananas work. I'm sure other fruits would work just as well such as oranges, grapefruits, cantelope, strawberries, peaches, nectarines, kiwi, apples, pears and watermelon. With bananas, apparently freezing them and then thawing them, turns them to mush which is especially popular with butterflies. Some species even love a “brew” of rotting fruit, molasses, beer, and brown sugar.
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27th July

Portland Bird Observatory - 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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Sightings - Friday 27th July 2018

Dorset Bird Club - Fri, 07/27/2018 - 22:19
Garganey - 1 over Abbotsbury Swannery
Osprey - 1 Middlebere
Sanderling - 6 Hengistbury Head, 3 Abbotsbury Swannery
Common Sandpiper - 4 Lytchett Fields RSPB
Spotted Redshank - 1 Abbotsbury Swannery
Greenshank - 2 Hengistbury Head

Juvenile Siskin  © Roger Hargraves
Greenshank at Holloway's Dock, Hengistbury Head © Clinton WhaleSanderling, Hengistbury Head © Clinton Whale
Greenshank at Holloway's Dock, Hengistbury Head © Clinton Whale
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Blog Post: July 2018 RSPB Radipole Lake Update

RSPB Weymouth Wetlands - Fri, 07/27/2018 - 17:36
July has seen a very parched Radipole Lake and Lodmoor with the vegetation being tinder dry.  Several locations over the country have reported wildfires.  This week Lodmoor has been no exception.  On Tuesday 24th July, six fire engines attended a blaze which started at the Lodmoor Recycling Centre.  The cloud of smoke could be seen for miles around Weymouth and from the coast. Four hectares of waste ground around the Recycling Centre were burnt.  It was thanks to the prompt action of the Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service that our reserve at Lodmoor was saved from devastation but the fire came very close to the boundary.  Dramatic footage of the aftermath of the blaze can be seen on our Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/DWFire/videos/1950673841663366/?t=11   The RSPB expressed thanks to the fire service and renewed calls for the public to be vigilant about the dangers of fires during prolonged spells of hot weather. Meanwhile Radipole Lake had a fire of its own near the concrete bridge,perhaps caused from a discarded cigarette.Thankfully only a small patch was affected. Next, more positive news.  The female Marsh Harrier is still being seen, early morning and late evening is the best time to see it. It's generally a quiet time for our birds. Having been very busy breeding and feeding their young, many have now gone into their summer moult so are resting and lying low from potential predators. There are still young chicks around on the reserve, Coots, Moorhens and Great Crested Grebes all still have young families. A Tufted Duck has a very young family of TEN chicks to look after. Despite the lack of rain and dry ground, there are flowers to be seen around the reserve. Monbretia is a non native plant but it does provide welcome splashes of colour along the paths.   The Purple Loosestrife and Marsh Woundwort are at their peak, as are the Ribbed Melilot, Wild Carrot, Stone Parsley, Meadowsweet, Fleabane and Red Bartsia.  The Buddleia is attracting Red Admiral, Comma, Speckled Wood, Small White and Painted Lady Butterflies. Our hardworking volunteers had their summer party at the Discovery Centre his month. On this occasion, several volunteers received long service awards including Betty and Chris who have both been with us for over 20 years..  The staff at Radipole Lake would like to thank all the volunteers for hard work, support and loyalty over the years. We couldn't manage without you! For 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 :  Weymouth.reserves@rspb.org.uk Website :  www.rspb.org/radipolelake
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27 Jul 18

Martin Adlam - Fri, 07/27/2018 - 17:19
Mermaid Track, Rufus Castle, St Andrews Church and Pennsylvania Castle Wood.

A lot cooler today under a welcome cloud cover. The sun did try to come out and when it did briefly you could really feel the heat. Hopefully the rain, forecast over the next few days will give us all some welcome rest bite. With the ground so hard though, there's going to be some real run off before it soaks in. Sand Bags are ready!

Main highlights today were in the grounds of St Andrew's Church where I came across my first Hornet Mimic Hoverfly (Volucella zonaria) of the year. This is a month later than my first one here on 26 Jun 17. Also here was a very busy Hummingbird Hawkmoth on the buddleia and 2 Painted Lady's.

Going back to the start of my walk there were dozens of Chalk Hill Blues on the wing again, mainly along the Mermaid Track, where I also saw a Painted Lady briefly as it flew north.

Also in good numbers again were Meadow Browns and Gatekeepers, which only goes to show that cooler and "duller" conditions are very much appreciated by these butterflies. Also about were 5 Speckled Woods and as usual lots of Large Whites.
Apart from the Hummingbird Hawkmoth, other moths about were Six-spot Burnets and a couple of Silver Y's.

Other invertebrates recorded were 2 Rose Chafers (Cetonia aurata), Common Green Grasshoppers (Omocestus viridulus) and a reddish coloured Dark Bush-cricket (Pholidoptera griseoaptera).
A few Chiffchaffs calling around Bumpers Lane and as I was walking down the steps from Rufus Castle a Kestrel dive-bombed a Sparrowhawk which took refuge in the woods behind the huts at the back of Church Ope Cove.
Here are a few images from today:

My second Hummingbird Hawkmoth of the Summer.
A very busy moth.......
........which didn't stay long in one place.
Here it's feeding on a Buddleia

A very short video and sadly not that clear a view. Maybe next time.
A Chalk Hill Blue
And another.
I'm guessing this another Chalk Hill Blue, this one on Penn's Weare as I made my way down the steps from Rufus Castle.

Quite a few Speckled woods out today in the much cooler conditions.
One of many Gatekeepers back out today.
A Five-spot Burnet Moth or...........
.....maybe not. As it flew from the thistle to the Teasel I had a much better view of it. And yep there's definitely a sixth spot. So a Six-spot Burnet Moth.

Another Sixer and a pristine one at that.
And another. Most likely a freshly hatched one.
My first Hornet Mimic Hoverfly (Volucella zonaria) of the year. As in my comments above, a month late this year.

One of many Marmalade Hoverflies on the wing.
I'm sure this a Small Garden Bumblebee (Bombus hortorum). It just looks paler than ones I have seen before.
Common Green Grasshopper
A Rose Chafer in a Hemp Agrimony 
And another on Ragwort. Both in the grounds of St Andrew's Church
A few Wall Lizards making the most of the cooler conditions.
And another
Love seeing these close-up.
A Harlequin Ladybird.
And finally Cuckoo Pint or Lords and Ladies (Arun Maculatum) just coming into fruit. Green berries at first and then turning to red.Very poisonous so best not touched. More on this plant Here
Butterflies recorded today wereLarge White, Small WhiteGreen-veined White, 5 Speckled WoodRingletMeadow Brown, 6 Gatekeeper, 3 Painted Lady and Chalk Hill Blue

Ships Today
This is the Liberian Oil/Chemical Tanker the Elka Bene on its way from Tema, Ghana to Fawley in the Solent via Weymouth Bay. More on this vessel Here.
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Wild about Chesil event returns for 2018

Dorset Wildlife Trust - Fri, 07/27/2018 - 12:48

Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT) is delighted to announce that the FREE Wild About Chesil family fun day, supported by Wessex Water, will be held on Sunday 5th August from 10am – 5pm.

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26th July

Portland Bird Observatory - 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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Sightings - Thursday 26th July 2018

Dorset Bird Club - Thu, 07/26/2018 - 22:50
Great White Egret - 1 Lodmoor RSPB
Spoonbill - 1 Arne RSPB
Osprey - 1 Middlebere
Little Ringed Plover - 2 Lytchett Fields RSPB
Whimbrel -8 Stanpit
Knot - 1 Stanpit
Ruff - 2 Stanpit (Fisherman's Bank)
Curlew Sandpiper - 1 Lytchett Fields RSPB
Sanderling - 2 Ferrybridge
Common Sandpiper - 5 Lytchett Fields RSPB, 4 Lodmoor RSPB, 2 Stanpit
Green Sandpiper - 10+ Lytchett Fields RSPB, 2 Lodmoor RSPB, 1 Holton Lee
Spotted Redshank - 2 Corfe Channel
Greenshank - 10 Corfe Channel, 6+ Lytchett Fields RSPB, 1 Middlebere, 1 Stanpit, 1 Lodmoor RSPB
Grasshopper Warbler - 1 Ashtree Meadow (Christchurch)
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26 Jul 18

Martin Adlam - Thu, 07/26/2018 - 21:14
Out and about

A busy day working on our new Tamar fishing boat, so no chance of any walks today. However on the way down to Ferrybridge there must have been in excess of 200 gulls, mainly Herring Gulls, in a "thermal" above New Road Here.

Elsewhere a Skylark and Pied Wagtail at the Ferrybridge Marina, whilst at Easton a single Swift over the Gardens.

In our Wakeham back garden there was a Common Rustic (Mesapamea secalis), flying about the vegetable patch.
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25th July

Portland Bird Observatory - 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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