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9 Apr 20

Martin Adlam - Thu, 09/04/2020 - 17:44
Wakeham

No new birds for my garden list but I at least I saw one migrant, a Yellow Wagtail heading up the island.

In the garden I had 3 new bees, the first was a Fabricius' Nomad Bee (Nomada fabriciana), the next was a Painted Nomad Bee (Nomad fucata) followed by a Lathbury's Nomad Bee (Nomad lathburiana). The latter two being firsts for me on Portland.

A couple of other new species for the garden a possible Root-maggot fly (Delia radicum) and a hoverfly (Eumerus ornatus). The latter also a new one for my Portland List.

Here are a few images and videos:

A Yellow-legged Mining Bee
Honey Bee
Bronze Furrow Bee
There were three nomad bees in the garden today and this one is.............
..............a Lathbury's Nomad Bee (Nomad lathburiana). And not only a first for the garden but for me on Portland
This nomad bee is distinctly different and is..............
..............a Painted Nomad Bee (Nomad fucata)
Here it is again on the left of the image as an Andrena bee comes into view and........
..........crosses in front of our mystery bee.
And a couple of videos.
This is a new nomad bee for my Portland List as well
A Fabricius' Nomad Bee (Nomada fabriciana) which......
...........is a new arrival to the garden.
An Ashy Mining Bee
This is an Eumerus ornatus hoverfly and not only a first for the garden but........
............my first on Portland
This is most likely a Delia radicum and is a species of Root-maggot Fly.......
To be 100% accurate it would have to be identified by an expert.
A 7-Spot Ladybird
There were 4 Common Green Shieldbugs in the garden, but none of them were "Spot", the first one I found. So we have had 5 to date.

A Sun-jumper Spider
-------------------------------------------------------
Garden Birds, Invertebrates and other wildlife(24 Mar - Present Day)
Mammals Recorded: Evidence of a Hedgehog

Birds Recorded: Sparrowhawk, Peregrine Falcon, Kestrel, Pheasant, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Stock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Little Owl, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Swallow, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Yellow Wagtail, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Goldcrest, Long-tailed Tit, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Raven, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Linnet, Goldfinch and GreenfinchTotal 36

Butterflies Recorded: Peacock

Moths Recorded:

Bees Recorded: Honey Bees (Apis mellifera), Red-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus lapidarius), White-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus lucorum), Buff-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris), Early Bumblebee (Bombus pratorum), Bronze Furrow Bee (Halictus tumulorum), Yellow-legged Mining Bees (Andrena flavipe), Fabricius' Nomad Bee (Nomada fabriciana), Painted Nomad Bee (Nomad fucata), Lathbury's Nomad Bee (Nomad lathburiana)

Wasps and Ichneumon Wasps Recorded: Parasitic Wasp (Ichneumon stramentor), Possible Sapyga quinquepunctata
Hoverflies Recorded: Common Dronefly (Eristalis tenax), Tapered Dronefly (Eristalis pertinax), Migrant Hoverfly (Meliscaeva auricollis), Eumerus ornatus and Syrphus sp.

Flies, Craneflies, Gnats and Midges Recorded: Common Fruit Fly (Tephritis bardanae), Moth Fly (Tonnoiriella pulchra), Noon Fly (Mesembrina meridiana), Possible Root-maggot Fly (Delia radicum)

Bugs and Beetles Recorded: 7-spot Ladybird (Coccinella septempunctata), Common Green Shieldbug (Palomena prasina), Hairy Shieldbug (Dolycoris baccarum)

Slugs and Snails Recorded: White-lipped Banded Snail (Cepaea hortensis), Girdled Snail (Hygromia cinctella), Garden Snail (Cornu aspersa)

Spiders Recorded: Sun-jumper (Heliophanus sp.)

Woodlice Crustaceans Recorded: Woodlouse sp


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------On this day..........2019
Today's Sightings Here.
2018
Today's Sightings Here.
Categories: Magazine

Includes a Garden Whale

Gavin Haigh - Wed, 08/04/2020 - 22:33
On Monday night I settled down for a bit of naked nocmigging, expecting the usual silence, and within a few minutes a Moorhen called, directly overhead! Unmistakable, just the sort of noise you'd hear if you startled one out of the bankside vegetation during a stroll round your local lake. I was ridiculously chuffed, out of all proportion to the status of the species involved. Number 36 on my #BWKM0 list, and a new one for the garden.

Last night I gave it an hour. Within seven minutes I heard a faint, presumably distant, Canada Goose. Number 37.

Sitting in the garden after dark, ears cocked, has become slightly addictive. My hit rate is dire, yet I keep trying. I simply cannot help myself. However, I am not the world's best at calls, and need to up my game. And I will. More on that later...

This morning it was another long walk. A chap in West Bay noticed my bins and said "Are you looking for birds?" Responding to my affirmative, he went on: "There's a nice Sandwich Tern perched on a buoy in the harbour." It was great to get gen from a fellow 'exerciser'. There currently seems to be a marked increase in friendliness (in a two-metres-plus kind of way) when locals encounter one another. I don't think I'm imagining it. And if it helps me see birds, terrific...

Phwoarr! Sarnie. What a cracker.
And another, slightly more distant shot to give it a bit more context...

Great hair-do.
Not too long after this I came across a fresh-in male Wheatear. I will never tire of Wheatears. Especially spring males. They are simply outstanding little things. I spent a bit of time with this bird, and although it was never confiding, the P900 did it proud. I believe there is a saying: 'you can never have enough Wheatear photos'...

There isn't? Please let there be.

I am a sucker for this pose. As you will notice...Leatherjacket breakfast.

And while we're on chats...

Stonechat. Having them breeding on my doorstep is easy to take for granted. Mustn't.
Most of the rest of the day was spent in the garden. Adding to the #BWKM0 list has been a slow but steady process. As of today I am on 39, with Long-tailed Tit added yesterday and House Martin today. Best bird this afternoon was Red Kite x4. Three came over simultaneaously (two went W, one S) and another single S later, encouraged on its way by a Herring Gull.

Red Kites. The two that drifted WAnd the one that got grief.
And finally, cetacean of the day. Around 10:55 a plane flew over. Planes are infrequent right now, so I had a look at it. The odd shape reminded me of the subject of a tweet which Cliff Smith posted a few days back, and belatedly I thought to get the camera out and take a snap. This decision coincided with it heading away into cloud, and the two photos are shockingly bad. However, it is pretty amazing what you can extract from a digital image if you're prepared to be brutal...

On the left: my original smear. On the right: Beluga! BGA114D Airbus en route from Toulouse to Chester. With grateful thanks to John Down for the gen.
Needless to say, this is the first whale I've seen from my garden.

Earlier I mentioned upping my game re bird calls etc. Ooh! That reminds me! Today I heard a singing Goldcrest. Which is brilliant. Why? Because I could hear it. Some ears of similar vintage have not heard Goldcrest for a while. So I am pleased. Anyway, I was saying...

I have ordered a digital sound recorder. Living as I do in Dorset, one day something is going to fly over me in the dark, going 'plik'. Once. Faintly. And when that happens I want to be able to save that 'plik' for posterity. To replay it at my leisure, time and time again. To view its smudgy little spectrogram with self-satisfied delight.

After all, one cannot live in Dorset and not have Ortolan on the garden list.
Categories: Magazine

8 Apr 20

Martin Adlam - Wed, 08/04/2020 - 19:34
Broadcroft Quarry Butterfly Reserve, Shepherd's Dinner, The Cuttings, Rufus Castle, Penn's Copse, Penn's Weare, Church Ope Cove, St Andrew's Church, Penns Wood and Wakeham Wood
For us on Portland this was the warmest day of the year so far. As forecasted, the blue skies of this morning gave way to patchy cloud around midday, before the skies cleared again. With no wind to speak of it was very warm.

Highlights today were 1 Chiffchaff and 2 Willow Warblers, with one of the Willows singing in Broadcroft Quarry Butterfly Reserve. No other migrants were seen or heard,

Unsurprisingly there were many Wall Lizards out basking in the sun, but not for the first time I didn't see any in the Church Grounds. Odd!!

As I was making my way down the steps to the cove from Rufus Castle a Large Tortoiseshell flew over my head and settled on a Blackthorn. Other butterflies seen were a Speckled Wood (my first this year) in Penns Wood, a pair of Orange-tips, 4 Peacock, 2 Large Whites and 2 Small Whites. Also seen were 2 Straw-barred Pearl moths

Lots of bees seen with at least 10 species noted, including my first Common Carder this year.

There were a few Common Green Shieldbugs in Penns Wood, a 7-Spot Ladybird on Penns Weare and my first Dock Bug of the year at the cove.

Here are a few images and a video from today:

There were a few Buzzards about, this one was in the Broadcroft Quarry Butterfly Reserve.
A Large Tortoiseshell
It's good to see that there are still a few about.
My first Speckled Wood this year. This one was in Penns Wood
A Straw-barred Pearl moth. I came across two today one in Wakeham Wood and the other at the cove.
A Red-tailed Bumblebee
This is a Common Carder Bee at the top of Penns Wood.
In fact there were quite a few out today. This one was by Rufus Castle
This is the Fabricius' Nomad Bee still flying up and down the track at the back of the cove.
This is an Early Mining Bee which I came across in Broadcroft Quarry Butterfly Reserve.
This is the hoverfly Stripe-backed Dasysyrphus (Dasysyrphus albostriatus)
This is another hoverfly a Ferdinandea cuprea and............
..........doesn't have a common name. Looks more like a fly than a hoverfly and it was the south facing slopes at the cove.

A 7-spot Ladybird
My first Dock Bug of the year. This one was on the south facing slope at the cove.
This is a Cranefly, Tipula paludosa and a new one for my Portland List
A Girdled Snail - Hygromia cinctella
Ted the "Hot Dog" today
Mammals Recorded: Bunny

Birds Recorded: Sparrowhawk, 3 Buzzard, Kestrel, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Song Thrush, 1 Chiffchaff, 2 Willow Warbler, Long-tailed Tit, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Linnet and Goldfinch

Reptiles Recorded: Wall Lizard (Podarcis muralis)

Butterflies Recorded: 1 Large TortoiseshellPeacock, Large White, Small White, Speckled Wood and Orange-tip

Moths Recorded: 2 Straw-barred Pearl (Pyrausta despicata)

Bees Recorded: Honey Bees (Apis mellifera), Buff-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris), Common Carder (Bombus pascuorum), Red-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus lapidarius), Hairy-footed Flower Bee (Anthophora plumipes), Early Mining Bee (Andrena haemorrhoa), Ashy Mining Bee (Andrena cineraria), 1 Fabricius' Nomad Bee (Nomada fabriciana) and a Nomad sp.

Wasps Recorded: 1 Common Wasp (Vespula vulgaris)

Hoverflies Recorded: Marmalade Hoverfly (Episyrphus balteatus), Dead Head Hoverfly (Myathropa florea), Tapered Dronefly (Eristalis pertinax), Stripe-backed Dasysyrphus (Dasysyrphus albostriatus), a Ferdinandea cuprea and Syrphus sp.

Flies, Craneflies, Gnats and Midges RecordedCranefly (Tipula paludosa)

Bugs and Beetles Recorded: 7-spot Ladybird (Coccinella septempunctata), Dock Bug (Coreus marginatus) and Common Green Shieldbug (Palomena prasina)

Snails and Slugs RecordedGirdled Snail (Hygromia cinctella)

Wakeham

In the back garden this afternoon I had a new addition to my bird list, a Goldcrest. Bringing my garden total to 35 since 24 Mar.

Also seen was a single Swallow and Hairy Shieldbug - Dolycoris baccarum

A Hairy Shieldbug
Ships Today
A Warship out in Weymouth Bay and one which unfortunately I couldn't ID.
This is the Vehicles Carrier "Cougar Ace" flying the flag of Singapore. It is on its way from Antwerp Belgium) to Koper (Slovenia). More on this vessel Here.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------On this day..........2019
Today's Sightings Here.
2018
Today's Sightings Here.
Categories: Magazine

7 Apr 20

Martin Adlam - Tue, 07/04/2020 - 17:44
Wakeham

At long last my first Swallow this Spring and another addition to my garden list which now stands at 34. Also moving through were small flocks of Meadows Pipits, plus 2 Yellow Wagtails.

In the garden itself I had 3 Chiffchaffs passing through with one singing. And always a good sight, a pair of Greenfinches landing in a neighbours garden.

My garden list of mini beasts is ever-growing with new additions being a Noon Fly, a Red Mason Bee (Osmia bicornis) which is a first for me on Portland. I also had another Ichneumon Wasp this time a female Amblyteles armatorius.

Also a first was a Jumping Spider (Salticus scenicus) and an even bigger "beast" which unfortunately wasn't seen, but the evidence of its visit to the garden was on the lawn, the droppings of a Hedgehog. A good sign that the garden and pond are providing a great habitat for this nocturnal visitor.

Just a single Peacock butterfly today and there are now 4 Common Green Shieldbugs in the garden. The one with the slight blemish on its wing casing has now moved, and I mean moved. It is now a good 4 metres down the garden. As for other two newbies they were mating on a Valerian.

Here are a few images and videos from today:
Three Chiffchaffs passed through the garden today.
They didn't stay long.
This one was searching out insects in the Ivy.
One of the Chiffchaffs did sing, but by the time I got the camera out it stopped singing and started calling.
Yesterday I noted that the Great Tits have an amazing repertoire of calls. Well today a Blue Tit was also demonstrating one of its calls. This went on for a good 5 minutes and from different trees around the garden.

My first ever Red Mason Bee on Portland. First glance I thought it might be a Tawny Mining Bee, but that has a red-orange furry thorax, unlike the "bare" patch on a Red Mason Bee.

One of the many Yellow-legged Mining Bees, that appear to have taken over the garden. There are dozens now.
And one of their burrows in the lawn.
A Honey Bee visiting a Dandelion.
And one of the two Ashy Mining Bees at the back of the garden
This is "Spot" the first Common Green Shieldbug I came across in the garden. He has now ventured a good 4 metres away from his original location.

And possibly the second shieldbug I found, but that has also moved.
And another pair which now brings the garden total to 4.
A really stunning fly. This is a Noon Fly.
 In fact it was 17 minutes early as I found it at 11:43am. Perhaps I should rename it to the "Early Fly"
There are a few Ichneumon Wasps appearing in the garden, this one is.......
............a female Amblyteles armatorius
Another member of the Jumping Spider Family. This one looks good for a Jumping Spider (Salticus scenicus)
Mammals Recorded: Evidence of a Hedgehog.

Garden Birds (24 Mar - Present Day)

Sparrowhawk, Peregrine Falcon, Kestrel, Pheasant, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Stock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Swallow, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Yellow Wagtail, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Long-tailed Tit, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Raven, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Linnet, Goldfinch and Greenfinch

Total 35

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Today's Sightings

Butterflies Recorded: 1 Peacock

Bees Recorded: Honey Bees (Apis mellifera), Buff-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris), Bronze Furrow Bee (Halictus tumulorum), Ashy Mining Bee (Andrena cineraria), Yellow-legged Mining Bees (Andrena flavipe) and a Red Mason Bee (Osmia bicornis)

Ichneumon Wasps RecordedAmblyteles armatorius

Hoverflies Recorded: 2 Syrphus sp.

Flies, Gnats and Midges Recorded: Noon Fly (Mesembrina meridiana)

Bugs and Beetles Recorded: 4 Common Green Shieldbug (Palomena prasina)

Slugs and Snails Recorded
: White-lipped Banded Snail (Cepaea hortensis)

Spiders Recorded: Sun-jumper Spider (Heliophanus sp.) and a Jumping Spider (Salticus scenicus)

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------On this day..........2019
Today's Sightings Here.
2018
Today's Sightings Here.
Categories: Magazine

6 Apr 20

Martin Adlam - Mon, 06/04/2020 - 17:28
Wakeham Wood, Perryfield Quarry Butterfly Reserve, Penns Wood, St Andrew's Church, Church Ope Cove, Church Ope Cove Wood, Penn's Weare, Penn's Copse, Bumpers Lane and Lower Horse Paddock.

Another beautiful day and a pleasant walk from the cottage to the cove and then back home via Bumpers Lane. Just 3 Chiffchaffs found, with one singing at the back of the cove. No other migrants seen, but did I hear a few Swallows chattering over Rufus Castle. Unfortunately I was tucked in behind the beach huts and couldn't get back onto the beach to see. Another day maybe.

A few more butterflies about and though I have seen female Orange-tip this Spring, I came across my first male in the church grounds were there was also a Large White. At the back f the cove was a Peacock.

A Carnation Tortrix Moth was the my first moth of Spring and was on the south facing slopes at the cove, where there was also a "mini" Dark-edged Bee-fly. The Bee-fly was almost half the size you would expect and when I checked it out on Social Media, it turns out there are quite a few small Bombylius major this Spring, even as far north as Northamptonshire.

Lots of bees about as you would expect and a Fabricius' Nomad Bee (Nomada fabriciana) was an interesting one to find at the back of the cove. Also on the same path was another Nomad Bee, but not one I could identify. In Penns Wood there were 4 Hairy-footed Flower Bees and an Early Mining Bee (Andrena haemorrhoa). All the bees seen today are listed below.

It wasn't just the bees out in good numbers but also hoverflies. The list is below, but new for this Spring was a Dead Head Hoverfly in Penns Copse and an Eristalinus aeneus which is a new one for me on Portland, with 2 on the south facing slopes at the cove.

Here are a few images and videos from today:

Great Tits must have the greatest repertoire of calls known to birds.
And another male Great with a a different call, including a "stutter". Apologies for the wind noise, that's Portland for you

It was a bit like walking around inside a vivarium today, with lots............. 
............of Wall Lizards basking in the sun.
One of the Hairy-footed Flower Bees in Penns Wood. This is a male and despite seeing 4, I still haven't come across the unmistakable all black coloured female.

An Early Mining  Bee sat on the leaf of a Japonica in Penns Wood.
This is a Fabricius' Nomad Bee (Nomada fabriciana)  with its..........
...............very distinctive coloured abdomen.
Here it is visiting its "home".
And once inside a quick look to see what's going on.
This another Nomad bee species. There are 3 very similar looking species, Gooden's Nomad Bee (Nomada goodeniana), Marsham's Nomad Bee (Nomada marshamella) and Flavous Nomad Bee (Nomada flava). If I was a betting man I would go for Gooden's Nomad Bee.

This is a hoverfly and a male Eristalinus aeneus which was on the south facing slopes at the cove.
It is also the first one I have found on Portland
Talking about firsts, this a Deadhead Hoverfly and.......
..........the first seen this year.
And what I first thought was a Heath Bee-fly (Bombylius minor) turns out............
............to be a very small Dark-edged Bee-fly. Apparently there are a lot of small ones this Spring.
And finally a 7-Spot Ladybird
Mammals RecordedBunny

Birds Recorded: Herring Gull, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Pied Wagtail, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, 3 Chiffchaff, Long-tailed Tit, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Linnet and Goldfinch

Reptiles Recorded: Wall Lizard (Podarcis muralis)

Butterflies Recorded: Peacock, Orange-tip and Large White

Moths Recorded: 1 Carnation Tortrix (Cacoecimorpha pronubana)

Bees Recorded: Honey Bees (Apis mellifera), Buff-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris), Hairy-footed Flower Bee (Anthophora plumipes), Early Mining Bee (Andrena haemorrhoa), Fabricius' Nomad Bee (Nomada fabriciana) and a possible Gooden's Nomad Bee (Nomada goodeniana)
Hoverflies Recorded: Marmalade Hoverfly (Episyrphus balteatus), Dead Head Hoverfly (Myathropa florea), Common Dronefly (Eristalis tenax), Tapered Dronefly (Eristalis pertinax), Migrant Hoverfly (Meliscaeva auricollis), Eristalinus aeneus and many Syrphus sps.

Flies, Gnats and Midges Recorded: Dark-edged Bee-fly (Bombylius major) and Muscid Flies sp.

Bugs and Beetles Recorded: 2 7-spot Ladybird (Coccinella septempunctata)

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------On this day..........2019
Today's Sightings Here.
2018
Today's Sightings Here.
Categories: Magazine

Lockdown Birding

Two Owls Birding - Mon, 06/04/2020 - 14:03
Hope your are all well and keeping safe and watching wildlife from close to home as Jackie and I are doing.  
The thing is what to do, well I think birders adapt well and Jackie is keeping a day garden lockdown list and I'm keeping a night time (or NocMig) list and we take our exercise walk around the local Lytchett patch. I've also been writing a daily species of the day on the Friends of Lytchett Bay Facebook page, though it's getting harder to find new species in the garden each day but just about managing it at present. 
The patch lockdown walk list stands at 45 species the Lockdown Garden List at 39 species and I've recorded 33 species between 21:00hrs and 05:00hrs overnight.  We have had some nice highlights and quality birds, Osprey, Red Kite for the garden and Arctic Tern for the Bay with Coot a patch rarity and Common Scoter as migrants over night on NocMig recordings.

Some of you may know that my trusty parabolic reflector microphone after many years of service stopped working last year and I've been undecided about what to replace it with.  Talking to Paul Morton of Birds of Poole Harbour and Sound Approach guys I made the decision to purchase a SM4 Song Meter from Wildlife Acoustics.  Though quite expensive it is waterproof and can be setup to record continually and saves to one or two SD cards.  I'm using 2 x 16Gb cards which has enough memory for four nights of recording.  So far it's proved to be very good and the recording quality is high, when you think that we're in a semi-urban area with a lot of town background noise to contend with.

Below is a couple of the better recordings, one of the three scoter flocks I've recorded over the last week and one of several coot passing overhead and the third is a migrating Moorhen and finishing with Redwing.
This is one of three recording of Common Scoter passing over Lytchett Bay in this past week.



This is one of five Coot that I've recorded over the last week a real rarity in Lytchett bay but I record them every year on NocMig. The thing is you only record the calling birds so you have no real idea of how many there are unless you get multiple calls all at once which sometimes you do.


Now you have heard Coot I thought I would add a migrating Moorhen for comparison. This is a nice recording though early in the night as there was quite a bit of background traffic interference but at around 19 seconds in you will also here one of the local female Water Rail calling from the reed bed opposite our bungalow, also a male at the end.


We also had a unprecedented Redwing passage on the night of the 1st/2nd April when I recorded 282 calling going over the majority being recorded between 03:00hrs and 04:30hrs in the morning.  This movement is possibly to do with the change from the cold northerlies which held the birds up and when the wind changed back to the south they moved and it appears this was a widespread movement across the south of England.  
Just to remind you of what they sound like I've included a recording below.



Our last Birding highlight was from this mornings walk along the east of the bay towards Turlin Moor where we were hoping to see a Swallow but ended up seeing an 'Arctic Swallow'.  
As when we reached the Lytchett View Point I spotted a tern species dipping in the bay as we watched it, both Jackie and I said "think that's an Arctic" I watched as it quartered the bay and Jackie called Shaun who unfortunately had gone to the other side of the bay for his morning exercise. It eventually came close enough so we were able to confirm it was an Arctic Tern.  This was a life species for our Lytchett Bay list and one we might not see until the autumn depending on how long this emergency restriction last.  Unfortunately I didn't manage a photograph so I've added one from a trip we had to the Farne Islands in 2017 coming on an attack.
Arctic Tern coming in to see me off the path - Inner Farne © Nick Hull
Categories: Magazine

Walking. Not Gardening.

Gavin Haigh - Sun, 05/04/2020 - 22:04
I must write a gardening post soon. I am well aware that many birders are all-round naturalists, and will be very interested in my efforts to tempt creepy-crawlies into the grounds of NQS Manor. Actually I am a shocking gardener, and must tell you about when I...

No. Another time.

Anyway, while I was up to my knuckles in green fingers today, at least 5 Swallows went through, and a bonus Red Kite which actually set off the gulls. The first one this spring to do so; the others have been too high. Swallow brings my #BWKM0 list to 35. Frustration of the day was an egret sp which went over N. Only my second egret from the garden, and I caught only the back end. A two-second glimpse really. Dark feet! Possibly. I ran around to the front, but the bird was hidden behind trees. Yeah. I know. Of course it was a Little Egret, but you've got to take any and every opportunity to gee yourself up a bit in these #BWKM0 times, right?

Yesterday I went for a serious exercise walk. Nice and early, and all the way to the sea. Obviously I didn't actually seawatch, but a couple of scans produced some 30+ Common Scoter heading E. So that's what the treacherous creatures are doing; migrating by day, over the sea, instead of by night, over my house. Two ducks which obviously were not Scoters, but were a little too far out for my bins, succumbed to the P900...

Nikon Coolpix P900 sorts distant ducks. Wigeon.


I am so gutted that the spring seawatching season has been blown out of the water by this poxy virus. I am really looking forward to trying to get skua photos/video with this camera one day. One day.

Other stuff from the big walk...

Confiding Skylark. It was great to hear quite a few in song.
A presumed migrant Mipit having a breather.
One of just two Wheatears seen. A bit coy.
Call that a bill? This is a bill. (Movie reference for the almost-elderly) Raven.
First Holly Blue of the year. Always a real treat.
There was basically nobody about during the outbound part of my walk, but a few more on the return. Living in an area with such a modest population density has its advantages when the only folk you ought to be encountering are locals, because there are relatively so few of them. I would hate to be trying to get some socially-distanced exercise in a city.

Most of the day was then spent in the garden. Bird-wise unexciting, until a dark shape appeared, heading S. I grabbed the camera, switched it on, zoomed, focused, and rattled off a single burst of three shots before it went out of eyeshot. Cormorant! New for the BWKM0 list. We get the odd one in winter, but they're not common.

Cormorant. Sometimes I can do flight shots.
It is now about 22:00. For the last three nights I've been outside about now, wrapped up in winter clobber, listening carefully to the sound of an empty sky. I think I've given it a fair crack.

A night off, I think. I'm not a complete idiot.
Categories: Magazine

5 Apr 20

Martin Adlam - Sun, 05/04/2020 - 16:28
Wakeham
No new birds today for my lock-down garden list and I still haven't seen a Swallow or House Martin yet. At this rate I reckon I'll see a Swift before I see any hirundines..

Today I had a new bee to add to my garden list, a Grey Mining Bee along with the Yellow-legged Mining BeesBuff-tailed BumblebeesHoney Bees and an Andrena sp. which were all present today.

The Common Green Shieldbug on the Valerian has a companion.

As I was heading back indoors a Diphyus palliatorius Ichneumon Wasp landed on the Ivy in the courtyard and a very small individual was in the back garden.

Birds of note today were a pair Greenfinches, with the male wheezing from on top of one of the Sycamores.
Here are a few images and videos from today:

A Honey Bee fully laden with pollen.
Yesterday I had a Grey Mining Bee at the top of Penns Wood and today I had two in the garden.
The past week has seen a marked rise in the number of..............
.................Yellow-legged Mining Bees.
There must have been around 30 along the borders and lawn.
Here are two more Yellow-legged Mining Bees and a Syrphus sp. Hoverfly
This is the mystery Andrena.
A Buff-tailed Bumblebee
If I've ID'd this correctly this is..............
.....................the Ichneumon Wasp Diphyus palliatorius
There are a few black and yellow Ichneumon Wasps in the UK................
.............which do look very similar.
My mystery Ichneumon Wasp
I'm hoping that someone on one of my.................
........................UK Bees, Wasps and Ants social media group can help ID it
This is the Common Green Shieldbug which has been on the Valerian all week. It has an identifiable brown spot on the wing casing where it should be completely green

And this is the new arrival with completely green wing casings. I wonder if they will meet up.
And a video just show how close the Shieldbugs are to each other.
A lot larger than the Sun-jumping spiders in the garden..........
.............this one was resting on a rock and was then...........
...........joined by a slightly darker individual. Not sure what they are yet!!
Not a lot of movement between these two. Lots more going on around me though with a Buff-tailed Bumblebee buzzing over my head, followed by a Blue Tit calling and the Goldfinches.

And Ted. Something has got his attention and if you look closely, you can just about make out next doors cat "Bailey" top centre.

Bees RecordedHoney Bee (Apis mellifera), Buff-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris), Grey Mining Bee (Andrena cineraria) and an Andrena sp.

Ichneumon Wasps Recorded:  Diphyus palliatorius and an Ichneumon Wasp sp.
Hoverflies Recorded: Syrphus sp.

Bugs and Beetles Recorded: 2 Common Green Shieldbug (Palomena prasina)

Spiders Recorded: 3 Sun-jumpers Spiders and 2 Spiders sp.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------On this day..........2019
Today's Sightings Here.

2018
Today's Sightings Here.
Categories: Magazine

4 Apr 20

Martin Adlam - Sat, 04/04/2020 - 16:19
Penns Wood, St Andrew's Church, Church Ope Cove, Church Ope Cove Wood, Penn's Weare, The Cuttings, Bumpers Lane and Lower Horse Paddocks
Wow the weatherman promised blue skies and lots of sunshine and he was spot on. Mind you, despite it being very warm in the shade, there was still a bit of a bite from that southerly wind.

Just 3 Chiffchaffs today, with one singing at the back of the cove. The other two were in Penn's Weare. I've still not seen any hirundines, but the Meadow Pipits are still coming through, calling away as they head up the island.

Despite the pleasant conditions there were still very few butterflies about with just 3 Peacocks and a Small White seen.

However that wasn't the case with bees as there quite a few about, including my first Early Mining Bee and Grey-patched Mining Bees of the year.

Also seen today was my first Dark-edged Bee-fly of the year which was by the steps just up from the cove.

Here are a few images and videos from today:

A Raven comes into land just above Penn's Weare.
There aren't many places on Portland where there aren't any Robins.
And quite a few singing as well.
Strangely enough I didn't see a single Wall Lizard in the grounds of St Andrew's Church, yet they were many on the beach, along the paths and close to the steps.

Not too many butterflies about. This is one of the 3 Peacocks I saw today feeding on a Blackthorn
My initial thought was that this was.............
...................a Grey-patched Mining Bee (Andrena nitida), but it is the very similar looking.......
..............Early Mining Bee (Andrena haemorrhoa)
And a video.
This is male Grey Mining Bee (Andrena cineraria)
Also known as the Ashy Grey Mining Bee
As I was watching the Grey Mining Bees this very tiny bee came into view..........
..........possibly one of the Sweat Bees.
As I was coming up the steps from Church Ope Cove I came across.................
......................this Dark-edged Bee-fly
And the caterpillars of the Brown-tail Moth, have, in one week, almost doubled in size.
Unfortunately the caterpillars have very itchy hairs which can give a bit of a rash. But just look at the end result. It is certainly an eye-catching moth

Common Dog-violet, Viola riviniana
Common Hawkweed, Hieracium vulgatum
A few shots of Rufus Castle..............
.............from Church Ope Cove
Beautiful blue sea at the cove.
The WWll Pill box on Penn's Weare
Ted at the beginning of the walk.
And looking a bit hot as we finished our walk
Birds Recorded: 2 Buzzard, Kestrel, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Meadow Pipit, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, 3 Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, 1 Raven, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Linnet, Goldfinch and Greenfinch

Reptiles Recorded: Wall Lizard (Podarcis muralis)

Butterflies Recorded: 3 Peacock and 1 Small White

Bees Recorded: Honey Bees (Apis mellifera), Buff-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris), Red-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus lapidarius), 3 Hairy-footed Flower Bee (Anthophora plumipes), Grey Mining Bee (Andrena cineraria), Early Mining Bee (Andrena haemorrhoa) and a very small Andrena sp.

Hoverflies Recorded: Marmalade Hoverfly (Episyrphus balteatus), Tapered Dronefly (Eristalis pertinax) and Syrphus sp.

Flies, Gnats and Midges Recorded: 1 Dark-edged Bee-fly (Bombylius major)

Ships Today
Well at least today I found out what the ship is that has been out in Weymouth Bay for the past few days. It is the British Research/Survey ship "HMS Echo". More on this vessel Here.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------On this day..........2019
Today's Sightings Here.
2018
Today's Sightings Here.
Categories: Magazine

Naked Nocmig and Other Stories

Gavin Haigh - Fri, 03/04/2020 - 22:01
Last night nearly the whole birding community was mobilised in a shared endeavour: getting Common Scoter on the BWKM0* list. After dark, seething hordes of them lift off from their wintering grounds and undertake a stealth migration. Their nocturnal route takes them overland, and their calls can be heard from the ground. It's a route which carefully avoids Bridport.

I was outside in the amazing silence for two hours from 22:45. The only definite bird noises I heard were an optimistic Robin and something which sounded like a muted version of a Great Spotted Woodpecker's 'kik', presumably a Tawny Owl. Ultra-distant dogs are a pain. Their yaps and yelps can easily sound like an interesting flight call. Or perhaps it's the other way around, and I mucked up several cool birds by dismissing them as dogs.

So, of the 5,320 birders either outside on the patio or recording last night, it seems that just me and three others failed to get Common Scoter.

Naked nocmig? That's the acoustic kind, with ears, as opposed to the electronic version, with its microphones, recorders and software...and blissfully sleeping operators.

I did make one schoolboy error. I thought it would be pleasant to start the session with a nice cup of tea and some biscuits. The moment I bit into my first chocolate and ginger cookie, I realised I shouldn't have. Crunch, crunch, CRUNCH! It's deafening. From then on it was 'dunk and suck'.

I shall try again, but it was not an auspicious beginning...

My BWKM0 list is pretty rubbish. I'm on 33 right now. Today's additions were Coal Tit, Bullfinch and Grey Wagtail. The sky was enlivened by a Red Kite - my first for several days - and up to six Buzzards, plus one or more Sparrowhawks and a Raven.

My first hirundine of 2020 was a Swallow on April 1st while out for a bike ride.

This might be Buff-tailed Bumblebee. Whatever, it's number 2 on the bee list.
Raptor Watch Squad. Very useful to have around.
Nikon P900 on a tripod. ISO 100 and a 2" shutter delay. Very pleasing
I've heard tell that you can set up your scope and point it at the full moon, and then enjoy the spectacle of nocturnally migrating birds passing across its glowing orb as silhouettes. I first heard about this back in the very early '80s when I was quite new to proper birding. The bloke who told me about it was a well-known (at the time) London birder, a lot older than me, and he happily bragged about the two Cranes which had repaid his moon-watching efforts just the other night. I lapped it up of course. The notion of such 'advanced' birding, and the skills it clearly required, impressed me hugely. However, as I later learned, the birder in question was actually a notorious stringer...

For some reason I have never forgotten that little experience, and have consequently not once pointed my scope at the full moon and sat down for a session of moon-migging. Have I missed anything?

Who said 'Loads of Scoter!'?


Blue Tit posing.
Coal Tit. Not an everyday garden bird for me.
Slow worm today. Just look at that slinky perfection.

* That's 'Birdwatching at Kilometre Zero'
Categories: Magazine

3 Apr 20

Martin Adlam - Fri, 03/04/2020 - 16:13
Wakeham

Another garden tick today with 2 Chiffchaffs passing through the garden, bringing my total to 33 since 24 Mar.

Other birds of interest were were a pair of Kestrels circling overhead and a flock of 15 Meadow Pipits heading north.

A very cloudy day with the odd burst of sun, which unfortunately wasn't enough to bring the butterflies out. However there was just enough heat to draw out a few Yellow-legged Mining Bees, Furrow Bees, Buff-tailed Bumblebees and a Tree Bumblebee.

One of the Sun-jumper spiders I came across was busy tucking into an unfortunate fly. And the resident Common Green Shieldbug has moved 180° in 2 days.

Here are a few images and videos from today.

One of the local Kestrels circles overhead
A Blue Tit. Sadly not nesting in our nest box this year.
A Goldfinch
This one is sporting a ring.
A Dunnock singing in my neighbours garden
There were quite a few Mining Bees out today.
They are all very similar looking.
Though the abdomen on this one appears darker.
I'm not sure whats going on here. I'm presume they are mating...........
..........but are they!!
I did wonder if they were Andrena scotica but it has now been confirmed that they are Yellow-legged Mining Bees, Andrena flavipe
And here we have one peeping out of its hole in the lawn.
A syrphus hoverfly.
As to which one, who knows. They are all very similar and often its down to examining a specimen and checking the micro-hairs on the wing under a microscope.
He is still here on the same Valerian. This time the Common Green Shieldbug  has turned 180° from 2 days ago.
And one of the Jumping-sun Spiders has a meal. Its nearly as big as he is.
Guess who's just had lunch. Okay Ted, just don't tell mum I gave you a bit of my chicken pie.

Garden Birds  (24 Mar - Present Day)
Species: Sparrowhawk, Peregrine Falcon, Kestrel, Pheasant, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Stock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Yellow Wagtail, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Long-tailed Tit, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Raven, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Linnet, Goldfinch and Greenfinch. Total of 33
Today's Sightings 
Bees Recorded: Buff-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris), Tree Bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum), Bronze Furrow Bee (Halictus tumulorum) and Yellow-legged Mining Bee (Andrena flavipe)

Hoverflies Recorded: Syrphus sp.
Bugs and Beetles Recorded: Common Green Shieldbug (Palomena prasina)
Spiders Recorded: Sun-jumpers (Heliophanus sp.)
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------On this day..........2019
Today's Sightings Here.
2018
Today's Sightings Here.
Categories: Magazine

2 Apr 20

Martin Adlam - Thu, 02/04/2020 - 13:05
Lower Horse Paddock, Bumpers Lane Quarry, The Cuttings, Penns Copse, Penns Weare, Church Ope Cove, At Andrew's Church and Penns Wood

I was out a bit earlier for my daily exercise today. Well I say daily, I've been going every other day which seems to be working well. So tomorrow its back in the garden and so on. Unless of course we get a deluge of migrants and that might all change.

Today there were slightly more migrants about and I had a Chiffchaff singing in Bumpers Lane Quarry, a Willow Warbler singing by the Cuttings where there was also a male Blackcap, 2 more Chiffchaffs in Penn's Weare and another Chiff at the back of the cove. Still no hirundines though.

Also moving through were small flocks of Meadow Pipits and Linnets. There were also a few Pied Wagtails about, plus a Grey Wagtail and a Rock Pipit on the cove beach.

The pair of Stock Doves were in Bumpers Lane Quarry again.

The nests of the Long-tailed Tits and Goldfinches are doing well at the cove. All watched from a good distance.

In the grounds of St Andrew's Church there were 2 Commas and 2 "white" butterflies - female Orange-tips maybe!! Whilst on the south-facing slopes at the cove there was a Peacock and another Comma.

It looked like I was a bit too early for Wall Lizards and hoverflies, though I did see one Tapered Dronefly.

Only other invertebrate seen was a Blood-nosed Beetle on Penns Weare.

Here are a few images and videos from today:
For me Spring doesn't start until I've heard a Willow Warbler. Just a shame that my first one singing this Spring was so brief.

A deserted Church Ope Cove
In the background Pennsylvania Castle and the path (where the post is) leading up to the remains of St Andrew's Church
Of the 3 Commas flitting about this morning this was scraggiest one I found. Not that I was looking to photograph a scraggy one, just that the other two wouldn't settle for a photo.

Any guesses as to what this Bumblebee is called. It is of course a Red-tailed Bumblebee.
I know I've said it many times before but............
.........I just love these Bloody-nosed Beetles.
The Wall Flowers out and safe from anyone wanting to...............
..............pick them!!
Here is Ted, just about to jump up on to the rocky ledge. For once he had a change of heart and decided otherwise. Sensible dog.

I can just hear Ted thinking "Come on this is an exercise not an excuse to take photos of me"
Birds Recorded: 1 Cormorant, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Buzzard, 1 Kestrel, Pheasant, Herring Gull, Stock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Meadow Pipit, 1 Rock Pipit, Pied Wagtail, 1 Grey Wagtail, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, 1 Blackcap, 4 Chiffchaff, 1 Willow Warbler, Long-tailed Tit, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Linnet and Goldfinch

Butterflies Recorded: 1 Peacock, 3 Comma and 2 "white" butterflies.

Bees Recorded: Honey Bees (Apis mellifera), 1 Red-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus lapidarius) and Buff-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris)

Hoverflies Recorded: Tapered Dronefly (Eristalis pertinax)

Bugs and Beetles Recorded: 1 Bloody-nosed Beetle (Timarcha tenebricosa)

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Wakeham

My garden list is ever growing with the addition of a Song Thrush and Great Spotted Woodpecker early this morning, bringing my total to 32 since 24 Mar. The Great Spotted Woodpecker is the first I have seen on Portland since 5 Jan.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ships Today
This is the Dutch Cargo Ship "Lady Carina" on its way from Emden (Denmark) to Fowey. More on this vessel Here.
Sadly I can't identify this warship.
It isn't particularly large, maybe a Minesweeper. It is just passing small fishing boat just off Portland.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------On this day..........2019
Today's Sightings Here.
2018
Today's Sightings Here.
Categories: Magazine

1 Apr 20

Martin Adlam - Wed, 01/04/2020 - 19:30
Wakeham

A few more additions to my garden bird list today with Sparrowhawk, Peregrine Falcon and Stock Dove. Total now standing at 30. Still no hirundines though.

All the usual suspects were in the garden again, the Mining Bees, Furrow Bees, Buff-tailed Bumblebees, a Peacock Butterfly, a 7-Spot Ladybird and the Common Green Shieldbug. A new one today though was was a Common Fruit Fly

Here are a few images and videos from today:

This Robin was in my neighbours Buckthorn and in...........
...........good voice.
Lots of these Mining Bees out today.
There numbers seem to have doubled in two days.
Here is one that stayed still long enough for a short video
A Common Fruit Fly
And here it is making lots of wing movements. Not sure if its displaying or just stretching those wings.
The Common Green Shieldbug in its usual resting place. At least its moved 180° degrees
And a mystery fly. One to ID another day.
Garden Birds Recorded since 24 Mar are: Sparrowhawk, Peregrine Falcon, Kestrel, Pheasant, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Stock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Yellow Wagtail, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Willow Warbler, Long-tailed Tit, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Raven, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Linnet, Goldfinch and Greenfinch. Total of 30

Butterflies Recorded: 1 Peacock

Bees Recorded: Buff-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris), Bronze Furrow Bee (Halictus tumulorum) and Mining Bee (Andrena scotica)

Hoverflies Recorded: Syrphus sp.

Flies, Gnats and Midges Recorded: Common Fruit Fly (Tephritis bardanae) and a fly sp.

Bugs and Beetles Recorded: 7-spot Ladybird (Coccinella septempunctata) and a Common Green Shieldbug (Palomena prasina)

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------On this day..........2019
Today's Sightings Here.
2018
Today's Sightings Here.
Categories: Magazine

31 Mar 20

Martin Adlam - Tue, 31/03/2020 - 15:31
Penns Wood, St Andrew's Church, Church Ope Cove, Rufus Castle, Bumpers Lane and Lower Horse Paddock.

Still that bitter cold wind coming off the sea and a lot cloudier today, though when the sun did come out, it was pleasantly warm especially in sheltered spots.

Highlights today were 2 Chiffchaffs at the cove, where there were also pairs of PeregrineKestrel and Common Buzzard all hunting along the slopes.

Also about were a few Meadow Pipits passing through and I found a pair of Stock Doves in Bumpers Lane Quarry, the first I have seen in this quarry.

There were a few Peacock butterflies about and a Large Tortoiseshell put in an appearance, all at the cove.
There seemed to be fewer bees about and I only found one hoverfly a Syrphus sp. There was definitely a lack of flying insects, which wasn't surprising considering the maximum temperature today only reached 9.0°C. Add in the wind-chill factor and it was freezing. There were just a handful of Buff-tailed Bumblebees, Honey Bees and a single male Hairy-footed Flower Bee. The latter in Penns Wood on the Comfrey.

Here are a few images and videos from today:

There were quite a few raptors over Church Ope Cove today...............
...................including a pair of Peregrine Falcons.
This is the much smaller male heading up the island.
Not an easy bird to video. At times both the Peregrines were holding themselves in the wind. I was just a bit unfortunate that this bird decided to move around a bit more.

In the Blackthorn at the cove, this Chiffchaff and another close-by were searching for insects.
This Robin was in good voice...........
...............and kept looking back at another Robin singing a few yards away.
The other Robin stopped singing, but now there are a pair of Buzzards passing overhead.
A pair of Stock Doves in Bumpers Lane Quarry.
Or maybe not. Must have been something he said!!
Very pleased, that the House Sparrows displaced by the groundwork, which destroyed their favourite bushes for an Eco Bungalow in Wakeham Wood, have now found sanctuary in the Lower Horse Paddock brambles. This is an adult male and strangely enough there were at least 9 other males in the brambles and not a female to be seen. Nesting maybe!!

Just one Wall Lizard in the grounds of St Andrew's Church.
Forgot to post some Ted photos yesterday.
So making up for it here with a couple and a..............
.......video of Ted checking out Penn's Weare from the top of the cliff. He's a right Mountain Dog.
Birds Recorded: 2 Buzzard, 2 Peregrine Falcon, 2 Kestrel, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, 2 Stock Dove, Wood Pigeon, 3 Meadow Pipit, 1 Pied Wagtail, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, 2 Chiffchaff, Long-tailed Tit, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, 1 Raven, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Goldfinch and Greenfinch

Reptiles Recorded: Wall Lizard (Podarcis muralis)

Butterflies Recorded: 1 Large Tortoiseshell and 3 Peacock

Bees Recorded: Honey Bees (Apis mellifera), Buff-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) and 1 Hairy-footed Flower Bee (Anthophora plumipes)

Hoverflies Recorded: 1 Syrphus sp.

Flies, Gnats and Midges Recorded: Muscid Fly (Phaonia subventa)

Ships Today


This is the British Tug "MTS Taktow" towing what looks like.......


..........a crane on a barge. Whatever it is it is on its way from Brixham to Blyth. More on this vessel Here.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------On this day..........2019
Today's Sightings Here.
2018
Today's Sightings Here.
Categories: Magazine

Exercise and Birds

Gavin Haigh - Mon, 30/03/2020 - 23:10
Do my fellow bloggers ever wonder, like I do, what impels our audience to click on a post and read it? Sure, sometimes it will be because the subject matter is clearly going to be of interest, something topical or controversial perhaps. But what about the mundane, everyday posts? Because that is what the majority are. Speaking personally, often I click and read because of the person behind the keyboard. The vast majority I've never met, but over time have come to enjoy their virtual company enough to want to spend a few minutes in it, whatever they want to talk about. So if that's why you are reading this, thank you, because 'mundane' and 'everyday' is what we have here today...

For Mrs NQS and me, 2019 was a rubbish year in one or two profound ways. None of this stuff ever makes the blog, and I guess this is generally true for other bloggers too. Life is life, and we all have our various coping mechanisms to help smooth the ups and downs, but baring all on the internet is not one of mine! Last year, feverish DIY helped a lot, but there was a cost; my exercise regime gradually went from regular to sporadic to non-existent. Up until yesterday I hadn't been on a proper bike ride for almost 12 months.

I own three bikes, and watching them grow a fine stubble of dust has been a constant source of shame. A few weeks ago I started running again, and quickly gave myself a knee injury in the usual way - by doing too much, too soon. Being about 20 pounds heavier doesn't help. So yesterday I wheeled out my winter bike, gave it a clean, adjusted the brakes, lubed the chain and took it for a spin.

The winter bike? It has mudguards and 28mm tyres, and a steel frame of leisurely geometry. But none of that influenced my choice. No, it has one other, more pertinent attribute. It has low gears. Very low. I am so unfit right now...

Grimly, I took it to Eggardon Hill. The climb that begins with Spyway Road is my go-to fitness tester, and I was determined to somehow navigate its assorted ramps without stopping. The first half is the worst, with a nasty stretch of 16-18%, but I paced myself. My strategy was basic. Engage bottom gear at the foot of the hill and keep turning the pedals. It worked a treat. There is a Strava segment based on the first 2/3 of the climb. Once upon a time I turned myself inside out to do it in 8'15". Yesterday I took a cool 13 minutes plus.

Eggardon Hill. Looking back, a sliver of distant shiny sea just visible.
At the top of Eggardon Hill is an expanse of farmland, and I passed a nice flock of Corn Buntings, with a few Yellowhammers for colour. It was blowing pretty hard though, a blasting cold NE, and the spooked birds were whisked rapidly away. I was glad of winter clobber and thick gloves.

Looking sideways. towards Devon. The view from this road has got to be one of the best in Dorset.
The worst of the climb is done at this point, and through eyes stinging with sweat you can enjoy the stunning view to the west, and up ahead see the looming ramparts that once flanked an iron-age hill fort. It is truly impressive. And knackering.

The worst of the climb is done at this point,
Birds? I've mentioned the best on offer yesterday. Apart from a couple of in-flight Little Egrets I didn't see anything else of particular note. But there were birds. Birds going about their daily routines like the world was normal. Which it isn't. Which is why we need them.
Categories: Magazine

30 Mar 20

Martin Adlam - Mon, 30/03/2020 - 15:30
Wakeham

Back in the garden today and I'm glad I did as a Yellow Wagtail flew over the new Bumpers Lane Housing Estate and headed towards the Lower Horse Paddock. So not only was this a first for the year but a good garden tick as I self-isolate. It wasn't however the only garden tick today, as two Greenfinches flew over the garden, as did a pair of Blackbirds, bringing my garden total to 27

Looking back at the last two years I saw my first Yellow Wagtail on this very day 30 Mar 19 and in 2018 on 14 Apr.

The temperature today didn't get much higher than 8.0°C and with that chilly easterly still blowing, it felt very cold in the back garden. However when the sun came out for any length of time, it was good to see a few bees along the flower beds and a Tapered Dronefly.

Regular sightings now are Sun-jumper spiders and the Common Green Shieldbug, which appears not to have moved for days. A new fly for the garden was a Moth Fly and I also found the handy-work of a leaf-miner on a Bramble leaf.

Here are a few images from today:

When the sun eventually stayed out longer than 5 minutes, there was an increase in flying insects including............
............this Tapered Dronefly, which incredibly let me get right up close, not only for this photo but.......
...........for a video as well.
This is a worker Buff-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris).
Until someone tells me any different I'm still going.................
...........for Andrena scotica, Mining Bee and........
............ for this one a Bronze Furrow Bee........
........(Halictus tumulorum)
One of the many Sun-jumper spiders in the garden.
Love those yellow "fangs", which are in fact called chelicerae and are actually the spider's jaws
This was a nice surprise a Moth Fly which hung around long...........
...........enough to be videoed. 
The Common Green Shieldbug which is pretty dormant at the moment. Not surprising really as it was pretty chilly outside.
This is a Girdled Snail, Hygromia cinctella. More on this snail Here.
This is an interesting snail,because it is a common species around the Mediterranean region, and a relatively recent addition to the British fauna, having been first found at Paignton in 1950. It remained around that area of Devon for quite a long time before gradually spreading further in the south-west, and in more recent years rapidly northwards. Now in several areas of Yorkshire.

This is the work of a leaf-miner and most likely by the caterpillar of the Golden Pygmy moth (Stigmella aurella) which "mines" bramble leaves. More on this moth Here


Garden Birds Recorded since 24 Mar areKestrelPheasantHerring GullGreat Black-backed Gull, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Yellow Wagtail, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Willow Warbler, Long-tailed Tit, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Raven, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Linnet, Goldfinch and Greenfinch

Bees Recorded: Buff-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris), Bronze Furrow Bee (Halictus tumulorum) and Mining Bee (Andrena scotica)

Hoverflies Recorded: Tapered Drone Fly (Eristalis pertinax)

Flies, Gnats and Midges Recorded: Moth Fly (Tonnoiriella pulchra)

Bugs and Beetles Recorded
: Common Green Shieldbug (Palomena prasina)

Slugs and Snails Recorded: Girdled Snail (Hygromia cinctella)

Spiders Recorded: Sun-jumpers (Heliophanus sp.)
Note - Moth FliesThere are are 99 British species in the Psychodidae family and they are all very similar looking. However the Moth Fly does look like Tonnoiriella pulchra. Common names also given to this family are Owl Midge, Owl Fly and Drain Fly. The latter so called because the larvae frequent drains. More Here on this family.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------On this day..........2019
Today's Sightings Here.
2018
Today's Sightings Here.
Categories: Magazine

29 Mar 20

Martin Adlam - Sun, 29/03/2020 - 18:09
Wakeham Wood, Perryfields Quarry Butterfly Reserve, Penns Wood, St Andrew's Church, Church Ope Cove, Church Ope Cove Wood, Penn's Weare, Penn's Copse, Rufus Castle, Bumpers Lane and Lower Horse Paddocks.

It was absolutely bitter out there this afternoon. The wind was gusting to around 30mph and coming straight off the sea from a ENE direction.

Highlights on my exercise walk were a Chiffchaff and 2 Greenfinches close to Perryfields. Very few birds seen or heard in the wind and not too many insects about either.

Just 1 Peacock butterfly seen at the cove and along the tracks there were a couple of Bloody-nosed Beetles.

The only bees I came across were Buff-tailed Bumblebees and a few Mining Bees.

The caterpillars I came across a few days ago are definitely those of the Brown-tail Moth, which have hairs which are an irritant to human skin. More on this Moth Here.

I did come across an interesting looking fly on the south facing slopes at the cove. It had a blue/grey thorax and orangey abdomen. Apparently it is a member of the Heleomyzid family of which several have this blue-grey thorax and orange abdomen.

Here are a few images and videos from today:

There are very few Greenfinches on Portland, by the sounds of it there are at least two birds in the Buddleia close to Perryfield Quarry butterfly Reserve.

Just 2 Wall Lizards seen this afternoon.
Now that they have grown in size.........
..........they can be easily identified as the caterpillars of the Brown-tail Moth.
Lots of movement with their "tent"
A Bloody-nosed Beetle on his travels.
A very short video of the second Bloody-nosed Beetle I came across this afternoon.
This is a female Tapered Dronefly, Eristalis pertinax 
And this is a male Tapered Dronefly. A distinguishing feature in identifying E pertinax from E. tenax (Common Dronefly), is that the front and mid feet are pale/orange with E. pertinax

My mystery fly.........
............which apparently is a member of the Heleomyzid family of which several have this blue-grey thorax and orange abdomen. The two photos here really dont do it justice as the thorax was very blue.

It is so easy to get Ted to pose. Just say the word cat and he stands absolutely still in the hope of seeing it.
Mammals Recorded: 4 Bunnies

Birds Recorded: Herring Gull, Wood Pigeon, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, 1 Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, House Sparrow, Chaffinch and Goldfinch

Reptiles Recorded: 2 Wall Lizard (Podarcis muralis)

Butterflies Recorded: 1 Peacock

Bees Recorded: Buff-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) and Mining Bees sp.

Hoverflies Recorded: Common Dronefly (Eristalis tenax) and Tapered Dronefly (Eristalis pertinax)

Flies, Gnats and Midges RecordedHeleomyzid Fly sp.

Bugs and Beetles Recorded: 2 Bloody-nosed Beetle (Timarcha tenebricosa)

Caterpillars Recorded: Brown-tail Moth

Aircraft Today
Earlier today this Merlin helicopter came over Wakeham.........
.........and pretty low as well.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------On this day..........2019
Today's Sightings Here.
2018
Today's Sightings Here.
Categories: Magazine

28 Mar 20

Martin Adlam - Sat, 28/03/2020 - 15:49
Wakeham

Another day spent in the back garden and a Pheasant, in neighbouring gardens, was a new species to add to my ever growing list of birds recorded since 24 March. The total so far is 24, with a full list below.

Just a Peacock Butterfly seen today. It landed by the pond briefly, before taking off.

There are still good numbers of Mining Bees in the flower beds and with them a couple of Furrow Bees. Every now and then Buff-tailed Bumblebees were taking shortcuts across the garden to other gardens close by.

My first wasp seen today, presumably a Common Wasp. Unfortunately I couldn't get close to it to see the face markings.

Lots of tiny spiders running around the flower beds.

Here are a few images and videos from today:

This very tiny bee I believe is a Bronze Furrow Bee...........
 ..........and not a Southern Bronze Furrow Bee as I first thought.
And another Bronze Furrow Bee.
I'm still pretty sure these are Andrena scotica, Mining Bees.
Another image and below a couple of videos.


A really small spider and extremely fast.
At least it stayed in one spot for a..........
...........couple more photos.
And a different individual. In fact there were several running about in flower beds. I will endeavour to ID it.
A Common Green Shieldbug
And a White-lipped Banded Snail
Ted and not forgetting........
...........Benji, enjoying the sun in the back garden
Birds Recorded since 24 Mar are: Kestrel, Pheasant, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Dunnock, Robin, Willow Warbler, Long-tailed Tit, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Raven, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Linnet and Goldfinch

Today's Garden Wildlife

Butterflies Recorded: Peacock

Bees Recorded: Buff-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris), Bronze Furrow Bee (Halictus tumulorum) and Mining Bee (Andrena scotica)

Wasps Recorded: Possible Common Wasp (Vespula vulgaris)

Bugs and Beetles Recorded: 1 Common Green Shieldbug (Palomena prasina)

Slugs and Snails Recorded: White-lipped Banded Snail (Cepaea hortensis)

Spiders Recorded: Spider sp.
Woodlice Crustaceans Recorded: Woodlouse sp.
 
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------On this day..........2019
Today's Sightings Here.
2018
Today's Sightings Here.
Categories: Magazine

Close to Home

Gavin Haigh - Fri, 27/03/2020 - 23:07
I've never been a garden lister. I can tell you some of the smart birds we've had in/from our various gardens over the years, but I can't tell you numbers. Not even roughly. It's never interested me. However, this lockdown lark has prompted me to join in with Steve Gales's #BWKM0 Garden Birdwatching Challenge. I can't be involved in a competitive way (you need a current garden list for that) but certainly in spirit. So, how's it going?

Pretty slowly if I'm honest. Having lived here for five years I already know we don't reside beneath some birdy M1. If there is a flight line above us it is one of the migrant map's 'unclassified' roads. Skywatching from the garden is akin to the seawatch of death. You know the kind. You sit there, willing it to happen, just another 15 minutes, and another, and another...oh okay, ten more minutes, tops... And before you know it, hours of nothing have passed. Still, I did get a fly-by garden tick on Wednesday. Little Egret. Not a surprise really, because the River Asker runs just to the east of us, a regular haunt of at least one individual. Three Red Kites on Monday were delightful of course, plus I've had Raven most days, and Sparrowhawk a couple of times. But invariably, when the local Herring Gulls go off, it'll be a Buzzard or three.

Our garden is tiny, and extremely unattractive to birds, but at least we have one. I feel for birders stuck in garden-less appartments. After all, I can sit outside...

Mind you, there's been much less sitting than I'd like. Being at home all the time is a fine way to spot the myriad jobs which need doing. Or have them spotted for you. Which is a right nuisance. Today's #BWKM0 tick came during a tea-break. Jay. It takes my total to 30 species.

Being stuck at home is never good for me. I am well aware of this fact, and have struggled to keep the stir-craziness in check. Last night I finally cracked, and decided to take advantage of the 'exercise' concession this morning. I set the alarm and was out pretty early. In my whole circuit I encountered just six other people, all dog walkers. I met the local Little Egret, and was probably its first human of the day. It flew up from the river and perched rather obligingly in a nearby tree...

Little Egret, waiting for me to pass so it can get on with breakfast. Probably wondering why I have no dog.

On some high ground I came across a flock of 50+ Fieldfares, which was a surprise...

Fieldfares. Standard views.
And returning home I spotted something bobbing about in the long grass up ahead of me on the path. I was absolutely delighted to discover that it was a Stoat, the first I've seen in years. And the first I've got any kind of photo of...

Stoat. The only photo I managed.
Other highlights were 16 singing Chiffs, my first 2 singing Blackcaps of the year, a Yellowhammer, and nice views of a pair of Great Spotted Woodpeckers.

It was nice to get out for a walk, and I shall certainly do it again, but probably not every day.

In the spirit of making the most of the situation, I photographed a bee yesterday. We have three pots of rosemary, and their abundant flowers attract the odd bee now and then. Tentatively we identified this one as a female Hairy-footed Flower Bee, so was delighted to have this ID confirmed by a helpful chap on Twitter this evening...

Hairy-footed Flower Bee (female)
So that's it. The bee list is off and running...
Categories: Magazine

27 Mar 20

Martin Adlam - Fri, 27/03/2020 - 15:06
Penns Wood, St Andrew's Church and Church Ope Cove

It looks like the message has got through to most people, in that you are not permitted to drive somewhere to go for a walk. That is apart from 3 cars that pulled up in Church Ope Cove car park and the occupants setting off on their prohibited daily exercise. Some people are just not getting it!!!

At least the other people I met on my daily exercise, were locals that I have met before, sadly though there are still a few that are clueless. Rant over.

Just the one migrant seen today a Chiffchaff at the back of the cove, where the pair of Long-tailed Tits are still building their nest. They have put a "roof" on it now and are busy collecting feathers to line the inside.

Not too many butterflies about but I did manage to see a female Large Tortoiseshell at the bottom of Penns Wood, a Peacock at the back of the cove and a Comma on the way up the steps.
Good to see that there are least 3 Hairy-footed Flower Bees in Penns Wood, where there were at lest 4 Nomad bees. Unfortunately they never stop flying so I have no idea which species they are.

And I managed to find more Celery Flies today with 4 on the Japanese Spindle in Penns Wood.

Here are a few images and videos from today:
Just the one Chiffchaff seen on my walk.
It was pretty flighty and searching in the Hebes, this Blackthorn and.........
............the Ivy.
One of the Long-tailed Tits collecting feathers to...........
.............line their nest which now has a dome roof.
The Wall Lizards were out in force.
These two were by the archway between the wood and the church.
A real close up of one of the Lizards and a short...........
............video.
A very worn Comma I came across as I walked up the steps from the cove.
A couple of days ago I came across one Hairy-footed Flower Bee in Penns Wood.
Today there were 3 and all males. Not seen a female yet which are all black.
And a short video of one of the Hairy-footed Flower Bees.
Love these characters.
This is a Celery Fly and just look at those green eyes.
I came across 4 today resting on the leaves of the Japanese Spindle in Penns Wood.
Not the easiest of flies to video, and sadly this is a very short video.
All I seem to be finding lately are Common Green Shieldbugs. I'm sure I'll find other species as the weather warms up. 
And as promised Ted can now see as you can tell........
.........in this video. He hasn't run like this for ages.
Birds Recorded: 1 Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, 1 Oystercatcher, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Meadow Pipit, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, 1 Chiffchaff, Long-tailed Tit, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Linnet and Goldfinch

Reptiles Recorded: Wall Lizard (Podarcis muralis)

Butterflies Recorded: 1 Large Tortoiseshell, 1 Peacock and a Comma

Bees Recorded: Honey Bees (Apis mellifera), Buff-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) and 3 Hairy-footed Flower Bee (Anthophora plumipes) and 3 nomad sp.

Hoverflies Recorded: Common Dronefly (Eristalis tenax) and 5 Syrphus sp.

Flies, Gnats and Midges Recorded: 4 Celery fly (Euleia heraclei)

Ships Today
This is the British Auxiliary ship "RFA Lyme Bay" on its way from Plymouth to Portland Harbour. More on this vessel Here
This is the British Auxiliary ship "RFA Tideforce" on its way from Plymouth to Portland Harbour. More on this vessel Here.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------On this day..........2019
Today's Sightings Here.
2018
Today's Sightings Here.
Categories: Magazine

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