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13 Mar 20

Martin Adlam - Fri, 13/03/2020 - 18:11
Wakeham Railway Cuttings, Penns Wood, St Andrew's Church, Church Ope Cove, Church Ope Cove Wood, Penns Weare and Penns Copse.

Another sunny start to the day, but the ever increasing cloud cover, put paid to any chance of spotting any Large Tortoiseshell butterflies at the cove. Not only that the wind direction was more southerly today and the "draft" was coming right up the south facing slopes. I did however come across two Peacocks and a Comma. The latter was seen with one of the Peacocks in the grounds of Pennsylvania Castle.

On the bird front there were 2 Chiffchaffs and a Firecrest at the back of the cove, whilst overhead there was a small passage of Meadow Pipits heading north. Another Chiffchaff was in Penns Wood.

Not seen by me but there was also the first sighting of a Swallow on Portland tweeted Here.

There were quite a few Wall Lizards about, all in the church grounds and just about everywhere I walked there dozens of bees of at least 5 species on the Alexanders and Hebes.

A Common Green Shieldbug was found on a Comfrey leaf in Penns Wood.

Here are a few images from today:

There were several Robins singing along my walk this morning. This one was above my head in Penns Wood.
A Common Green Shieldbug also in the wood.
The grounds of St Andrew's Church was definitely the warmest place to be this morning and......
........didn't the Wall Lizards know it, with at least 8 out basking in the sun.
Right in close and it didn't bat an eyelid.
Here another ventures out of its hidey-hole.
Church Ope Cove looking south and where today there were 2 Chiffchaffs and a Firecrest.
Also here a Peacock butterfly and a...........
....................Tree Bumblebee.
Yet another Andrena bee..........
..........which sadly cannot be ID, unless it was captured and sent away for analysis. Not something I'm about to do.
And today's mystery fly on an Alexanders at the cove and one of the Macquartia flies
Birds Recorded: Herring Gull, Wood Pigeon, 10+ Meadow Pipit, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, 3 Chiffchaff, 1 Firecrest, Long-tailed Tit, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, House Sparrow, Chaffinch and Goldfinch

Reptiles Recorded: 8 Wall Lizard (Podarcis muralis)

Butterflies Recorded: 1 Comma and 2 Peacock

Bees Recorded: Honey Bees (Apis mellifera), Early Bumblebee (Bombus pratorum), Buff-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris), Garden Bumblebee (Bombus hortorum) and Tree Bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum)

Hoverflies Recorded: Common Drone Fly (Eristalis tenax) and Tapered Drone Fly (Eristalis pertinax)

Flies, Gnats and Midges Recorded: Kelp Fly (Coelopa frigida), Muscid Fly (Phaonia subventa) and Macquartia sp

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

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

12 Mar 20

Martin Adlam - Thu, 12/03/2020 - 12:57
Wakeham Railway Cuttings, Penns Wood, St Andrew's Church, Church Ope Cove and Church Ope Cove Wood
A bright start to the day, though a stiff south-westerly and an onshore breeze at Church Ope Cove meant there weren't many sheltered spots along my walk this morning.

Main highlights today were 2 Firecrests in Penns Wood and a Goldcrest & 2 Chiffchaffs in the grounds of Pennsylvania Castle.

Elsewhere there were 2 Rock Pipits on the beach, whilst overhead a few Pied Wagtails and Meadow Pipits were heading up the island. At the back of the cove a Peacock Butterfly.

Also about in the church grounds were 2 Wall Lizards, a Comma Butterfly (my first this year), a male Amblyteles armatorius (which would suggest the one I found on 9 Mar was a female) and quite a few Common DronefliesTapered DronefliesAndrena bee sps. and Muscid Flies. Plus a Common Green Shieldbug

Here are a few images and videos from today:

The grounds of St Andrew's Church which was probably the most sheltered spot I could find this morning.
I arrived in the church grounds just as the sun was moving up the walls. Even a hint of sun though was enough for this Wall Lizard and another close by to venture out.

A Common Green Shieldbug
One of the many Common Droneflies about the moment.
Most likely a Syrphus torvus.
And a male Ichneumon Wasp - Amblyteles armatorius. A few days ago there was another similar Ichneumon Wasp without any yellow banding on the abdomen. A bit confusing as females have small yellow bands. The fact that this male is in the same bed of Alexanders as the other Ichneumon Wasp, I would be pretty certain it was a female I came across.

Also in the church grounds was this Tree Bumblebee.
The Peacock butterfly............................... at the back of the cove.
And a Muscid Fly cleaning itself
And Ted. I forgot to mention that yesterday was his 5th Birthday.
And his daily buzz
Birds Recorded: Herring Gull, 7+ Meadow Pipit, 2 Rock Pipit, 7+ Pied Wagtail, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, 2 Chiffchaff, 1 Goldcrest, 2 Firecrest, Long-tailed Tit, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, House Sparrow, Chaffinch and Goldfinch

Reptiles Recorded: 2 Wall Lizard (Podarcis muralis)

Butterflies Recorded
: 1 Peacock and a Comma

Bees Recorded: Honey Bees (Apis mellifera), Early Bumblebee (Bombus pratorum), Buff-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) and a Tree Bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum)

Ichneumon Wasps Recorded: 1 Amblyteles armatorius

Hoverflies Recorded: Common Dronefly (Eristalis tenax), Tapered Drone Fly (Eristalis pertinax), Migrant Hoverfly (Meliscaeva auricollis) and 2 possible Syrphus torvus

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

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

Ships Today
This is the British Frigate "HMS Lancaster" heading down the east coast of Portland. More on this vessel Here.
This is the Cargo Ship "Hoop" flying the flag of Panama. It is on its way from Landskrona (Sweden) to Bilbao (Spain). More on this vessel Here.

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

11 Mar 20

Martin Adlam - Wed, 11/03/2020 - 21:22
Penns Wood, St Andrew's Church, Church Ope Cove, Church Ope Cove Wood, Penns Weare, Penns Copse, Rufus Castle and Portland Museum

Yet another day where the early morning sun soon disappeared and the clouds moved in.

Highlights today were a Firecrest at the back of the cove where there was also a Chiffchaff with another Chiffchaff in Penns Wood.

The big difference this morning was the increased number of bees, hoverflies and flies. Wherever there were Alexanders in the sun, there was quite a bit of activity on them.

Here are a few images from today:

The local Kestrel hunting over Church Ope Cove
Keeping out of sight a Chiffchaff at the back of the cove.
Here is the same Chiffchaff flitting about in the bushes with a Peacock butterfly flying across from left to right.
More Wall Lizards
And another.
And another from the grounds of St Andrew's Church
This one however was with 2 others at the back of the cove along the track.
An Early Bumblebee (Bombus pratorum)
A Honey Bee on an Alexanders.
And another with quite a bit of orange on the abdomen.
And another with a large pollen sac.
An Andrena bee sp.
And another Andrena bee sp.
A pair of mating................
................ 7-Spot Ladybirds
Just the one Bloody-nosed Beetle today. This one in the grounds of St Andrew's Church
A Common Dronefly
And this is a Migrant Hoverfly
The cove seems to be quite a good spot for this hoverfly.
I even managed a video of one.
So many of these Muscid flies out on the wing. This is Phaonia subventa
A White-lipped Banded Snail
And a Kentish Snail
It was surprisingly warm down at the cove as Ted found out. Sadly not warm enough for any other butterflies, other than the Peacock that appeared in my Chiffchaff video.

Birds Recorded: Kestrel, Herring Gull, Wood Pigeon, 1 Rock Pipit, 2 Pied Wagtail, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, 2 Chiffchaff, 1 Firecrest, Long-tailed Tit, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, House Sparrow, Chaffinch and Goldfinch

Reptiles Recorded: 8 Wall Lizard (Podarcis muralis)

Butterflies Recorded: 1 Peacock

Bees Recorded: Buff-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris), Honey Bees (Apis mellifera) and Early Bumblebee (Bombus pratorum)

Hoverflies Recorded: Tapered Dronefly (Eristalis pertinax), Common Dronefly (Eristalis tenax) and Migrant Hoverfly (Meliscaeva auricollis)

Flies, Gnats and Midges Recorded: Kelp Fly (Coelopa frigida), Muscid Fly (Phaonia subventa) and Yellow Dung Fly (Scathophaga stercoraria)

Bugs and Beetles Recorded: 1 Bloody-nosed Beetle (Timarcha tenebricosa) and 2 7-spot Ladybird (Coccinella septempunctata)

Slugs and Snails Recorded: White-lipped Banded Snail (Cepaea hortensis), Garden Snail (Cornu aspersa), Kentish Snail (Monacha cantiana) and Black Slug (Arion ater)

Ships Today
This is the British Offshore Ship "Ocean Osprey" just off Portland. More on this vessel Here.
This is the British Frigate "HMS Lancaster" in Weymouth Bay. More on this vessel Here.

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

10 Mar 20

Martin Adlam - Tue, 10/03/2020 - 19:54
Portland Bird Observatory, Crown Estate Fields, Top Fields, Southwell Barn, Sweethill, Limekiln Cave and Hut Fields.
A long and very muddy walk this afternoon, made with more hope than expectation, as I was on the lookout for my first Wheatear to make it across the Channel this Spring. No such luck, but then I didn't see my first one until 14 Mar 2019 and on 12 Mar 2018, so they should be here very soon.

There were however quite a few Pied Wagtails about and maybe a couple of White Wagtails in amongst them. These were in the horse field to the north of the Sweethill path Here. Unfortunately I'm a bit rusty on White Wagtails, having not seen one since the 80's when I lived in Germany, so they were probably just 1st year female Pied Wagtails. However the flanks on a few of them were quite white like Whites, but the backs were a bit to dark, which might indicate that they are of mixed origin. I.e. Pied x White.

Also about were several Skylarks with a few males singing from altitude, which was quite an accomplishment considering there was a very strong wind coming up the island.

A few of the fields in the Top Fields were being ploughed and there must have been a good 150+ gulls following the tractor. At one stage they all took off and then followed the tractor to the next field. Mostly Herring Gulls of different ages, there were a few adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls and several 1st Winter Great Black-backed Gulls in amongst them.

A few Raptors about with 3 Common Buzzards in the Crown Estate Fields and Top Fields, and there was also Kestrel along the south-west coast path as I made my way back to the obs.

Here are a few images and a couple of videos from today:

Well it was good day for the local Buzzards, that seemed to enjoy........
............the wind as it blew up and over the Crown Estate Fields.
Here another Buzzard sits on a post in the Top Fields.
Just a few of the 150+ gulls following the plough.
A mixture of Herring Gulls, Lesser Black-backed Gulls and Great Black-backed Gulls take to the skies.
A few landed in neighbouring fields. An adult Lesser Black-backed Gull sat in front of the Herring Gulls.
One of several Skylarks foraging in the recently ploughed field.
A male Pied Wagtail. Terrible photo.
And an even worse photos of what appears to be......
............a White Wagtail. However even though the flanks are pale the back is to dark.
Either its a 1st Winter female Pied Wagtail or maybe a cross between a Pied/White.
Along the coast path a lone Kestrel is on the lookout for a meal.
In the Obs garden a female Pheasant clearing up the dropped seeds from the feeders.
In the distance Rufus Castle sits above Church Ope Cove. Photo taken from Limekiln Cave 
Rufus Castle
And finally Ted, who started off white and ended muddier and dirtier than I've ever seen him before.



Ted doing what Ted does, a Bichon Buzz.
Says it all.
Birds Recorded: Gannet, Cormorant, 3 Buzzard, 1 Kestrel, 2 Pheasant, 100+ Herring Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Wood Pigeon, 7+ Skylark, 2 Meadow Pipit, 1 Rock Pipit, 7+ Pied Wagtail/White Wagtail, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Great Tit, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, 1 Raven, 50+ Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Linnet and Goldfinch.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------On this day..........2019
Today's Sightings Here.

2018
Today's Sightings Here.
Categories: Magazine

9 Mar 20

Martin Adlam - Mon, 09/03/2020 - 14:50
Penns Wood, St Andrew's Church, Church Ope Cove, Church Ope Cove Wood, Penns Weare, Penns Copse, Rufus Castle, The Cuttings and the Mermaid Track

The early morning sun soon disappeared and unfortunately as I started my walk it clouded over, so no chance of any butterflies today.

Main highlights were 1 Firecrest at the back of the cove and singles of Chiffchaff in Penns Wood and the Mermaid Track.

Also about were 3 juvenile Wall Lizards which, as the sun went behind the clouds, also disappeared into their holes in the church walls.

Also in the church grounds were a few small bees about and an Ichneumon wasp, which I initially thought was an Amblyteles armatorius. However the abdomen on this individual is all black without the yellow banding. With females the yellow bands are a lot smaller, but not that small you wouldn't see them. Odd!!

Here are a few images from today mostly bees

Honey Bee. Quite a few out at the top of Penns Wood.
And Andrena sp.
As above. This very small bee was on the Alexanders in the grounds of St Andrew's Church
A Buff-tailed Bumblebee on a Hebe at the back of the cove.
And a Garden Bumblebee just north of Rufus Castle.
They are some mandibles.
And the mystery Ichneumon wasp, which I initially thought was an Amblyteles armatorius.
However males have quite distinctive yellow bands on the abdomen and females, which this could be, have very small bands. Yet there are no bands at all that I can see. Most odd!!

A Common Dronefly with.......
.........an odd looking pattern on its abdomen, which is not obvious on the other photo. Must be the trick of the light.

I just caught up with these juvenile Wall Lizards..........
............before they all disappeared.........
..........as the clouds gathered.
Good old Ted
Birds Recorded: Herring Gull, Wood Pigeon, 1 Rock Pipit, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, 2 Chiffchaff, 1 Firecrest, Long-tailed Tit, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, House Sparrow, Chaffinch and Goldfinch

Reptiles Recorded: 3 Wall Lizard (Podarcis muralis)

Bees Recorded: Buff-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris), Honey Bees (Apis mellifera), Garden Bumblebee (Bombus hortorum) and an Andrena sp.

Wasps and Ichneumon Recorded: Ichneumon sp.

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

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

Ships Today
This is the Cypriot Cargo Ship "Elbcarrier" on its way from Rotterdam (Holland) to an unknown destination. More on this vessel Here.

This is the Cargo ship "IMI" flying the flag of the Bahamas. It is on its way from Terneuzen (Holland) to Portland Harbour. More on this vessel Here.

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

Swannery Bird Sightings - January/February 2020

Steve Groves - Sun, 08/03/2020 - 19:08
Highlights... 1st January to 29th February 2020
January...The best bird of the month was a Caspian Gull (a second calendar year) on the 7th...

(Phone-scoped) Caspian Gull (2cy), Abbotsbury Swannery, January 2020 © Steve Groves
Also noteworthy were twenty-two Egyptian Geese that circled over on the 21st and three Scaup on the 10th only...

Scaup (two 1cy ducks, one 1cy drake), Abbotsbury Swannery, January 2020 © Steve GrovesScaup (two 2cy ducks, one 2cy drake), Abbotsbury Swannery, January 2020 © Steve Groves
Goosander was present on the 16th; last month's Red-necked Grebe remained and lingered to the 4th, with it or another reappearing on the 12th to the 19th; sixteen Golden Plovers on the 12th (following a single on the 10th); a Woodcock on the 7th; the over-wintering Common Sandpiper throughout...

Common Sandpiper, Abbotsbury Swannery, January 2020 © Steve Groves
A Yellow-legged Gull (a third calendar year) was seen on the 26th; the regular Cattle Egret roost peaked at thirty on the 10th at least; two Great Egrets were seen regularly throughout...

Great Egrets, Abbotsbury Swannery, January 2020 © Steve GrovesGreat Egret, Abbotsbury Swannery, January 2020 © Steve GrovesGreat Egret, Abbotsbury Swannery, January 2020 © Steve Groves
Also at least one Marsh Harrier was seen regularly; there was at least one Barn Owl on several dates; a Merlin on the 26th; single Peregrines on the 8th and 17th  and at least one over-wintering Chiffchaff throughout.


February...
The best birds of the month were another Caspian Gull (a second calendar year) on the 10th...

(Phone-scoped) Caspian Gull (2cy), Abbotsbury Swannery, February 2020 
© Steve Groves(Phone-scoped) Caspian Gull (2cy), Abbotsbury Swannery, February 2020 
© Steve Groves
... and a Little Auk (sadly dead) on the 24th, the first since November 2014, though thankfully that one was alive.

Little Auk (deceased), Abbotsbury Swannery, February 2020 © Steve Groves
Also of note were a Goldeneye (female) from the 25th; what may or may not have been last month's Red-necked Grebe again on the 10th; with it or another lingering from the 17th to the month's end; a Curlew on the 24th; the over-wintering Common Sandpiper still; a peak of thirty-three Cattle Egrets in the nightly roost on the 20th; a regular Great Egret; regular Marsh Harriers with three together on the 27th; a Barn Owl on the 28th at least; a Merlin on the 19th; a Peregrine on the 7th; a Chiffchaff on the 14th (always elusive here in February) and a Greenfinch (hard to find at all now) on the 27th. 


And that's it for this post except for a thank you to my colleagues Joe Stockwell, Kev Butler and Charlie Wheeler for finding some of the above birds. Also thanks to Swannery WeBS volunteers Alan Barrett and Nick Urch and other work colleagues and visiting birders that reported Swannery sightings. 

March 2020 sightings to follow shortly.

Steve Groves.


Categories: Magazine

8 Mar 20

Martin Adlam - Sun, 08/03/2020 - 17:51
Penns Wood, St Andrew's Church, Church Ope Cove, Church Ope Cove Wood, Rufus Castle and Portland Museum

A day of dodging the showers, though Ted and I did get caught out as we came up the steps to Rufus Castle. Main highlights today were 3 Firecrests and 3 Chiffchaffs, with 1 Firecrest in Penns Wood and 2 at the back of the cove. The Chiffchaffs were in Penns Wood, Church Ope Cove Wood and by Rufus Castle.

Out to sea just the 1 Gannet and a Cormorant.

On the cove a single Rock Pipit, whilst overhead 2 Kestrels, a Raven and several Meadow Pipits passed through.

When the sun came out there were several Buff-tailed Bumblebees on the Hebes around the cove. I also came across a bee possibly one of the Andrena species.

Unfortunately no butterflies today. The cove was certainly sunny enough for them, but with the wind was coming right of the sea.
Here are a few images from today:

A lone Gannet heads down the coast towards the Bill.
When the sun was out, so the Wall Lizards put in an appearance.
Even the juveniles were out today.
I have asked the experts as to what species of bee this is, but no joy.
I did wonder if it was an Andrena flavipes, but apparently not. So Andrena sp.
And I really got caught out with this hoverfly........
I assumed wrongly that it was one of the Eupeodes because of its flat abdomen.
How wrong was I, apparently it is a Syrphus sp.
Well there is no mistaking this for anything else other than a Bloody-nosed Beetle. Love those feet
And as I left the cove so the rain began to fall.
Birds Recorded: 1 Gannet, 1 Cormorant, 2 Kestrel, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Wood Pigeon, 7+ Meadow Pipit, 1 Rock Pipit, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, 3 Chiffchaff, 3 Firecrest, Long-tailed Tit, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, 1 Raven, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, and Goldfinch

Reptiles Recorded: 7 Wall Lizard (Podarcis muralis)

Bees Recorded: 7+ Buff-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) and an Andrena sp.

Hoverflies Recorded: 3 Tapered Drone Fly (Eristalis pertinax) and a Syrphus sp.

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

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

Ships Today
This is the Danish Training Ship "Danmark" on its way from Esbjerg (Denmark) to Las Palmas (Grand Canaria). More on this vessel Here.

This is the British Offshore Supply Ship "Ocean Osprey" on its way from Vlissingen (Holland) to Portland. More on this vessel Here.

This is the British General Cargo Ship "Kelly C" on its way from Portland to Zaandam (Holland). More on this vessel Here.

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

Go Easy on the Optimism...

Gavin Haigh - Sat, 07/03/2020 - 22:51
After work yesterday I popped to Cogden for the last hour of the day. The optimist in me was thinking 'Sand Martin, yes, I can easily imagine a late arrival hawking over the Burton mere reed bed as the light fades...' The trouble with optimism is its fellow traveller, disappointment, whom I met once again last night. Ah well...

The birdy highlight was a calling, but invisible, Chiffchaff in the car park scrub. In my mind's eye I could see its little pollen horn, clear evidence of a migrant. Because I'm an optimist. Thank goodness it remained hidden.

I spied another birder at Cogden, further along the beach. Not someone I recognised. He carefully avoided me on his return, detouring close to the water's edge. I smiled wryly. Just the sort of thing I probably would have done. What a miserable old so-and-so I've become.

And so to this morning...

Starting early, I walked the coast from Burton Bradstock to the West Bexington mere and back. Wheatears were conspicuous by their absence. Frequent scans of the sea revealed no passing birds at all, and absolutely nothing of interest bobbing about on it either. A few birds were in cheerful song. A Skylark, the odd Dunnock, and this chap...

A Reed Bunting giving it large. Massively underwhelming.
I can only imagine that female Reed Buntings are simple souls, choosing their mate on the basis of 'most boringly repetitive song', a clear indication of a steady, reliable provider. Mr and Mrs Dull.

Approaching the point where the West Bex mere lurks behind the beach I could see a modest gathering of gulls...

A distant, spray-shrouded hint of promise...
I managed to spook them in small doses, so couldn't even console myself with the possibility that I might have missed a goody. I saw them all, and none were goodies. So I climbed the beach to view the mere, inexplicably counted the Tufties (27), noted the dearth of other ducks, and began the long trudge back to Burton Bradstock. As I spent most of the return trip daydreaming, it was very therapeutic.

So, what can I say? A long walk. Few birds of interest, if any. But in all that time I passed just one dog-walker and a couple of anglers. And the scenery...
Categories: Magazine

7 Mar 20

Martin Adlam - Sat, 07/03/2020 - 13:13
Osprey Quay

Whilst checking out our boat at Portland Marina this morning, this Great Northern Diver came right up to the boat.

Here are a few images and very short videos, unfortunately it wasn't on the surface for any length of time.





A bit further out in the marina it caught a crab and then............
...........tossed it in the air, before diving down to pick it up again.



Not Ted barking, but a yappy one on behind me. Didn't seem to bother him though, the diver or Ted.
Ships Today
Just the one today and it was being valeted. Sad thing is I can't find any info on it. Nice boat though and would most likely set you back a few million or two, and probably a lot more!! I will try and find out.





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

6 Mar 20

Martin Adlam - Fri, 06/03/2020 - 19:30
Penns Wood, St Andrew's Church, Church Ope Cove, Church Ope Cove Wood, Penns Weare, Grove Cliffs, The Cuttings and Mermaid Track

Today I had an extended walk in the hope of finding a Wheatear along Penns Weare, no such luck, but before I set off I was at the cove with several lepidopterists looking for the Large Tortoiseshell butterflies seen here earlier in the week. Unfortunately luck was against them as well, but oddly enough we did come across a Small Tortoiseshell feeding on the Hebes next to the south facing huts.

Also along at the cove was a Peacock butterfly and a quite a few Wall Lizards. Overhead there were 3 Peregrine Falcons, a Common Buzzard, a Sparrowhawk and a Kestrel, plus one of the local Ravens. The cove was certainly the place to be, and adding to the list above there were also 2 Firecrests in the cove wood calling away.

Elsewhere there was Firecrest and Chiffchaff in Penns Wood, where there was also a Tree Bumblebee, and along Penns Weare I came across some really early Blackthorn blossom which were attracting a few Buff-tailed Bumblebees.

In the grounds of St Andrew's Church there were the usual Wall Lizards basking in the sun and on the Alexanders were many Muscid Flies, Common Drone Flies and a presumed Syrphus torvus hoverfly.

Also along Penns Weare I came across 3 Bloody-nosed Beetles.

Here are a few images and a video from today:

This is the south facing slopes at Church Ope Cove. On Monday and Tuesday of this week there were at least 3 Large Tortoiseshells. Today there was no sign of them but there was this.............

..............Small Tortoiseshell, also a rare sight on Portland
The church Wall Lizards. Great characters.
This Buff-tailed Bumblebee was really tucking into these early flowering Blackthorn along Penn's Weare.
Just the one Migrant Hoverfly today.
This hoverfly was quite small compared to both the Common and Tapered Droneflies out at the moment.....
.........and I was thinking maybe an Eristalis arbustorum. However it turns out to be a small Tapered Dronefly (E. pertinax). Apparently the adult sizes vary depending on how much they eat as a larvae, as do all hoverflies.

Most likely a Syrphus torvus hoverfly.  
There were a few more of these Bloody-nosed Beetles out today, running along the paths in Penn's Weare.
I would like to think that this Portland Spurge (Euphorbia portlandica), but there is also a Sea Spurge. More on Portland Spurge Here. One to check again Spring/Summer.

And way way across Weymouth Bay is the headland of St Aldhelm's Head viewed from from Penn's Weare. The building in the middle, on top of the headland is St Aldhelm's Chapel Here. More on the Chapel Here and Here
Birds Recorded: Fulmar, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Buzzard, 3 Peregrine Falcon, 1 Kestrel, 2 Oystercatcher, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Wood Pigeon, 1 Rock Pipit, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, 1 Chiffchaff, 3 Firecrest, Long-tailed Tit, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, 1 Raven, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Linnet and Goldfinch
Reptiles RecordedWall Lizard (Podarcis muralis)

Butterflies Recorded: 1 Peacock and a Small Tortoiseshell

Bees RecordedTree Bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum), Buff-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) and Honey Bees (Apis mellifera)

Hoverflies RecordedTapered Dronefly (Eristalis pertinax), Common Dronefly (Eristalis tenax), 1 Migrant Hoverfly (Meliscaeva auricollis) and a probable Syrphus torvus

Flies, Gnats and Midges RecordedKelp Fly (Coelopa frigida) and Muscid Fly (Phaonia subventa)

Bugs and Beetles Recorded: 3 Bloody-nosed Beetle (Timarcha tenebricosa)

Ships Today

This is the British Cargo ship "Victress" on its way from Alderney to Poole. More on this vessel Here.
This is the British Buoy-laying vessel "Galatea" on its way from Harwich to Plymouth. Thank you to Andy my neighbour who spotted it. More on this vessel Here

This is the Maltese Tanker "Psara I" anchored in Weymouth Bay, which it was up until I started to type up my sightings. It has left Weymouth but there doesn't appear to be a destination. More on this vessel Here.

This is the Tanker "Desert Oak" flying the flag of the Marshall Islands. At the moment it is anchored up in Weymouth Bay. More on this vessel Here.

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

5 Mar 20

Martin Adlam - Thu, 05/03/2020 - 17:17
Penns Wood, St Andrew's Church, Church Ope Cove and Church Ope Cove Wood
A much colder day and with the wind now coming from the north-east it was pretty chilly at the cove. The morning walk was was postponed as it was pretty wet and miserable, however as the front moved on it was at least dry enough for a late afternoon walk.

In Penns Wood there was a Firecrest and a Chiffchaff, mirrored by another Firecrest and Chiffchaff at the back of the cove.

Elsewhere a Sparrowhawk was making it way over Wakeham, with a posse of Herring Gulls making sure it didn't hang around.

Unfortunately the damp and cool conditions meant there were very few invertebrates around and all I came across was a White-lipped Banded Snail

Here are a few images from today:

This Dunnock was in good voice at the top of Penns Wood.
I'm pretty sure this is a White-lipped Banded Snail.
This is the underground reservoir, which sits under St Andrew's Church.
And this is the rain from the reservoir making its way down to the beach.
Ted
Birds Recorded: 1 Sparrowhawk, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Wood Pigeon, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, 2 Chiffchaff, 2 Firecrest, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, House Sparrow, Chaffinch and Goldfinch

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

Ships Today
This is the British Fishing vessel "Portland Isle" on its way back into Weymouth. More on this vessel Here.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------On this day..........2019
Today's Sightings Here.
2018
Today's Sightings Here.
Categories: Magazine

4 Mar 20

Martin Adlam - Wed, 04/03/2020 - 16:01
Wakeham

Back to normal, weather-wise with persistent rain all morning. A Chiffchaff in the back garden at least brightened a damp miserable day.

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

Swannery Bird Sightings... March to December 2019

Steve Groves - Wed, 04/03/2020 - 10:06
A Catch-up...There has been a bit of an hiatus since my last post but hopefully now my posts will be more regular. This blog started as a weekly roundup of interesting sightings but after awhile I began only posting monthly (albeit eventually being more comprehensive) and then only quarterly before virtually petering out completely! I think trying to be comprehensive and include every bird species seen was my downfall, so to try and get back on track I will now revert to just covering the highlights, initially a catch-up from where I left off at the end of February 2019 and then hopefully a monthly review in 2020 (although I'm already behind schedule!).


Highlights... 1st March to 31st December 2019
March...Lingering over-wintering birds included at least three Scaup to the 18th, with two to the 20th and one to 24th; whilst the Cattle Egret roost numbered up to thirty throughout. Early spring passage produced a drake Garganey on the 28th; two Little Ringed Plovers on the 29th to the 31st; a Ruff on the 29th; an Osprey on the 31st; a Short-eared Owl on the 19th; a Merlin on the 22nd, a Firecrest on the 26th and a White Wagtail on the 21st.

Cattle Egrets, Abbotsbury Swannery, March 2019 © Kevin ButlerCattle Egrets, Abbotsbury Swannery, March 2019 © Kevin Butler
April...The best birds of the month were The Swannery's first ever documented Stone-curlew on the 10th; the third ever Temminck's Stint on the 20th (the Swannery's two previous records were in June 1993 and August 1996) and the first Ring-billed Gull since 2007 on the 3rd.


Stone-curlew, Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2019 © Kevin ButlerTemminck's Stint, Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2019 © Joe StockwellRing-billed Gull, Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2019 © Joe Stockwell
Other April highlights were another drake Garganey on the 16th and 17th; an Avocet on the 8th; further single Little Ringed Plovers on five dates over the month; two Arctic Terns on the 17th; a Fulmar on the 5th; at least 30 Cattle Egrets still lingered for much of the April (only dropping to single figures in the last week); a Great Egret on the 19th; another two Ospreys with one on the 4th and one on the 8th; a Garden Warbler on the 24th; a Redstart on the 20th; two Whinchats on the 19th; single Yellow Wagtails on six dates; two more single White Wagtails on the 2nd and 9th; a Tree Pipit on the 17th; whilst two Water Pipits on the 19th were the first for over ten years.


Garganey (drake), Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2019 © Kevin ButlerLittle Ringed Plover, Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2019 © Kevin ButlerArctic Tern, Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2019 © Joe StockwellGreat Egret, Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2019 © Joe StockwellWater Pipit, Abbotsbury Swannery, April 2019 © Joe Stockwell
May...The best bird of the month was another Temminck's Stint that was present on the 15th. So a 23 year wait since the last and then two appear within a few weeks of each other!


Temminck's Stint, Abbotsbury Swannery, May 2019 © Steve Groves
Other May highlights included single Little Ringed Plovers on the 1st and 6th; Sanderlings peaked at an impressive nineteen on the 31st, after a few single figure counts earlier in the month; three (second calendar-year) Little Gulls on the 18th, with at least one to the 30th; single Roseate Terns on the 28th and 31st; an Arctic Tern on the 18th; a Black Tern on the 31st; a Gannet on the 8th; at least three Cattle Egrets lingering until the 12th; a Great Egret from the 26th to the 31st; an Osprey on the 4th; single Hobbies on the 1st, 2nd and 14th; a Garden Warbler on the 1st; at least two Spotted Flycatchers on the 4th;  a Redstart on the 5th; single Whinchats on the 2nd, 7th and 20th; a Yellow Wagtail on the 13th and a White Wagtail on the 17th.



Little Gull (second calendar-year), Abbotsbury Swannery, May 2019 © Steve GrovesLittle Gull (second calendar-year), Abbotsbury Swannery, May 2019 © Steve GrovesRoseate Tern, Abbotsbury Swannery, 28th May 2019 © Joe StockwellRoseate Tern, Abbotsbury Swannery, 31st May 2019 © Joe StockwellArctic Tern, Abbotsbury Swannery, May 2019 © Joe StockwellBlack Tern, Abbotsbury Swannery, May 2019 © Joe Stockwell

June...Bird of the month (and the year!) was a Dark-eyed Junco that was discovered in the car park on the 21st. It is the first ever American passerine for The Swannery and probably the most unexpected addition ever to The Swannery bird list. It was a new addition to The Fleet recording area too (and only the second American passerine following a Red-eyed Vireo near Lynch Cove in October 1995) and also only the fourth for Dorset. 


Dark-eyed Junco (of the Eastern form - 'Slate-colored Junco'), 
Abbotsbury Swannery, June 2019 © John Wall

A Glossy Ibis from the 13th to the 26th June was the third occurrence of the species (following two that flew west in October 2015 and a flock of five that flew east in October 2017) but was the first to linger (apart that is from a bird in the 1970's that was questionably deemed to be an escape).


Glossy Ibis, Abbotsbury Swannery, June 2019 © Charlie WheelerGlossy Ibis, Abbotsbury Swannery, June 2019 © Kevin ButlerGlossy Ibis, Abbotsbury Swannery, June 2019 © Kevin Butler

Glossy Ibis (video), Abbotsbury Swannery, June 2019 © Steve Groves
Other birds of note in June were another drake Garganey on the 8th; single  'heard only' Cuckoos on the 10th and 24th; two Little Ringed Plovers on the 27th; further single Roseate Terns on the 18th and 26th; a Fulmar on the 4th; and a Great Egret from the 17th to the 22nd.


Garganey (drake), Abbotsbury Swannery, June 2019 © Steve GrovesLittle Ringed Plover, Abbotsbury Swannery, June 2019 © Joe StockwellRoseate Tern, Abbotsbury Swannery, June 2019 © Joe StockwellCormorants, nesting for the first time at Abbotsbury Swannery, June 2019 
© Kevin Butler
July...Yet another new bird for The Swannery was found this month and like the Stone-curlew but not the Junco it had long been expected... a Night Heron. Unfortunately though it was seen only briefly on a couple of occasions on the 5th. 


Night Heron, Abbotsbury Swannery, July 2019 © Joe StockwellNight Heron, Abbotsbury Swannery, July 2019 © Kevin Butler

Other noteworthy sightings in July included single Garganeys on the 3rd and 27th; singles of Little Ringed Plover on four dates but with five together on the 14th; single Knots on the 13th and 28th; a Sanderling 27th; single juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls on several dates but at least two on the 20th; an Arctic Skua 30th; single Spoonbills on the 14th and 30th; an Osprey on the 16th; a Hobby on the 12th;  a Grasshopper Warbler on the 27th and regular singles of Yellow Wagtails but with three or four on the 26th and 27th.


Garganey (ad. female or juv.), Abbotsbury Swannery, July 2019 © Joe StockwellLittle Ringed Plover, Abbotsbury Swannery, July 2019 © Joe StockwellKnot, Abbotsbury Swannery, July 2019 © Joe StockwellYellow-legged Gull (first calendar year), Abbotsbury Swannery, July 2019 
© Steve GrovesArctic Skua, Abbotsbury Swannery, July 2019 © Joe StockwellOsprey, Abbotsbury Swannery, July 2019 © Joe Stockwell

August...The best bird of the month was an Aquatic Warbler seen briefly on the 19th, the first, of this once regular migrant, for nineteen years.


Aquatic Warbler, Abbotsbury Swannery, August 2019 © Charlie Wheeler
Other sightings of note included three Little Ringed Plovers on the 6th; one or two Knots regularly; a Ruff one on the 13th; a Wood Sandpiper on the 2nd; regular juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls with at least three on the 1st; at least one Arctic Tern on the 16th; a Fulmar on the 28th; a Gannet on the 9th; a Cattle Egret on the 31st; a Great Egret on the 29th; one, sometimes two Ospreys regularly; a Hobby on the 2nd; single Grasshopper Warblers on the 18th and 23rd; a Garden Warbler on the 1st; two Spotted Flycatchers on the 21st/22nd; single Pied Flycatchers on the 10th/11th and 27th; a Redstart on the 20th/21st; regular Whinchats from the 22nd to the 27th with a peak of four on the last date; regular Yellow Wagtails with a roost of over 400 in the last week and regular Tree Pipits from the 12th to the 25th with a peak of over fifteen on the 21st.
Yellow-legged Gull, Abbotsbury Swannery, August 2019 © Steve GrovesOsprey, Abbotsbury Swannery, August 2019 © Joe StockwellOsprey, Abbotsbury Swannery, August 2019 © Joe StockwellGarden Warbler, Abbotsbury Swannery, August 2019 © Joe StockwellPied Flycatcher, Abbotsbury Swannery, August 2019 © Joe StockwellRedstart, Abbotsbury Swannery, August 2019 © Steve Groves


In addition to the above sightings a flock of twenty-one White Storks flew west on the 24th but they were releases from a re-introduction project rather than wild birds. Nevertheless it was apparently a fantastic sight (as unfortunately I was elsewhere... As I was for the Ring-billed Gull, Night Heron and Aquatic Warbler too!).

White Storks, Abbotsbury Swannery, August 2019 © Joe Stockwell
September...This month saw the arrival of The Swannery's first White-winged (Black) Tern (a juvenile) on the 1st (the fourth new Swannery bird of the year!) and also The Swannery's third Caspian Gull (a first winter) on the 22nd.

White-winged Tern (first calendar year), Abbotsbury Swannery, September 2019 © Kevin ButlerWhite-winged Tern (first calendar year), Abbotsbury Swannery, September 2019 © Kevin Butler
Caspian Gull (first calendar year), Abbotsbury Swannery, September 2019 
© Joe Stockwell
Also of note were twenty Pale-bellied Brent Geese on the 11th/12th; a Common Scoter on the 5th; three Goosanders on the 27th; an Avocet on the 2nd; regular Knots peaking at over fifteen on the 1st; two Sanderlings on the 9th; a Curlew Sandpiper on the 24th; a Spotted Redshank on the 22nd; a Kittiwake on the 27th; a Little Gull on the 29th; single Yellow-legged Gulls on three dates; two Black Terns on the 24th; at least five Arctic Terns on the 29th; a Gannet on the 6th; regular Cattle Egrets peaking at seven on the 14th/15th; regular single Ospreys; singles of Hobby on three dates; a Grasshopper Warbler on the 30th; single Garden Warblers on the 8th and 14th; regular Firecrests with at least four on the 8th; three Spotted Flycatchers from the 6th to the 8th; a Pied Flycatcher on the 9th; regular Whinchats peaking at four on the 15th; a Blue-headed Wagtail on the 11th; regular Yellow Wagtails with the roost holding over fifty on several dates; two White Wagtails on the 10th and at least three on the 19th and a Tree Pipit on the 9th and two on the 13th.


Pale-bellied Brent Geese, Abbotsbury Swannery, September 2019 © Joe StockwellCommon Scoter (duck), Abbotsbury Swannery, September 2019 © Steve GrovesGoosanders ('redheads'), Abbotsbury Swannery, September 2019 © Joe StockwellKnot, Abbotsbury Swannery, September 2019 © Joe Stockwell
Curlew Sandpiper, Abbotsbury Swannery, September 2019 © Steve GrovesBlue-headed Wagtail, Abbotsbury Swannery, September 2019 © Joe Stockwell
October...

There were no true rarities this month but there were still a number of notable sightings... the first Scaup of the autumn arrived on the 28th and was joined by two more on the 31st;  there were two Avocets on the 31st; two Knots on the 21st; a Sanderling on the 5th; a Curlew Sandpiper on the 2nd; a Jack Snipe on the 2nd; single Grey Phalaropes on the 2nd and 11th; single Yellow-legged Gulls on four dates but with at least four on the 25th; the first Razorbill for five years on the  25th; a Gannet on the 26th; Cattle Egrets were regular peaking at twenty-three on the 30th; one or two Great Egrets were regular but there were three on the 22nd; two Merlins were around in the first week followed by a single on the 22nd; there were at least two Bearded Reedlings from the 22nd to the 27th; up to two Yellow-browed Warblers from the 22nd to the 27th; up to four Firecrests were regular; two Ring Ouzels on the 21st were the first since 2016; there was a Whinchat on the 24th; a Yellow Wagtail on the 3rd; a Brambling on the 21st; and a Yellowhammer on the 22nd. 


Grey Phalarope, Abbotsbury Swannery, October 2019 © Joe Stockwell
Ring Ouzel, Abbotsbury Swannery, October 2019 © Joe Stockwell
November...The month's highlights were the fourth and fifth Caspian Gulls for The Swannery on the 5th and 15th respectively (the first was as recent as April 2018); and a 'new' Whooper Swan that joined the resident bird on the 18th to the 20th. 


Caspian Gull, (first calendar year), Abbotsbury Swannery, 5th November 2019 © Joe StockwellCaspian Gull, (first calendar year), Abbotsbury Swannery, 15th November 2019 
© Steve GrovesWhooper Swans, Abbotsbury Swannery, November 2019 © Joe Stockwell

Other notable sightings were... A potential wild Barnacle Goose on the 1st; Scaup peaking at five on the 9th; a Long-tailed Duck on the 7th/8th; a Common Scoter from the 4th to the 17th; a Goldeneye (now sadly classed as noteworthy!) on the 1st, followed by two on the 17th; two Goosanders on the 13th; an Avocet on the 24th; a Jack Snipe on the 8th; an Arctic Skua on the 2nd; single Yellow-legged Gulls on the 9th and 11th; the now regular Cattle Egrets that peaked at twenty-four on the 19th; one or two Great Egrets throughout; single Merlins on three dates; single Siberian Chichaffs on the 4th/5th and 28th; at least two Firecrests throughout; a Water Pipit on the 5th/6th at least; single Yellowhammers on the 3rd and 17th; and the first Corn Bunting for at least fifteen years on the 6th. 


Long-tailed Duck (juv.),  Abbotsbury Swannery, September 2019 © Joe StockwellYellow-legged Gull (adult), Abbotsbury Swannery, November 2019 © Steve GrovesCommon Scoter, (first calendar year), Abbotsbury Swannery, November 2019
© Steve Groves
December...There were no official rarities this month but a Red-necked Grebe on the 27th/28th at least was the first since 2005!


Red-necked Grebe Abbotsbury Swannery, December 2019 © Steve Groves

Other highlights included three Scaup that lingered to the 5th, with singles on the 6th and 20th to the 24th; a Long-tailed Duck on the 12th; a Shag on the 21st; the Cattle Egret flock peaked at twenty-four on the 9th; and two regular Great Egrets.

Scaup (two 1cy ducks, one 1cy drake), Abbotsbury Swannery, December 2019 
© Steve GrovesScaup (adult drake), Abbotsbury Swannery, December 2019 © Steve GrovesGreat Egret, Abbotsbury Swannery, December 2019 © Steve Groves

... So what a brilliant birding year The Swannery had in 2019... Four Swannery firsts... Stone-curlew, Dark-eyed Junco, Night Heron and White-winged Tern; two National Rarities... Dark-eyed Junco and Aquatic Warbler;  ten County Rarities... two Temmincks Stints, Ring-billed Gull, Glossy Ibis, Night Heron, White-winged Tern, three Caspian Gulls and a Whooper Swan. Here's hoping that 2020 will be at least half as good!

Finally I'd like to say a big thank you to my colleagues Joe Stockwell, Kev Butler and Charlie Wheeler for finding many of the above birds and allowing me to use their images. A big thanks too to visiting birder Clive Thompson for finding the junco and to John Wall for the use of his photo of it. Also thanks to Swannery WeBS volunteers Alan Barrett and Nick Urch and other work colleagues and visiting birders that reported Swannery sightings. 

January/February 2020 sightings to follow shortly I hope.

Steve Groves.







Categories: Magazine

3 Mar 20

Martin Adlam - Tue, 03/03/2020 - 16:40
Penns Wood, St Andrew's Church, Church Ope Cove and Church Ope Cove Wood

Another very sunny day and for the second day running it was Church Ope Cove proving to be a hit, with 2 possibly 3 Large Tortoiseshell butterflies. All of them were around the south facing huts on the beach. Also here were 1 or 2 Peacock Butterflies.

A Firecrest was at the back of the cove, where there were also quite a few Wall Lizards, with a few actually on the huts.

Elsewhere there was a Chiffchaff in Penns Wood, but sadly no sign of the Firecrests here.

There were a good number of bees out today, especially Honey Bees, which have been absent for a week or so. Also many Buff-tailed Bumblebees and Early Bumblebees. With the Comfrey well in flower, I suspect there will be a few Hairy-footed Bumblebees out soon.

Here are a few images and videos of the Large Tortoiseshell butterflies here at Church Ope Cove today:




Andy with Brian from Swanage and Gary from Kent who both traveled here today to see the Large Tortoiseshells
This one is the one they were photographing by the blue hut above.


Also about was this Peacock butterfly, my second one this year. Difficult to say, with so many butterflies about, but there could have been 2 here today.

Here are few other images from today:
This is a lone Rock Pipit on the beach again. I have a distinct feeling that its mate could well be nesting close-by. One to keep an eye out on.

Common Lizard or Wall Lizard!!
This is a close up and quite clearly it has a mottled back and doesn't have a........
...........line running down the back like these Wall Lizards in the church grounds, but is it just a variation in colour and pattern. One to check.

Having looked back at my notes this is a Common Lizard, which I found in Broadcroft Quarry Butterfly Reserve on 9 Jun 17 and was confirmed as such by a Reptile Social Media Group I am on. So my mystery lizard hanging off the hut in the 2 photos above the is most certainly a Wall Lizard.

Here is a very juvenile Wall Lizard next to Garden Snails.
The warm sun again, has seen a.......
..........few Bloody-nosed Beetles running about. This one was on the steps going up to Rufus Castle
A Honey Bee on an Alexanders.
And a Yellow Dung Fly.
And another Syrphus torvus hoverfly. Where would these insects be without the Alexanders!!
Mammals Recorded: Grey Squirrel

Birds Recorded
: 3 Oystercatcher, Herring Gull, Wood Pigeon, 1 Rock Pipit, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Firecrest, Long-tailed Tit, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, House Sparrow, Chaffinch and Goldfinch

Reptiles Recorded: 12+ Wall Lizard (Podarcis muralis)

Butterflies Recorded: 2 possibly 3 Large Tortoiseshell and 1 Peacock

Bees Recorded: 12+ Honey Bees (Apis mellifera), Early Bumblebee (Bombus pratorum) and Buff-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris)

Hoverflies Recorded: Tapered Drone Fly (Eristalis pertinax) and Common Dronefly (Eristalis tenax) and a Syrphus torvus.

Flies, Gnats and Midges Recorded: Kelp Fly (Coelopa frigida), Muscid Fly (Phaonia subventa) and Yellow Dung Fly (Scathophaga stercoraria)

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

Ships Today

This is the Container Ship "Cosco Shipping Libra" flying the flag of Hong Kong. It is on its way from Rotterdam (Holland) to Port Said (Egypt). More on this vessel Here.

This is the Dutch Cargo Ship "Helga" on its way from Southampton to an unknown destination. More on this vessel Here.

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

2 Mar 20

Martin Adlam - Mon, 02/03/2020 - 13:10
Penns Wood, St Andrew's Church, Church Ope Cove, Church Ope Cove Wood, Penns Weare, Penns Copse, Rufus Castle and Portland Museum

Well I really wasn't expecting that today. Whereas all the action yesterday was in the grounds of St Andrew's Church. Today it was at the back of the cove with not one but two Large Tortoiseshell Butterflies plus my first Brimstone of the year.

The first Large Tortoiseshell was right at the back of the cove behind the huts, whilst the second one was between two huts on the south facing embankment. I have seen a couple on Portland in the last couple of years, but it's the first time I have managed to photograph one. Well chuffed.

The Brimstone was a good find as well and was in the same area as the second Large Tortoiseshell. Unfortunately it didn't hang around for a photo.

The butterflies overshadowed the fact that there were also 2 Chiffchaffs at the cove, in the hedgerow close to the toilets.

There was one possibly 2 Firecrests in Penns Wood, with one individual calling many times.
And another good count of 9 Wall Lizards plus one Common Lizard. The latter on Penns Weare.
The sun certainly brought out the Buff-tailed Bumblebees today with 8 counted along my walk, plus 3 Early Bumblebees

Here are a few images and a video from today:
Well this area was where all the action was today. Between the 2 huts in the foreground was a...........
...........Large Tortoiseshell.
Not the first one I have seen on Portland, but certainly the first I have been able to photograph.
I even managed a short video before it flew off.
Also on the cove this Chiffchaff and another close by.
Here it is calling
Another good day for Wall Lizards. I even saw my first Common Lizard of the year.
A close up of a Wall Lizard
One of the local and vocal Long-tailed Tits.
A Tapered Dronefly
One of many Buff-tailed Bumblebees out today.
Birds Recorded: Gannet, Cormorant, Herring Gull, Wood Pigeon, 2 Rock Pipit, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, 2 Chiffchaff, 1/2 Firecrest, Long-tailed Tit, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Raven, Chaffinch and Goldfinch

Reptiles Recorded: 9 Wall Lizard (Podarcis muralis) and 1 Common Lizard ()

Butterflies Recorded: 2 Large Tortoiseshell and 1 Brimstone

Bees Recorded: 3 Early Bumblebee (Bombus pratorum) and 8 Buff-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris)

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

Flies, Gnats and Midges Recorded: Kelp Fly (Coelopa frigida), Muscid Fly (Phaonia subventa) and Yellow Dung Fly (Scathophaga stercoraria)

Ships Today
This is the British Offshore Supply Ship "Ocean Osprey" way out in the English Channel. More on this vessel Here.

This is the Portuguese Vehicles Carrier, with apt name of "Autopride". It is on its way from Avonmouth to Southampton. More on this vessel Here.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------On this day..........
2019Today's Sightings Here.

2018Today's Sightings Here.
Categories: Magazine

1 Mar 20

Martin Adlam - Sun, 01/03/2020 - 17:04
Penns Wood, St Andrew's Church, Church Ope Cove Wood and Church Ope Cove
Another day of sunshine and showers, plus a good breeze coming up the island. At least there was a bit of shelter around Penns Wood and the grounds of St Andrew's Church, where today there was a Chiffchaff and a Firecrest. The Chiffchaff actually "arrived" yesterday and was spotted by a birder I met at The Bill on the same day.

I took a few photos and a video of it, but I'm unsure whether this is an early migrant or not. Looking at the images, it does appear to have a pollen around its face, which would normally indicate that is a migratory bird and has been feeding on the Continent prior to arriving on our shores. More on migratory Chiffchaffs Here.

While the sun was out, the Wall Lizards put in an appearance, but as soon as the rain came down they were gone.

There were a few insects about with a couple of Common Droneflies, a few Muscid Flies, a couple of Yellow Dung Flies and an Early Bumblebee

Here are a few images and a couple of videos from today:

The grounds of St Andrew's Church, where all the action seemed to be today, with a Chiffchaff, Firecrest and 4 Wall Lizards

And here is the Chiffchaff.
I'm pretty sure this is an early migrant.
My feeling is that there is enough pollen encrusted around its bill, to suggest it was on the Continent before it flew over.
Here it is sat in the hedgerow in the church grounds.
And here it is calling as it makes its way though the trees and bushes.
In between the showers the Wall Lizards put in an appearance.
The east facing wall in the church grounds really does soak up the sun, despite......
..........the temperature in the shade only reaching 9.0°C.
There was a noticeable increase in Kentish Snails today, with 3 on one Alexanders in the church grounds and others close by.

Not a pleasant name for a lovely coloured fly, a Yellow Dung Fly.
Birds Recorded: Herring Gull, Wood Pigeon, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Firecrest, Long-tailed Tit, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch and Goldfinch

Reptiles Recorded: 5 Wall Lizard (Podarcis muralis)

Bees Recorded: 1 Early Bumblebee (Bombus pratorum)

Flies, Gnats and Midges Recorded: Muscid Fly (Phaonia subventa) and Yellow Dung Fly (Scathophaga stercoraria)

Slugs and Snails Recorded: 4 Kentish Snail (Monacha cantiana)

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

Please Make it Stop!

Gavin Haigh - Sat, 29/02/2020 - 21:07
Today marks the end of meteorological winter. What it doesn't mark is the end of this wet and windy weather. It feels like the rain has barely paused in four months, and the start of spring will see no let-up. Bo-o-o-o-o-oring! I am really tired of it. Instead of a nice beach walk this afternoon, the prospect of a chilly battering, heavy showers and clouds of spray encouraged me inland to Kilmington WTW on a Sibe Chiff quest. How were they doing since my last visit?

Conditions were poor. The strong wind mostly kept birds out of the boundary hedge and down on the filter beds, so viewing was quite distant. Bright sunshine made the Sibe Chiffs slightly less easy to separate from some collybita than normal, but there were certainly at least two still...

1. Sibe Chiff in typical dining area. 2. Pretty sure I've photographed this one before...This photo taken 15th Jan. I could be mistaken but I think it's the same as the bird in photo 2.
It was very difficult to assess exactly how many there were though. Two is the most I've seen previously, but it wouldn't be a shock to learn there were actually three or four birds. Today they were generally just too far away for the sort of photos which facilitate recognition of individuals. And they were flighty as anything. The revolving sprinkler arms ensured all the Chiffs were constantly buzzing about to avoid an impromptu dousing.

Midweek visits to the Axe at 'lunchtime' have been disappointing. Med Gulls appear to have resumed their pre-123 levels, with just two or three at a time, and Lesser Black-back passage was negligible. Up until a month ago I needed only to glance at a group of big gulls for a Casp to throw itself at me, but again we are back to normal. All very humdrum...

This blog has been quiet for a few days too. I think the relentless weather is dampening all sorts of enthusiasms just now. Mind you, I've no right to whine about it. At least we're not flooded out like some. That must be just so awful...
Categories: Magazine

29 Feb 20

Martin Adlam - Sat, 29/02/2020 - 17:21
Portland Bird Observatory and The Bill

With Storm Jorge hitting our shores this morning, it certainly livened up the sea off Portland Bill and up the east coast. If there were any Purple Sandpipers about I think they probably ended up in Lulworth Cove, it was that windy.

I parked up at the Obs and made my way past the Obs Quarry, where there were 3 male & 1 female Stonechat. From there I headed down through the hut fields towards the Red Crane. The only birds enroute were a couple of Meadow Pipits and a Skylark singing away.

The east coast from the Red Crane down to the Obelisk was pretty impressive as huge waves were crashing in one after the other, sending spray high into the air. On one occasion as I was videoing, I heard a young lad shriek with excitement as a wave hit the rocks behind me. At that moment I just knew I was in for a soaking, and sure enough a huge a deluge of spray came right over the cliff and absolutely soaked me.

I wasn't in any danger, but it did make me laugh that on hearing the lad, I knew what was coming.

At the Obelisk it was pretty obvious that there wouldn't be any Purple Sandpipers, especially when wave after wave was crashing into the rocks between the Obelisk and the Pulpit. In fact this is first occasion I have ever seen waves going over the top of The Pulpit.

I really wasn't expecting to see any birds along this stretch, but surprisingly I saw 12 Gannets pass through from west to east, a lone Guillemot, 1 Cormorant and 3 Herring Gull.

In the distance the sky was beginning to blacken as a shower threatened to hit the coast. With the wind speed really picking up, it was a race to get back to the Obs before the heavens opened. I managed it with just minutes to spare before this particularly shower hit the mainland.

Here are a few images and lots of videos from today:
As I was leaving the Obs I came across these 3 Stonechats. This is a male.
And another male
This is a female, however................
............and despite it being lighter I pretty sure this is another male.
Three of the Stonechats by the Obs Quarry. Two males and the female
The Red Crane is taking a bashing
And a video following the waves in towards the Red Crane
Down at the Pulpit, the waves were even higher.
And here's another wave coming over the top of the Pulpit
One of the 12 Gannets around The Bill.
Here's another.
And two more.
And one more.
Not brilliant but a short video of the Gannets just off the Pulpit.
Ted being Ted
And just as I was about to finish videoing I heard a young lad shout and then next thing I was covered in spray.
The Storm clouds gather as I headed back very quickly to the car.
Birds Recorded: 12 Gannet, 1 Cormorant, 3 Herring Gull, 1 Guillemot, Wood Pigeon, 1 Skylark, 2 Meadow Pipit, 1 Rock Pipit, 4 Stonechat, Blackbird, Great Tit, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Starling, House Sparrow and Chaffinch

Ships Today
This is the American Container Ship "Maersk Ohio" on its way from Norfolk (South-east Virginia, USA) to Antwerp (Belgium). More on this vessel Here.
Categories: Magazine

28 Feb 20

Martin Adlam - Fri, 28/02/2020 - 16:37
Ferrybridge Sandflats

An absolutely awful day weather-wise with rain lasting well into late afternoon. On the way back from a shopping trip to Weymouth I pulled into Billy Winters car park at around 2pm. From there I walked under the road-bridge to see the Dark-bellied Brent Geese, which were right in close to waters edge.

After awhile as the water levels dropped, a huge flock of 100+ geese took off and headed down the Fleet leaving another 50+ geese on the sandflats further up by the Visitors Centre.

Also on the sandflats, but right up against Chesil Beach were 100's of waders. In the appalling conditions it was difficult to tell if there were anything else but Dunlin.

Also on the sandflats were a few Great Black-backed Gulls, Herring Gulls, Black-headed Gulls and a couple of Mediterranean Gulls in Summer plumage.

Here are a few images and a couple videos from today:

Here are 2 pairs of Brent Geese.
The pair on the right are not to happy about the pair to their left.
Back to feeding again with a Mediterranean Gull for company.
You get the feeling as you watch this video that they are very nervous birds as they continually check for danger and probably what the other Brent Geese are doing.

Here another group are.........
.........joined by a small flock coming into land as the weather really began to deteriorate.
These 4 have had enough and are off.
A close up of one of the Mediterraneans Gull on the sandflats.
Rubbish photo, but looking at all these birds in the photo, I can't see anything other than Dunlin.
Likewise in this photo as well. There were probably around 100 birds close-up to Chesil Beach.
In amongst the washed seaweed was..........
..........Eelgrass which is what the geese were feeding on.
Birds Recorded: 150+ Dark-bellied Brent Goose, 3 Red-breasted Merganser, 100+ Dunlin, Black-headed Gull, Mediterranean Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Carrion Crow and Starling.

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

27 Feb 20

Martin Adlam - Thu, 27/02/2020 - 18:10
Wakeham Wood, Perryfields Quarry Butterfly Reserve, Penns Wood, St Andrew's Church, Church Ope Cove Wood, Church Ope Cove, Rufus Castle and Portland Museum.

Yet another day which saw the morning rain move away to leave a bright, sunny but still breezy day.

Lots of highlights today with the cove throwing up a single Firecrest, a Peacock Butterfly, a Blood-nosed Beetle and several Tapered Droneflies.

In Penns Wood there was no sign of the 2 Firecrests and in fact there was very little bird life other than singles of Robin, Dunnock and Chaffinch singing, plus a fly-by Grey Wagtail.

The church grounds turned up trumps with 12 Wall Lizards and there was a lone lizard at Rufus Castle and 2 behind the beach huts again.

Here are a few images and a couple of videos from today:
I just managed to photograph this very busy Firecrest at the back of the cove. However the two normally seen in Penns Wood were nowhere to be found today.

Other than the Robins and Chaffinches, the Dunnocks are also in good voice as you can...........
.............tell by this one at the top of Peens Wood. The grass strimmers you can hear in the background is from the Perryfields Quarry Butterfly Reserve. There was a team there today, from presumably the Dorset Branch of the Butterfly Conservation Group, cutting back the grass to create clear circular areas for the butterflies.

I'm not sure if the weather is going to remain sunny or not over the next few days, so here are a few Wall Lizard photos showing you just how mild and sunny it has been to date.

Here the Wall Lizards of all ages jostle for the sunniest spot.
I counted 12 in the grounds of St Andrew's Church.
Here are 4 of them (there are 2 together at the bottom of the photo)
I would normally pick up rubbish from the paths and beaches, but these two are loving the heat coming off this piece of plastic at the back of the cove. Tomorrow I will replace the plastic with nice flat stone for them to bask on.

My first Bloody-nosed Beetle of the year. This was on an Alexanders which is proving to be a lifeline for so many insects, tempted out by the mild conditions.

Also on the Alexanders this pollen covered Yellow Dung Fly and........
............Muscid Fly, Phaonia subventa.
As I was talking to one of the gardeners, who works for Pennsylvania Castle, I noticed these.........
.............which are Jelly Ear Fungus (Auricularia auricula-judae) on the tree next to us. This fungi is usually seen in Winter through to Spring. More on this fungi Here.

This is Herb Robert, Geranium robertianum. It also goes by many other names such as Red Robin, Death come quickly, Storksbill, Fox Geranium, Stinking Bob, Squinter-pip, Crow's Foot, or Roberts Geranium.

Birds Recorded: Cormorant, Kestrel, Herring Gull, 2 Stock Dove, Wood Pigeon, 1 Grey Wagtail, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, 1 Firecrest, Long-tailed Tit, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Chaffinch and Goldfinch

Reptiles Recorded: 15 Wall Lizard (Podarcis muralis)

Butterflies Recorded: 1 Peacock

Hoverflies Recorded: 6 Tapered Drone Fly (Eristalis pertinax)

Flies, Gnats and Midges Recorded: Muscid Fly (Phaonia subventa) and Yellow Dung Fly (Scathophaga stercoraria)

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

Ships Today
This is the Liberian Bulk Carrier "Sakura" on its way from Jelsa (Norway) to Portland. More on this vessel Here.
This is the Container Ship "Allegro" flying the flag of Antigua Barbuda. It is on its way from Rotterdam (Holland) to Dublin). More on this vessel Here.

This is the Cypriot Container Ship "Jork" on its way from Zeebrugge (Belgium) to Dublin. More on this vessel Here.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------On this day..........2019
Today's Sightings Here.
2018
Today's Sightings Here.
Categories: Magazine

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