You are here

Timeline

The nature of Dorset in tweets, charts, photos and maps ... 20-06-18

Nature of Dorset Records Timeline - 5 hours 40 min ago
Click/tap the logo to proceed to the page.

The nature of Dorset yesterday in tweets, charts, photographs and maps along with other sources of news of nature conservation and general wildlife interest:

  • Yesterday.s recorded sightings of mammals, birds, insects, plants and more
  • The current recording "hot-list" - the best recorded 30 species in the last 30 days
  • A map of sites where yesterdays records came from - what was seen near you?
  • Yesterday's records in graphical form to show the highlights
  • The pick of the photographs that came with the tweets
  • Interesting news items, notices of events and links to blogs
  • Links to the Nature of Dorset Daily newspaper and to various other blogs from Dorset conservation organisations

Everything you wanted to know and more ... and it's free of charge and free of adverts!

 

Published Date: Monday, 25 December, 2017 - 09:30 newsdesk logo.jpg
Categories: Timeline, Twitter

Sightings - Wednesday 20th June 2018

Dorset Bird Club - Wed, 06/20/2018 - 22:37
Whooper Swan - 1 Abbotsbury Swannery
Great Northern Diver - 2 Weymouth Bay
Common Crane - 2 over Knowlton Church
Little Ringed Plover - 4 Holton Lee
Green Sandpiper - 1 Abbotsbury Swannery
Roseate Tern - 1 Lodmoor RSPB
AMERICAN ROYAL TERN - 1 over Lodmoor RSPB this evening, then in Portland Harbour (from Billy Winters) before flying off

Yesterday- report of a Rose-coloured Starling in a private garden in Bournemouth for a second day.

Corn Bunting at Tarrant Rushton © Trevor Wilkinson
Skylark at Badbury Rings © Trevor Wilkinson
Stonechat at Hengistbury Head © Clinton Whale
Categories: Timeline, Twitter

20 Jun 18

Martin Adlam - Wed, 06/20/2018 - 22:22
Rufus Castle, Church Ope Cove, St Andrews Church and Pennsylvania Castle Wood

A slight extension to yesterday's walk taking in Church Ope Cove. What didn't change though was the weather which was exactly the same as yesterday, with high humidity, thick Fog and hot sunny breaks.

Main highlights today were a Marbled White butterfly seen above Rufus Castle and Brimstone moth flushed at Church Ope Cove, both firsts for the year. Also seen great views of a male Broad-bodied Chaser along my "Mermaid" track.

Just 2 Wall Lizards seen, with my first ever on the beach at Church Ope Cove running across the pebbles.

There didn't seem to be that many butterflies about today, but apart from the Marbled White, I did record Ringlet, Meadow Brown, Small Heath, 2 Large Skippers and Large White.

On the moth front I had the Brimstone mentioned above, 4 Silver-Y, 1 Six-spot Burnet moth and dozens of micro moths Micropterix aruncella (White-barred Gold). When I say micro they were tiny and around 3mm in length!

Quite a few sawflies about which I will try and ID, along with two Ichneumon wasps sp. and the weirdest group of small black bugs I have ever seen, which are probably very young Shield Bugs.

What I did recognise though were a Drone Fly (Eristalis abusivus), Dark Bush-crickets, a Black-mining Bee (Andrena pilipes), lots of Swollen-thighed Beetles (Oedemera nobilis), 2 Sicus ferrugineus flies, 2 Hornet Mimic Hoverflies (Volucella zonaria), a Pellucid Hoverfly (Volucella pellucens) and a solitary Lackey moth caterpillar.

Here are a few images from this afternoon:

A Sawfly sp.
And another.
The same as above. 
A male Broad-bodied Chaser along my "Mermaid" Track.
A Ringlet
An Ichneumon sp.
This is a Drone Fly, Eristalis abusivus
My first Wall Lizard actually on the pebbles on the beach at Church Ope Cove.
Still a lot of these Dark Bush-crickets about
What a truly stunning bee, a Black-mining Bee, Andrena pilipes
A male Swollen-thighed Beetle
This Hebe by the huts on the beach at Church Ope Cove was absolutely alive with bees, flies, moths.You name it, it was probably on there.

This has to be the smallest moth I have ever encountered....
.....and there were loads in and around the Hebe on the beach.
And it wasn't just the beach that I came across these White-barred Golds (Micropterix aruncella) there were many in the bushes along the steps up to St Andrew Church.

These Sicus ferrugineus are certainly unusual looking. I came across two today.
An Ichneumon sp.
This is a Large Skipper.
These are really bizarre and most likely baby Shield Bugs.
One of two Hornet Mimic Hoverflies seen today. My first this year
A Lackey moth caterpillar.
Another Wall Lizard on the wall up to St Andrew's Church
And another Large Skipper, this time in the grounds of St Andrew's Church
A Six-spot Burnet Moth in the church grounds again.
My first Pellucid Hoverfly (Volucella pellucens) of the year.
Well that was quick. Someone came out today and moved the boulder off the steps on the way down to Church Ope Cove.
Categories: Blogs, Timeline, Twitter

20th June

Portland Bird Observatory - Wed, 06/20/2018 - 09:01
 

A reminder that there's an In Focus field event at the Obs between 10am and 4pm this Saturday, 23rd June.
Categories: Timeline, Twitter

Sightings - Tuesday 19th June 2018

Dorset Bird Club - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 23:05
Whooper Swan - 1 still at Abbotsbury Swannery

Green Sandpiper - 1 Abbotsbury Swannery

Buzzard at Upton CP © David Wareham
Categories: Timeline, Twitter

19th June

Portland Bird Observatory - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 22:07
Today's only migrant interest concerned an increase in (returning?) Dunlin at Ferrybridge where they were up to 28 in the evening.
Categories: Timeline, Twitter

19 Jun 18

Martin Adlam - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 19:04
Rufus Castle, St Andrews Church and Pennsylvania Castle Wood

The same route as yesterday, though that couldn't be said for the weather which though was really humid was a mixture of thick Fog and hot sunny breaks. Really bizarre!

This particular route is certainly one of my best to date, with new "bug" species turning up daily. Today was no exception with a few more new species to add to my ever growing Port and Wey list. A Fabricius' Nomad Bee (Nomada fabriciana) was great to find in the grounds of St Andrew's Church. That is now Gooden's Nomad Bee (Nomada goodeniana), Marsham's Nomad Bee (Nomada marshamella), Flavous Nomad Bee (Nomada flava) and now Fabricius' Nomad Bee (Nomada fabriciana) recorded on Portland. Another bee I recorded was my first ever Mason Wasp (Gymnomerus laevipes), though I did have other thoughts as to what it could have been. Thank you to Tim Struddock on the UK Bees, Wasps and Ants Facebook Group for the ID

On the butterfly front I had several Ringlets, Meadow Heaths, Common Blues, 3 Large Skippers, 2 Small Skippers, 2 Lulworth Skippers, 2 Commas, 4 Large Whites, 2 Small Whites, 2 Green-veined Whites, a Dingy Skipper and my first Small Heath of the year.

A few moths about with a Six-spot Burnet moth, several Twin-barred Knot-horns (Homoeosoma sinuella) and one to ID.


The or a different Wasp Beetle was very close to one I saw yesterday in the grounds of St Andrew's Church, where I also found an unusual wasp which I reckon is probably a Potter Wasp or something similar.
I also came across a Dark Bush-cricket, Swollen-thighed Beetles, White-lipped Banded Snails (not found another Brown-lipped yet!), a caterpillar of what I'm now convinced is that of a Six-spot Burnet moth, a Black-horned Gems (Microchrysa polita) or is it in fact a Broad Centurian (Chloromyia formosa), one of the Cheilosia sp. flies, a Mullein moth caterpillar and my first Tiger Cranefly (Nephrotoma flavescens) on Portland. I'm surprised I've not come across more.
Here are a few images:

Down the Mermaid Track a few White-lipped Banded Snails.
A Large Skipper
Dark Bush-cricket, Pholidoptera griseoaptera
A very dingy Dingy Skipper
My first Small Heath this year. Hopefully more to the follow and better photos as well.
A Ringlet. Many on the wing now, with several in the grounds of St Andrew's Church
A Small Skipper
I'm beginning to consider that this is actually the caterpillar of the Six-spot Burnet moth. Very similar to the Five-spot Burnet moth caterpillar, I have yet to see a Five-spot Burnet moth on Portland.

A moth sp.
....taking off.......
........and lift off.
A Speckled Wood
A Twin-barred Knot-horn, Homoeosoma sinuella
And another one.
Now what's happened here!!
Fetch Ted. It looks like human intervention has dislodged a boulder from under Rufus Castle.
Stone me how did that get there!!
I think this is a Black-horned Gems, Microchrysa polita. Not dissimilar to a Broad Centurian, Chloromyia formosa or maybe it is!!

And finally a Lulworth Skipper. Not bad 4 skippers in one outing.
This spot here has produced Lulworth Skippers on the 3 occasions I have been here.
Ah yes that boulder from the other side. Ted is not impressed.
A Cheilosia sp. There are quite a few very similar species.
A Meadow Brown. Lots of these on the wing.
A Large White which I thought was a Marbled White until I tracked it down.
Only the one Mullein moth caterpillar found today............
......and he's making short work of this leaf.
My first Tiger Cranefly (Nephrotoma flavescens) on Portland. I'm surprised I've not come across more.
The same/different Wasp Beetle (Clytus arietis) in almost the same spot as yesterday in the grounds of St Andrew's Church.

A slightly different view across the grounds of St Andrew's Church.
I cannot believe I am struggling with this..........
.......initially I thought it was a Clearwing, which would have been a cracking find. I'm now thinking that it is a species of Potter Wasp or something similar. In fact it is a male Mason Wasp (Gymnomerus laevipes). When I was trying to ID this I dismissed this one as the stripes on "mine" were in pairs whereas all the images I came across of Gymnomerus laevipes the stripes were 4 or more and not paired. I guess there can be lots of of variations.

I'm well pleased with this one. I've had quite a few nomad bees and this is another a Fabricius' Nomad Bee (Nomada fabriciana).


Not sure what this fly is, but it was busy "flapping" its wings.
And one I will never ID, but I just love the pose it gave as it perched itself on top of a brick wall.
I said it was humid and these two felt it today. Ted and Benji.
Categories: Blogs, Timeline, Twitter

11 Apr 18 - Atlantic Odyssey - Day Fourteen: Arrival At Tristan Da Cunha

Birding in Poole Harbour and Beyond - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 18:00
Today was another day of expectation as we were arriving at Tristan da Cunha. This was another island group I was really looking at visiting. Several years ago, I went to a talk given by Brad Robson, who is the brother of one of my local Birding mates. Brad & his family had the lucky opportunity to visit & stay on Tristan da Cunha for several months as part of his job with the RSPB working with the team responsible for the British Overseas Territories. The talk was a mixture of Birds, but also life on the small island. The population of Tristan da Cunha in Jan 17 was only 262 permanent residents. It was a fascinating talk. It helped to reinforce the plan in my mind that started in the 90s, that I would join one of the Atlantic Odyssey cruises from Ushuaia via South Georgia, Tristan da Cunha, St Helena & Ascension. Finally, after all these years of considering the trip, I was two weeks into it & we were due to arrive at Tristan da Cunha. By late morning we could finally see Tristan da Cunha in the distance. Over the next hour the island became bigger.
The initial view of Tristan da Cunha: The island is approximately round with a diameter of 7 miles & a size of about 38 square miles
Tristan da Cunha: Panoramic shot showing how well the volcano dominates the island. The highest point of the volcano is 2062 metres
Tristan de Cunha: There was a reasonable coverage of bushes & trees on the steep slopes
The volcano dominates the island: Leaving only a narrow low elevation plain
Edinburgh of the Seven Seas: We arrived from the the South & sailed anti-clockwise around the island until we reached the settlement of Edinburgh of the Seven Seas, on the NW corner of the island
Edinburgh of the Seven Seas: The harbour lies at the right hand end of the settlement
Unfortunately, there was a 4 metre swell & a 30 knot NW wind blowing into the harbour & the harbour master had declared the harbour was closed. To be honest, I wasn't surprised. Fishing is one of the main incomes for the islanders. One of the films of life on Tristan da Cunha that we were shown while we were at sea said the islanders were only able to go to sea for around 80 days a year. I think the harbour may have been improved since that film, as it wasn't recent. However, it does indicate the impact the weather & sea have on the harbour. There had been another tourist ship waiting to land for three days & which had left that morning, without having been able to put their passengers ashore.Yellow-nosed Albatross: There was a regular movement of Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatrosses flying to photograph when we weren't looking at the island
Yellow-nosed Albatross: Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross
Yellow-nosed Albatross: Atlantic Yellow-nosed AlbatrossAs we were circumnavigating the island, it was steady enough on the top decks & a few telescopes appeared with people scanning the hillsides. A few Albatross nests were seen on the steep hillsides & then a surprise call came from one of the European Birders: I can see a Gough Moorhen. This is one of the endemics we were keen to see, having missed it on Gough Island. Gough Moorhens used to breed on Tristan da Cunha, but are believed to have died out following the arrival of people. However, another subspecies survived on Gough Island & some of these individuals were moved to Tristan da Cunha in 1956. As always with these scenarios some authorities believe that the now extinct Tristan Moorhens & Gough Moorhens were separate species, rather than subspecies. Either way the Gough Moorhen re-introduction was successful. So the next thing was trying to see the Gough Moorhen. The Plancius was probably 3/4 mile offshore & it was a few hundred metres up the hillside, so a good stable telescope was necessary. I had to wait until one of the telescopes became free, as my lightweight travelling scope would have struggled (especially without a tripod). I could see the area that the people were looking, but it had walked back into the trees, before I finally got to look through a telescope.
The Gough Moorhen site: Underneath the right hand side of the bushes & trees was a fenced enclosure (see next photo)The Gough Moorhen site: This individual was feeding around the top right hand corner of the enclosure every now & then, before walking back into the bushesAfter some discussion between the Plancius & the harbour master, we were given permission to cruise around the island & look for a place where we might be able to attempt a zodiac cruise in the afternoon. The first planned position was on the South East of the island, but that was too rough at the gangway to allow the zodiacs to be loaded. However, it did allow another area of hillside to be checked & a second Gough Moorhen was found, which I got to see. A handful of Birders did see Tristan Thrushes in flight from the Plancius. They are even smaller in size, but are the only Passerine on the island.
The second Gough Moorhen site: This individual was feeding on the open ground in this deep gully every now & then before going back into the bushes for periods. Fortunately, I got to see this one moving around though a decent telescope at even further range. Good job is there are no confusion species on the islandAs we were unable to get the zodiacs into the water, the Plancius continued to look for a sheltered position & we went past the first Gough Moorhen site again. The Gough Moorhen searching started again & this time I got to a telescope in time.Gough Moorhen: An extreme crop with it right in the centre. I'm amazed at how good the Canon 7D Mark II & 100-400 mm Mark II lens are as a camera setup to get this record shot at over 3/4 mile away. Through the scope, it had just been possible to see the bill colouration & overall shape to ensure we hadn't misidentified a ChickenFortunately, the Plancius found a more sheltered location, to the East of the original Gough Moorhen site & we were called to the zodiac deck. There was still a fair bit of swell on the zodiac deck & I decided not to risk the cameras, especially as it didn't look like there would be much to photograph. All we found was a lone moulting Tristan Penguin on the beach & a single Subantarctic Fur Seal. However, it was good to be able to get close to the beach on Tristan da Cunha as we didn't know if we would get the chance to land on the island. After the zodiac cruise, we returned to the Plancius & continued to slow cruise along the shoreline. As the light started to fall, good numbers of Great-winged Petrels were milling around offshore, wailing for the darkness so they could go ashore.Great-winged Petrel: Great-winged Petrels breed on Gough & the Tristan da Cunha Islands, as well as, Marion, Crozet & Kerguelen Islands in the Indian Ocean
Great-winged Petrel: They have a rounded tail
Great-winged Petrel: They are a large long winged Petrel, with a slightly paler face & a steep forehead, which gives the impression to my eyes that they have a droopy bill
Great-winged Petrel: Good numbers of Great-winged Petrels gathered offshore of Tristan da Cunha at dusk Eventually, we anchored up off the settlement. We were not encouraged to go onto the decks after dark when we were at sea, in case somebody accidentally fell overboard. However, given we were anchored in the shelter of the island, a few people went to the lower rear deck. It turned out to be a real spectacle. As well as the stunning clear night sky, there was a second light show in the water from the phosphorescence of hundreds of Squid as they drifted by on the current. Squid tend to descend during the day to avoid predators & come to the surface in the relative safety of darkness. The phosphorescence is caused by bioluminescent bacteria. It was a great natural light show, but one that my cameras failed to capture.
Categories: Blogs, Timeline, Twitter

The nature of Dorset in tweets, charts, photos and maps ... 19-06-18

Nature of Dorset Records Timeline - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 07:40
Click/tap the logo to proceed to the page.

The nature of Dorset yesterday in tweets, charts, photographs and maps along with other sources of news of nature conservation and general wildlife interest:

  • Yesterday.s recorded sightings of mammals, birds, insects, plants and more
  • The current recording "hot-list" - the best recorded 30 species in the last 30 days
  • A map of sites where yesterdays records came from - what was seen near you?
  • Yesterday's records in graphical form to show the highlights
  • The pick of the photographs that came with the tweets
  • Interesting news items, notices of events and links to blogs
  • Links to the Nature of Dorset Daily newspaper and to various other blogs from Dorset conservation organisations

Everything you wanted to know and more ... and it's free of charge and free of adverts!

 

Published Date: Monday, 25 December, 2017 - 09:30 newsdesk logo.jpg
Categories: Timeline, Twitter

18th June

Portland Bird Observatory - Mon, 06/18/2018 - 23:02
An announcement for Obs members that this year's AGM - the first AGM since our change to Charitable Incorporated Organisation status - will be held at 4.30pm on Saturday 14th July; buffet refreshments - weather permitting, including a barbeque - will be provided after the meeting. Our new charitable status does bring with it the need to be as open to scrutiny by the membership as we have been in the past and we're hoping for a good attendance at the meeting. An agenda for the meeting can be found by clicking here.

Hardly anything worth a mention today: a few Manx Shearwaters, 5 Common Scoter and an unidentified skua passed by the Bill and 2 lingering Chiffchaffs were still about on the land there.

A Delicate at the Grove was the night's only noteworthy immigrant moth.


Categories: Timeline, Twitter

Sightings - Monday 18th June 2018

Dorset Bird Club - Mon, 06/18/2018 - 22:38
Petrel species - 1 presumed Storm Petrel off Mudeford Quay
Osprey - 1 Wareham Channel
Cuckoo - 1 at Wick and Whitepits on Hengistbury
Categories: Timeline, Twitter

Scalloped Hook-tip

Nature of Dorset Reference Database - Mon, 06/18/2018 - 21:34

 

A fairly common species where birch trees grow

 

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

Brindled White-spot

Nature of Dorset Reference Database - Mon, 06/18/2018 - 21:32

 

Mainly a woodland species around oak, birch, hazel and hawthorn

 

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

Rush Veneer

Nature of Dorset Reference Database - Mon, 06/18/2018 - 21:29

 

Primarily an immigrant species to southern England often in large numbers

 

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

Twenty-plume Moth

Nature of Dorset Reference Database - Mon, 06/18/2018 - 21:25

 

A common species in woodlands, hedgerows and gardens

 

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

18 Jun 18

Martin Adlam - Mon, 06/18/2018 - 20:04
Rufus Castle, St Andrews Church and Pennsylvania Castle Wood

This particular walk via the old  Mermaid Pub is proving to be quite interesting, especially when the sun comes out like today. The short path Here from Wakeham takes you through to the coast path and is a haven for all sorts of insects.

Today there were Common Carder Bee (Bombus pascuorum), Red-tailed Cuckoo-bee (Bombus rupestris) and Three-banded White-tailed Bumblebees (Bombus hortorum) feeding on the Viper's Bugloss (Echium vulgare), of which there are quite a few. I also came across my first Spined Mason Bee (Osmia spinulosa) in the copse half-way down the steps from Rufus Castle.

Several butterfly species were on the wing with my first Ringlet of the year, a tatty Red Admiral, a very worn Dingy Skipper, 2 Lulworth Skippers, a Common Blue and several Meadow Browns. I also came across a Six-spot Burnet Moth again in the grounds of St Andrews Church.

Also recorded were 2 Mimic Bee Hoverflies (Volucella bombylans), 2 Rose Chafers (Cetonia aurata) and some firsts for me on Portland a Wasp Beetle (Clytus arietis), along with a probable Sawfly (Tenthredopsis coquebertii), a Conopidae Fly (Sicus ferrugineus) and two of the Cheilosia hoverflies.

There was a nice surprise in the grounds of St Andrew's Church with a few Mullein Moth caterpillars on the same plant they were seen on two days ago, but were absent from yesterday. Where did they go!

Here are a few images from my walk:

This track behind the old Mermaid Pub is proving to be a little haven for butterflies, bees and bugs. Lots of protection from the wind and when the sun comes out it becomes a little hot spot.

At first I thought this was an Ichneumon Wasp but in fact it is a sawfly and most probably Tenthredopsis coquebertii which is found in hedgerows and well vegetated areas in the southern half of Britain. Thank you to David Notton on the UK Bees, Wasps and Ants Facebook Group for the ID

What I first thought was a fly...........
.........is in fact a hoverfly.
And is one of the Cheilosia species.
This one is a different Cheilosia species than the one above. Thank you to Paul Beuk on the UK Diptera Facebook Group for the ID.
A very worn Dingy Skipper, Erynnis tages
A Lulworth Skipper, and one of our smallest butterflies in the UK.
A Rose Chafer. I came across two of these today.
A Mimic Bee Hoverfly, Volucella bombylans. I've not seen a V. plumata for a few days now.
A lovely little bee and is a Spined Mason Bee, Osmia spinulosa. Thank you to Nick Franklin on the UK Bees, Wasps and Ants Facebook Group for the ID
Today's winner for the oddest looking "beastie" goes to this one.
A really odd looking fly........
.......and is a Sicus ferrugineus. More on this fly here.
Another Lulworth Skipper, Thymelicus acteon. More on this small butterfly Here.
The view across Church Ope Cove.
St Andrew's Church
The archway at St Andrew's Church just behind the velarian.
My first Ringlet of the year in the grounds of St Andrew's Church
Also here a tatty Red Admiral........
.......and a Six-spot Burnet Moth.
Talking about moths, I found a few Mullein moth caterpillars on the same plant that yesterday was completely void of them!

Also in the grounds in the nettles I came across this Wasp Beetle, Clytus arietis.
Penn's wood was alive with Speckled Wood butterflies, hoverflies and this very small moth. Not sure if this is one I'm going to be able to ID.

At first I thought these were dead flower heads..........
........however they are the complete opposite and about to flower. I have no idea what they are, but watch this space.
Categories: Blogs, Timeline, Twitter

10 Apr 18 - Atlantic Odyssey - Day Thirteen: Gough Island

Birding in Poole Harbour and Beyond - Mon, 06/18/2018 - 18:00
There was an early morning wake up call for those who weren't already up to confirm we were sailing back in close to Gough Island to take another close look at the island.
The weather was also misty due to the impact of some overnight rainHowever, there was also disappointment for most of passengers as it also confirmed that although the wind had dropped a little, the swell was still too rough to allow us to safely get into the zodiacs. As as result, we were going to get another Plancius cruise around Gough Island: but no zodiac cruise.
Early morning gloom: This didn't just apply to the light, as we all upset to miss out on a zodiac cruise
Another waterfall: There were a number of active waterfalls indicating Gough Island must get a fair bit of rain
The weather took some time to start improving
There were a number of these isolated rock stacks Tristan Penguins were one of the species I was really keen to see. They only breed on Gough & the Tristan da Cunha Islands in the Atlantic, as well as, St Pauls & Amsterdam Islands in the Indian Ocean. We had seen really distant scope dots on the previous afternoon of one of their colonies: which hadn't been very satisfactory. So it was good to see some Tristan Penguins in the water this morning.
Tristan Penguin: They are also known as Northern Rockhopper Penguin or Moseley's Rockhopper Penguin. This was my third Penguin Tick for the Odyssey. I've got just three left to see now: Galapagos Penguin, Adelie Penguin & the difficult Emperor PenguinTristan Penguin: A close up to show how extensive the yellow feathering is
Tristan Penguin colony: This is a fairly reasonable sized colony
Tristan Penguin colony: It looked more of a long hop up to this colonyThe Edinburgh: A Belize registered & based fishing boat was also taking shelter around Gough Island & showing how rough the seas were for this 12 metre boat
At some points the sea became really rough when the seas were exposed to the wind
The water was being lifted from the tops of the waves
Finally we found a more sheltered bay & the conditions had improved. To our surprise we were called to the observation lounge & told the Expedition staff & the crew, reckoned they had a sheltered enough position to put a couple of zodicas in the water. This worked out OK & we were going to get a zodiac cruise after all. It still looked quite choppy & I decided to skip taking the cameras. In hind sight, it would have been alright, but I had already managed to get a Tristan Penguin photo from the ship & I was happy. So there are none of the better photos of the Tristan Penguins that some of the other photographers took & none of the Subantarctic Fur Seals on the beaches that we saw. However, not focusing on the photography gave me chance to keep scanning the rocks & I was pleased to be the first to see a Gough Bunting. There are only a few hundred pairs of this olive coloured Finch that is restricted to Gough Island. It seems likely that it originated from one of the South American species, as they superficially resemble Yellow-bridled Finches of Tierra Del Fuego. The others in the zodiac weren't so happy, as it flew & dropped out of sight as I called it. However, we went on to find two or three others feeding on the rocks just above the beach & all who wanted got to see them. Not the behaviour I had been expecting. However, I guess there is more food here & like the South Georgia Pipit, Gough Buntings are happy to exploit any food source. They are found on the island up to 800 metres elevation.Another rock stack The weather & light were finally improvingBy late morning, we were back on the Plancius & the zodiacs were reloaded. It was time to complete the journey around the coast, before turning North West toward to Tristan da Cunha: a day's sailing away. Given it was now late morning, we wouldn't arrive at Tristan da Cunha till late morning the following day. But the zodiac cruise was a real bonus & a couple of my mates on our trip, Richard & Mike, had rebooked on this trip as they had been unable to do a zodiac trip on their trip in 2016. That wasn't their only reasons, but was a major factor for both of them. In Richard's case, his wife Bridget had been unable to do the full trip, so they had rebooked to do the cruise together. Opportunities to experience Gough Island aren't guaranteed, so we were all elated, especially after seeing the Gough Buntings. The weather & sea conditions are such a crucial factor & not having long in the schedule to wait for the weather to improve, it is just lucky if trips get the chance of a zodiac. The 2014 Odyssey missed Gough Island completely due to a medical emergency, as the Plancius had to visit the Falklands after South Georgia & they bypassed Gough Island completely. I think we were all feeling very lucky given all our landings & zodiacs in South Georgia & Gough Island had been successful. However, I was also aware that at some point this luck was likely to run out before we reached the calmer tropical waters. But as we were sailing away, there were still plenty of Birds to look at as we were leaving Gough Island, while I quietly contemplated when our luck would change.
Sooty Albatross: AdultSooty Albatross: Adult
Tristan Wandering Albatross: Subadult Tristan Wandering Albatross: Another photo of the same subadult individual
Tristan Wandering Albatross: Another photo of the same subadult individualSouthern Giant Petrel: Gough Island is the most northerly breed population of Southern Giant PetrelSouthern Giant PetrelGreat Shearwater: We saw several large rafts of Great Shearwaters on the water as we were leaving Gough Island
'White-bellied' Black-bellied Storm-petrel: One of the white-bellied melanoleuca subspecies of Black-bellied Storm-petrel that breeds on Gough & the Tristan da Cunha Islands
'White-bellied' Black-bellied Storm-petrel: Another individual
'White-bellied' Black-bellied Storm-petrel: Another photo of the previous individual
'White-bellied' Black-bellied Storm-petrel: We sailed past a feeding flock of at least 25 'White-bellied' Black-bellied Storm-petrels, along with a few South giant Petrels 
Southern Giant Petrel & 'White-bellied' Black-bellied Storm-petrel: Note, the Southern Giant Petrel from the previous photo has a yellow ring on it, but the photo is not good enough to read the ring number
'White-bellied' Black-bellied Storm-petrel: Three of the flock
'White-bellied' Black-bellied Storm-petrel: Another two
'White-bellied' Black-bellied Storm-petrel: Five moreBrown Skua: This Tristan Brown Skua briefly circled the Plancius
Antarctic Tern: They breed on all the major Subantarctic Islands in the Southern Oceans. This is the tristanensis subspecies which occurs on Gough & the Tristan da Cunha Islands, as well as, St Pauls & Amsterdam Islands in the Indian Ocean
Antarctic Tern: I had seen them in South Georgia, but they were never close to the PlanicusSince I've got back I found this really interesting RSPB website about their work on Gough Island. As it is a British Overseas Territory, the RSPB are an important conservation body working on the British Overseas Territories. There is a good blog on the website as well, although it doesn't get too many updates given they probably have a very slow satellite connection to the outside world. But it does allow the small RSPB team to write about life on Gough Island & the pressures on the Seabirds. You would think that life for a Seabird on a remote outer island of the remotest inhabited island group in the world (Tristan da Cunha) should be great. However, Gough Island, like many of these remote islands is suffering badly from introduced Mice, which have grown to three times the size of their European cousins. They are currently causing havoc & are a major threat to both the Tristan Wandering Albatross which are declining at three percent a year due to the impacts of the Mice predating chicks & the Gough Buntings which have declined to 400-500 pairs (compared to around 1500 pairs in 1991). Again the Mice are the main threat to this Critically Endangered single island endemic passerine. Additionally, Gough is the only breeding island for Atlantic Petrels & it is an important island for the newly discovered MacGillvray's Petrel: although time will tell if this is related to the MacGillvray's Petrels in the Indian Ocean or a separate species. Additionally, the island is home to the Gough Moorhen, although a population has now been successfully re-introduced on Tristan da Cunha, after the original Tristan population were wiped out following the arrival of humans there.
Tristan Wandering Albatross: Subadult. One of the species that would benefit from clearing Mice from Gough IslandTo help safeguard the Seabirds & Gough Bunting, there is a plan to eradicate the Mice in June - Aug 19 during the Southern Winter. There is an appeal to raise the final two million pounds to fund this eradication plan. This is something that specialist teams are getting well practiced at successfully clearing these large islands of introduced Rats & Mice. Earlier in the trip we saw the increase in South Georgia Pipits on the mainland following their successful Rat eradication project. So the plans are now being put in place for Gough Island. Anybody, who would like to contribute can find more information about the plans & how to contribute on the RSPB Gough Island website. I will be making a donation once I'm back in a contract again.
Categories: Blogs, Timeline, Twitter

Forum Post: RE: Burnet Moth ?

RSPB Weymouth Wetlands - Mon, 06/18/2018 - 14:41
Yes, it's a six spot burnet moth. butterfly-conservation.org/.../six-spot-burnet.html
Categories: Blogs, Timeline, Twitter

17th June

Portland Bird Observatory - Mon, 06/18/2018 - 08:40
A day of increasingly grim conditions, with the fog blown in on a freshening wind so thick by the late afternoon that the sea was no longer visible from the Obs. The only reports were of 50 Manx Shearwaters, 4 Common Scoter and singles of Arctic Skua and Mediterranean Gull through off the Bill and 2 Arctic Skuas through over Ferrybridge.

Two Delicates were the only immigrant moths trapped overnight at the Obs.
Categories: Timeline, Twitter

The nature of Dorset in tweets, charts, photos and maps ... 17-06-18

Nature of Dorset Records Timeline - Mon, 06/18/2018 - 08:17
Click/tap the logo to proceed to the page.

The nature of Dorset yesterday in tweets, charts, photographs and maps along with other sources of news of nature conservation and general wildlife interest:

  • Yesterday.s recorded sightings of mammals, birds, insects, plants and more
  • The current recording "hot-list" - the best recorded 30 species in the last 30 days
  • A map of sites where yesterdays records came from - what was seen near you?
  • Yesterday's records in graphical form to show the highlights
  • The pick of the photographs that came with the tweets
  • Interesting news items, notices of events and links to blogs
  • Links to the Nature of Dorset Daily newspaper and to various other blogs from Dorset conservation organisations

Everything you wanted to know and more ... and it's free of charge and free of adverts!

 

Published Date: Monday, 25 December, 2017 - 09:30 newsdesk logo.jpg
Categories: Timeline, Twitter

Pages

Subscribe to The Nature of Dorset  aggregator - Timeline