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The nature of Dorset in tweets, charts, photos and maps ... 19-04-18

Nature of Dorset Records Timeline - 3 hours 40 min ago
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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: Sunday, 18 March, 2018 - 09:30 newsdesk logo.jpg
Categories: Timeline, Twitter

On the beaches of Brittany

Peter Moores Blog - Thu, 04/19/2018 - 22:51
By the mid-point of our recent family holiday to Brittany my attempts at wildlife photography had been confounded by the weather. Not only did the low light present a challenge, but the cool conditions had been holding back the spring migration of birds and the early emergence of butterflies which I had hoped would be well underway by mid-April. So when the sun put his hat on for a few hours we were tempted to head down to the beach at Suscinio, at the eastern end of the Golf du Morbihan.Male Kentish Plover, SuscinioThe male's plumage matched the colours of the beach pebbles superbly A very attractive wader
I had walked a good 20 minutes from the car looking for the Bluethroats which breed there when the rain came down, catching me without a raincoat. It was probably the nadir of the trip and I shuffled back along the beach having seen no Bluethroats cursing my luck. I trudged past some small areas at the back of the beach which had been cordoned off for breeding Kentish Plovers, thinking how woefully inadequate they looked on a beach which appeared popular with dog-walkers and sun-worshippers.A front view of the male's head patternThe female Kentish Plover lacks the male's striking head pattern......making for excellent camouflage in the context of the beach as this wide-angle view shows
Then a peep just ahead of me alerted me to the presence of a pair of Kentish Plover - one of the birds I had most hoped to see on the beaches of Brittany. I had to walk past them to get back to the car so headed down to the water's edge to avoid any potential nest site and made my way carefully past. The pair posed beautifully for a few photographs as I skirted their adopted patch of beach.
White-spotted Bluethroat, SuscinioA distinctive song from a distinctive birdNow that's just showing offThe close encounter with the Plovers had put sufficient spring in my step to have another look for a Bluethroat - this time I was more successful, as a male belted out his song across the marsh behind the beach from a prominent perch. The rain had stopped by now and other birds decided to show themselves - first a Fan-tailed Warbler, the archetypal little brown job, and then a Black-winged Stilt, a proper newspaper of a bird with its red, black and white plumage.
A typical view of the skulky Fan-tailed Warbler, though one would occasionally burst into the air in song flight......and a couple of times sat out in the openFan-tailed WarblerThe weather and my mood had improved substantially by this point so I returned to my ever-patient family. As we left we were serenaded by a deafening frog chorus, but couldn't see a single one of the choristers! I can highly recommend Suscinio if your are in the area - a fairy tale Chateau provides a stunning backdrop to the wildlife-rich marshland behind the sweeping bay, and if you are short of time and energy, you don't have to go far from the car park to enjoy it all.
Black-winged Stilt, SuscinioA presumed male, judging by the extent of black on the head......and a presumed female flying over the car park
Categories: Blogs, Timeline, Twitter

19th April

Portland Bird Observatory - Thu, 04/19/2018 - 22:34
It seems churlish to find fault with what's been reported to be the warmest April day for 70 years but the glorious conditions did migrant-seekers few favours, with most of what might have pitched up on island most likely passing high overhead without stopping during the hours of darkness; whether this was the case will never be known although the peculiar dearth of visible passage in seemingly perfect conditions during the daylight hours perhaps hinted at there being a bit of a migration blockage elsewhere. The only oddity of the day was the lingering Hoopoe that was mobile in a wide area to the north of the Grove. A minor flurry of routine migrants at dawn included 30 each of Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff at the Bill, where yesterday's 2 ater Coal Tits remained overnight but very quickly moved on and 2 Firecrests and a Bullfinch were the best of the new arrivals; interest elsewhere came in the form of a Grasshopper Warbler at Barleycrates Lane, 2 Canada Geese and a Great Spotted Woodpecker at the Grove and a Brambling at Blacknor. Sea passage was never conspicuous but included 5 Red-throated Divers and 4 Arctic Skuas through off the Bill.

Orange-tip and Green-veined White butterflies were both on the wing for the first time this year.

A seemingly endless procession of dog-walkers tempted out by the warmth of the evening saw to it that the Grove Hoopoe was extremely skittish and mobile - affording only a couple of brief settled views © Martin Cade:

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Sightings - Thursday 19th April 2018

Dorset Bird Club - Thu, 04/19/2018 - 21:44
Scaup - 1 drake still Longham Lakes, 2 past Durlston
Spoonbill - 3 Middlebere
Bonaparte's Gull - 1 still Longham Lakes, 1 E past Durlston at 9am
Little Ringed Plover - 2 Lytchett Fields RSPB
Whimbrel - 3 past Durlston, 2 Lodmoor RSPB, 1 Lytchett Fields RSPB
Hen Harrier - 1 N over Hartland Moor
Red Kite - good numbers moving along the coast today
Hoopoe - 1 still Portland Grove Stadium
Whinchat - 2 Hartland Moor
Pied Flyctacher - 1 Arne RSPB
Hawfinch - 8 Lower Bryanston

Categories: Timeline, Twitter

19 Apr 18

Martin Adlam - Thu, 04/19/2018 - 19:14
Wakeham

Busy day gardening and sorting out sheds in very warm conditions. Main highlights from the garden was a Chiffchaff singing this morning and this evening the islands only Green Woodpecker "yaffling" from the bottom of Wakeham, probably on the lawns at Pennsylvania Castle.

A few bugs etc about with Silverfish (Lepisma saccharina), Leopard Slug (Limax maximus), Woodlouse Spider (Dysdera crocata), Light Brown Apple Moth and a moth sp.
Leopard Slug (Limax maximus) More on this slug Here
Silverfish (Lepisma saccharina)
 Woodlouse Spider (Dysdera crocata)
Light Brown Apple Moth
moth sp.
And Ted being Ted, looking for "Roland" in amongst the ivy.
Categories: Blogs, Timeline, Twitter

The nature of Dorset in tweets, charts, photos and maps ... 18-04-18

Nature of Dorset Records Timeline - Thu, 04/19/2018 - 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: Sunday, 18 March, 2018 - 09:30 newsdesk logo.jpg
Categories: Timeline, Twitter

18th April

Portland Bird Observatory - Wed, 04/18/2018 - 23:09
Although the ongoing upturn in the weather was certainly inspiring, there was nothing particularly inspiring about the quality of the day's birding - at least not until a pair of Continental Coal Tits dropped in unexpectedly at the Obs during the afternoon. The Hoopoe lingered for another day at the Bill and a second individual popped up at the Grove but otherwise quality on the migrant front was limited to the year's first Cuckoo over Ferrybridge; there was a small improvement in overall numbers at the Bill where 3 Lesser Whitethroats, 2 Black Redstarts and singles of Yellow Wagtail and Firecrest were of interest, with a Ring Ouzel at Barleycrates Lane the best elsewhere. Much had been expected of the sea in a light southeasterly but in the event numbers there were hardly impressive with 58 Whimbrel, 56 commic terns, 31 Common Scoter, 12 Sandwich Terns, 4 Red-throated Divers, 3 Great Skuas and an Arctic Skua through off the Bill, 3 Great Skuas, 3 Arctic Terns, a Red-throated Diver and an Arctic Skua off Chesil and a lone Mute Swan logged at various times off Blacknor, the Bill and Chesil.

Speckled Wood at Culverwell and Clouded Yellow at Church Ope Cove were both first records for the year.

The vast majority of Portland Coal Tit records relate to individuals of the Continental form ater that's a tolerably frequent autumn stray - usually in small influxes every few years; spring records of this form are far rarer, with today's pair the first since March 2007 © Martin Cade:



Vagrant Coal Tits at Portland are often quite vocal but these birds - presumably since they were a pair - were giving all sorts of calls as they moved around together; before their capture the male did sing very briefly but due to our crass ineptness we failed to recognise it/record it and when a Great Tit flew out of the same trees dismissed the mystery song as something freakish from that bird's repertoire!


It was a glorious day of unbroken warm sunshine from dawn 'til dusk - rather too nice to have expected any sort of arrival of migrants but very welcome in the context of this year's cool, late spring © Emily Cade:
Categories: Timeline, Twitter

Sightings - Wednesday 18th April 2018

Dorset Bird Club - Wed, 04/18/2018 - 21:15
Scaup - 1 Longham Lakes, 1 Abbotsbury SwanneryCattle Egret - 1 Abbotsbury Swannery
Spoonbill - 3 Middlebere
Crane - 1 over Coward's Marsh, 3 W over Wareham 
Bonaparte's Gull - 1 still Longham Lakes
Whimbrel - 4 Swineham
Osprey - 1 over Wallisdown
Ring Ouzel - 1 Reap Lane
Hoopoe - 1 Portland Grove Stadium, 1 Portland Bill
Siberian Lesser Whitethroat - 1 Reap Lane still
Continental Coal Tit - 2 Portland Bill
Hawfinch - 8 Lower Bryanston, 6 Leigh Churchyard
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18 Apr 18

Martin Adlam - Wed, 04/18/2018 - 15:15
Pennsylvania Castle Wood, St Andrew's Church and Church Ope Cove

Well the promised warm weather certainly arrived this morning and with it wall to wall blue skies. There was that slight southeasterly wind still, but in the sheltered spots it was very warm indeed.

Main highlight today was a wannabee Wood Warbler which turned out to be a very yellow Willow Warbler in Pennsylvania Castle Wood. Initially it was feeding in the shrub area just off the footpath here, but as I walked down towards it, it flew up into the Horse Chestnut tree in the Castle Grounds, where I lost it in the leafs. A little later it reappeared above me but no matter which position I watched it, I was always looking into the sun.

There were also several Chiffchaffs about with at least 3 singing. Other than that apart from 2 Meadow Pipits overhead there were very few birds about.

However on the butterfly front, this was very good with 8 Peacocks, 4 Commas and a male Clouded Yellow. The latter on the south facing slopes at Church Ope Cove, exactly where I saw them last on 24 Nov 17 Here.

In the grounds of St Andrew's Church a couple of Wall Lizards, several hoverflies and a few bees.

Here are a few images:

Not a brilliant photo I know, but a Willow Warbler in Penns Wood.
Also here a Blue Tit.
In the grounds of St Andrew's Church a Comma. There were 3 others here as well.
A Yellow-legged Mining-bee (Andrena flavipes)
Hoverfly - Syrphus torvus
Nursery Web Spider (Pisaura mirabilis)
Wall Lizard
And a close-up
The south facing slopes at Church Ope Cove which was alive with Chiffchaffs, Peacock butterflies and a male Clouded Yellow.
Birds Recorded: 1 Gannet, Cormorant, Herring Gull, Wood Pigeon, 2 Meadow Pipit, 1 Pied Wagtail, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, 7 Chiffchaff, 1 Willow Warbler, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Linnet and Goldfinch.

Also seen: 2 Wall Lizards, 8 Peacock butterflies, 4 Commas, 1 Clouded YellowYellow-legged Mining-bee (Andrena flavipes), Hoverfly (Syrphus torvus) and a Nursery Web Spider (Pisaura mirabilis)
Categories: Blogs, Timeline, Twitter

The nature of Dorset in tweets, charts, photos and maps ... 17-04-18

Nature of Dorset Records Timeline - Wed, 04/18/2018 - 08:20
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: Sunday, 18 March, 2018 - 09:30 newsdesk logo.jpg
Categories: Timeline, Twitter

17th April

Portland Bird Observatory - Wed, 04/18/2018 - 00:43
Although the Hoopoe remained at the Bill the land was otherwise a very distant second best to the sea today: the big swell running at the Bill hinted at the presence of a deep depression and its associated brisk southerly winds to the west of Britain and seabirds were certainly feeling the effects, with a steady passage past both Chesil and the Bill. Bill totals included 938 Common Scoter, 103 commic terns, 37 Whimbrel, 27 Great Skuas, 26 Sandwich Terns, 17 Pale-bellied Brent Geese, 14 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 8 Arctic Skuas, 4 Red-throated Divers and singles of Shelduck, Gadwall, Velvet Scoter and Eider, as well as good but unquantified numbers of Manx Shearwaters (movement was again taking place in both directions but certainly involved a well into four figures total); higher totals of some species off Chesil included 41 Whimbrel and 31 Great Skuas. The land got plenty of coverage but, the Hoopoe aside, came up with nothing better than lingering singles of Short-eared Owl and Firecrest amongst the woefully low numbers of commoner migrants at the Bill.

A selection from today's seawatching at the Bill: Gadwall and Common Scoters © Ted Pressey (top photo) and Keith Pritchard (lower photo)...


...Arctic Terns, Dark-bellied Brent Geese and Eider © Keith Pritchard...



...and Arctic Skua, Whimbrel and Manx Shearwater © Martin Cade:


Categories: Timeline, Twitter

Sightings - Tuesday 17th April 2018

Dorset Bird Club - Tue, 04/17/2018 - 22:32
Pale-bellied Brent Goose - 32 W through Weymouth Bay
Eider - 1 Weymouth Bay
Scaup - 1 Longham Lakes, 1 Abbotsbury Swannery
Cattle Egret - 1 Lodmoor RSPB, 1 Abbotsbury Swannery
Spoonbill - 1 Stanpit Marsh
Bonaparte's Gull - 1 still Longham Lakes
Whimbrel - 5 Lodmoor RSPB, 1 Brownsea Lagoon
Common Sandpiper - 3 Longham Lakes, 1 Lodmoor RSPB
Hen Harrier - 1 ringtail Arne RSPB
Hoopoe - 1 Portland Bill
Hawfinch - 8 Lower Bryanston

Bonaparte's Gull - Longham Lakes © Mike Gibbons
Common Sandpiper - Longham Lakes © Mike Gibbons
Hawfinch (male with tick) - Lower Bryanston © Michael Coleman
Hawfinch (female with tick) - Lower Bryanston © Michael Coleman
Mandarin - Lodmoor RSPB © Daragh Croxson
Categories: Timeline, Twitter

17 Apr 18

Martin Adlam - Tue, 04/17/2018 - 15:39
Bumpers Lane, St Andrew's Church, Church Ope Cove, Cheyne Weare, Combefield Quarry and Perryfield Quarry.

A 2 hour walk on the route below was a bit disappointing on the bird front with the only Spring migrants being 3 Chiffchaffs. The Hoopoe seen in Combefield Quarry early this morning was impossible to find, the quarry is huge.

So it was on the reptile front where the main highlights of the day came from, with a Wall Lizard in the grounds of St Andrew's Church and and a Slow-worm in Combefield Quarry.
Where there was shelter from the stiff southerly wind I came across 4 Peacock butterflies and lots of Honeybees.

Here are a few images from today:
Today's Walk
A Linnet keeps a watchful eye on me as I walked along Bumpers Lane. There was a small flock of around 8 birds here, with lots of males singing.

This is Ivy-leaved Toadflax, Cymbalaria muralis and was on the rocky wall by Rufus Castle...........
...........It originates from the Mediterranean region and is believed to have been brought to London in 1640 with imported marble slabs from Italy. It was grown in gardens and has since escaped and become naturalised and very common throughout the UK.

Portland Spurge, Euphorbia portlandica. Who would have thought that living on Portland we would have our own Spurge named after it. However the name came about as it was discovered here. Interestingly enough it isn't that common on Portland, you would have to travel Durlston to find larger concentrations.

Any raptor passing overhead is fair game as this Buzzard found out over Church Ope Cove. It even had a Kestrel attack it.

I believe this a Southern Pill Woodlouse, Armadillidium depressum. There were several on the coastal path between Church Ope Cove and Cheyne Weare.

I can't make up my mind as to whether this is a Common Froghopper (Philaenus spumarius) or Neophilaenus lineatus. The latter would, by virtue of its name, have a pale line running down the outside edge of the forewing. One to ask the experts!!

If you ever find corrugated sheets lying around, there's always a chance of finding a Slow-worm warming up underneath. If you do lift a sheet up and there is one there, please remember to replace it gently.

This is one of the tiniest bees I think I've ever come across and was no more than a few millimetres in length, collecting pollen from inside a Buttercup.........

...... it is possibly a female Bull-headed Furrow Bee, Lasioglossum zonulum. This is a large family of bees, so it could quite easily be one of the other Lasioglossum. However Lasioglossum zonulum are found along the south coast so a good chance.

Poised and ready to spring into action.......
........this Kestrel did just that......
........swooping low and fast......
.........it ponced on a worm.
You do have to ask yourself how on earth did it see that worm!!!!
Across at Southwell something grabbed the attention of these Herring Gulls. There must have been up to 60 birds all milling around the field in front of the houses there. We will never know.

And finally a Honeybee immersed in pollen. I hope she can find the hive with that amount of pollen covering her eyes.

Birds recorded: 1 Buzzard, 3 Kestrel, Black-headed Gull, 60+ Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Wood Pigeon, Pied Wagtail, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, 3 Chiffchaff, Long-tailed Tit, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, 1 Raven, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Linnet and Goldfinch.
Also seen: 1 Wall Lizard, 1 Slow-worm, 4 Peacock butterflies, Honeybees, Common Drone fly, Southern Pill Woodlouse (Armadillidium depressum), Froghopper sp. and possibly a Bull-headed Furrow Bee (Lasioglossum zonulum)
Categories: Blogs, Timeline, Twitter

Catching up with Little Gull, Green-winged Teal, & Bonaparte's Gull

Two Owls Birding - Tue, 04/17/2018 - 08:43
Since our last blog we have visited a number of locations Wareham Forest, Blashford, Pennington & Keyhaven, Longham Lakes and Lodmoor, in what has been mostly moist weather to say the least.  Though the visits have produced some good birds and migrants.
Our Blashford visit gave us many of the usual species we would expect with the added bonus of an adult Little Gull on Ibsley Water along with our first Swallow and Sand Martin.  From the Woodland hide we had at least four Brambling a species that has been pretty scarce locally this last winter.Little Gull © Nick HullJackie and I made a quick visit to Keyhaven and were successful in seeing the Green-winged Teal though when we took the group a couple days later it wasn't to be seen anywhere. Though we did manage to find the two summer plumaged Little Gulls at Pennington and we saw many more Swallow, Sand Martin. Blackcap, Willow Warbler and plenty of Chiffchaff were also present.
Green-winged Teal & Eurasian Teal © Nick HullJackie and I on the off chance called into Longham Lakes one day in the hope the Bonaparte's Gull would be present. On our arrival we couldn't find it, though a Common Tern was patrolling the lakes.  We ran into George Green who had found the bird a few days previous but he said that he'd walked around the lakes and hadn't seen it either.  We were thinking we'd move on when I turned around and there behind us on an almost deserted north lake was the bird.  Over the next thirty minutes or so it gave us excellent views.  Well worth the stop.

Lodmoor was our most recent visit which started in the dry but before we were half way around the rain started but not before we had picked up a few migrants.  Our first was a singing Reed Warbler we came across at least three on our walk.  The next was a small flock of Swallow and Martins and Fran managed to find our first spring House Martin amongst them in fact there may have been three.  A Little further on we had Blackcap and a couple each of Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff.  As we walked along the west path heading towards the bay I heard a bird calling overhead and immediately realised it was a Serin, a few of us managed to see the small finch flying over towards the north-west, unfortunately it kept going.  Both the male and female Marsh Harrier put in separate appearances, also what was obvious since our last visit here was the lack of wildfowl numbers where birds had left for breeding grounds in northern Europe.
Female Marsh Harrier from the Archive
Categories: Blogs, Timeline, Twitter

The nature of Dorset in tweets, charts, photos and maps ... 16-04-18

Nature of Dorset Records Timeline - Tue, 04/17/2018 - 08:18
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: Sunday, 18 March, 2018 - 09:30 newsdesk logo.jpg
Categories: Timeline, Twitter

16th April

Portland Bird Observatory - Tue, 04/17/2018 - 00:01
A day of oddities and sea passage rather than quantities on the land. In an onshore breeze and fair conditions until late in the afternoon when it clouded up the Hoopoe lingered on at the Bill, a Hawfinch passed over there, the Green Woodpecker stopped in at several spots whilst undertaking yet another lap of the island and an unseasonable Sooty Shearwater lingered for a while off the Bill. The very thin scatter of routine migrants at the Bill included the season's first Garden Warbler and singles of Golden Plover, Ring Ouzel, Black Redstart and Firecrest. Seawatch tallies were dominated by an unquantified total - well into the hundreds - of Manx Shearwaters milling or heading in either direction off the Bill; later a more concerted eastbound movement developed that included 150 through off Chesil. Gulls were also on the move, with 163 Kittiwakes and 76 Common Gulls through off the Bill during the morning and a movement - to roost? - of mainly Herring Gulls off Chesil during the evening that included an Iceland Gull; other sea totals from the day included 11 Eider, 8 Whimbrel, 8 Great Skuas, 6 Red-throated Divers and an Arctic Skua through off the Bill and 10 Eider settled off Chesil.

The official record has it that Sooty Shearwater has been recorded in every month of the year off the Bill although we wouldn't mind betting that a straw poll of informed observers in the modern era would have revealed more than a little scepticism about the veracity of the single records for the months of March, April and May, all of which date from the 1960s and 70s and none of which have photo-documentation. Well, April can now be knocked off the list of dodgy months © Ted Pressey (top photo) and Joe Stockwell (lower photo):


Moving gulls were a feature offshore throughout the day, with a good passage of Kittiwakes and Common Gulls off the Bill © Joe Stockwell...



...and an Iceland Gull through off Chesil © Martin Cade:


One of the Great Skuas passing the Bill © Joe Stockwell:

Once again, the Green Woodpecker was the island rarity of the day on the land © Martin Cade:
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