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Sightings - Sunday 15th July 2018

Dorset Bird Club - Sun, 07/15/2018 - 21:05
Great White Egret - 1 Lodmoor RSPB
Spoonbill - 1 Middlebere
Osprey - 1 Poole Harbour
Spotted Redshank - 2 Brownsea Lagoon
Greenshank - 7 Middlebere
Roseate Tern - 1 Poole Harbour

Whitethroat - Hengistbury Head © Clinton Whale
Whimbrel - Hengistbury Head © Clinton Whale
Peregrine - Durlston CP © Lee


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Unexpected Rewards

Two Owls Birding - Sun, 07/15/2018 - 19:41
Several months back, as someone who volunteers at Arne RSPB nature reserve, I was invited to a vols meeting.  The subject of the meeting was to ask if any of us would like to assist in survey work over the RSPB reserves locally and at Arne.  I thought it would be a great opportunity to learn more about the wildlife and the habitats that live within the Poole Harbour basin.  So I agreed to help with  birds, bats, hoverflies, bees, wasps and reptiles, and time passed over the spring and I thought little about it.  Then an e-mail arrived a couple of weeks ago asking if I was still interested with a number of dates to help out.
Well this week I attended a day's training and what a day!  I hadn't given it much thought about what species we would be expected to survey but when I found out two of them would be British 'firsts',  that's if we found them.  Our list had four insects, a wasp, beetle, bee-fly and a damselfly and two rare flowers. 
Our first location was for the two flowers and the wasp, the latter was going to be a first for me. This was a species I had looked for a number of times and on the very heathland I was now crossing and had not found them.  After about ten minutes we stopped at a small area of bare ground and we were shown a few tell tale signs to enable us to recognise what we were looking for.
Excavation spoil like sugar granuals piled just a few centimetre away from the burrowThough we were in the middle of a hot spell we had a little cloud and there wasn't any sign of any wasps other than the burrows, so we continued on and were shown some rare botany in Yellow Century and Pale Violet. By the time we arrived back to our lunch spot the sun was out and the temperature up. While the rest of our group went into the shade two of us stayed near the wasp site.  I suppose I should say this isn't any common or garden wasp this is Purbeck Mason Wasp Pseudepipoona herrichii.  It is a nationally rare and important species that is only found on the Purbeck heaths in the whole of UK.  The nearest continental population is in Northern Spain, but these may be a different species. It appears that they parasitise on a single species of tortrix moth called Acleris Hyemana.

Purbeck Mason Wasp Pseudepipona herrichii with Acleris Hyemana caterpillar © Nick Hull Acleris Hyemana the tortrix moth that the Purbeck Mason Wasp  parasitises © Nick HullIt took about ten minutes before we spotted the first female flying in and I captured a couple of shots before she disappeared down her burrow.  By the time we had left we had recorded at least four with possibly another and found two more burrows.  Fortunately this isn't the only colony but they are a species that is of conservation concern.  We also found a sand wasp Ammophila pubescens which just happened to be the rarer of the two species of Ammophila that inhabits the Poole basin heathlands.
Sand Wasp - Ammophila pubescenes ©Nick HullOur next location was just a few miles away for two species and both I have seen before Southern Damselfly and Mottled Bee-fly.  The latter was picked up within a hundred metres from where we had parked and as we walked towards the mire where we hoped to see the damselfly we had several more. These are more fly like than there smaller relatives which many people have visiting there gardens and do not have the straight proboscis that sticks out front like a small javelin.
Mottled Bee-fly - Thyridanthrax fenestratus ©Nick HullThe Southern Blue Damselfly was pretty straight forward they have quite specific requirement calcareous water that trickles through the heathland in this case from the Purbeck hills. We saw around six of this delightful damsels and watched a pair in tandem egg laying.
Southern Damselfly Coenagrion mercuriale  Nick HullSegment showing dianostic mercury markIt was then back to the cars and a short drive down the road and out on another piece of heath this time for a Heath Tiger Beetle, another first for me, and once we had walked to the right area of the heath we started to find them, not many but sure enough they were still present and appeared to be doing ok.  We also checked out another area for the Purbeck Mason Wasp but didn't find any, though Kat and I did see a Heath Potter Wasp which is also a recordable species.
Heath Tiger Beetle Cicindela sylvatica © Nick HullOn our way back to the cars we added a Slow Worm which rounded our day off very nicely.

Big Thank you to Peter from RSPB Arne and Sophie from 'Back from the Brink' team for an excellent day's training and to come away with a 100% success in finding all the species was brilliant.

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17 Apr 18 - Atlantic Odyssey - Day Nineteen: At Sea From Tristan Da Cunha To St Helena

Birding in Poole Harbour and Beyond - Sun, 07/15/2018 - 18:00
Today was the final day at sea before we arrived at St Helena. There was more expectation from the passengers that we would see more Seabirds & more people on deck looking.Los Bandidos (John & Jemi Holmes): John has been publishing a number of Blog Posts of the Odyssey which can be found here. It is well worth a look as John is a great photographerHadie (left) & Roy confirming that the benches on the top deck behind the bridge were still popular
Yorkshire Geoff Dodds: My cabin mate had finally left editing the Yorkshire Bird Report & appeared in the sun
An early morning small party of Dolphins looked promising as they were heading straight for the Plancius. We were all hoping for some bow waving, but clearly, they had other ideas as this was the best photo I obtained & we lost them soon after picking them up.Dolphin sp: You can't win them allAs we were approximately 250 nautical miles from the St Helena at dawn, we were still out in the deep oceans & would remain so for the rest of the day. Consequently, it was still a fairly quiet day at sea for Seabirds. I saw more individuals than than on the last two days put together, but that wasn't hard given I had only seen nine Seabirds over those two days. The commonest species were Arctic Terns which were moving North, but all remained distant. There were also a few Red-billed Tropicbirds seen during the day, including one which came overhead to check out the Plancius.
Red-billed Tropicbird: The could be briefly very inquisitive of the PlanciusRed-billed Tropicbird: This is the nominate aethereus which occurs on the offshore Brazilian island of Fernando de Noronha, as well as, St Helena & Ascension Island
The Seabird highlight occurred late morning as we picked up a party of six Storm-petrels resting on the sea a few hundred metres in front of the Plancius.Mixed party of Storm-petrels resting on the sea
Mixed Storm-petrel party taking off: They didn't have a choice as they were right in the path of the Plancius
Band-rumped Storm-petrel: Band-rumped Storm-petrels have until recent years been considered to be a single subspecies. However, given two species have now been split so far, then it is worth seeing them at as many breeding islands as possible. Given we are within a day of St Helena, then it is a reasonable assumption this is one of the St Helena population. However, it is safer to see them at one of the St Helena colonies to be certain, in case St Helena Storm-petrel is split in the future. Identification of these Band-rumped Storm-petrel & related species at sea, well away from breeding grounds is in its infancy
Band-rumped Storm-petrel: Another view of the same individual
Band-rumped Storm-petrel taxonomy is complex. A few years ago, Band-rumped Storm-petrels were understood to breed on islands in the Tropical Atlantic & Pacific Oceans including the Portuguese Berlengas Islands, Madeira, Canaries, Azores, Cape Verde, Ascension Island, St Helena, as well as, the Galapagos, Hawaii & islands belonging to Japan. In the last decade, studies into the breeding times of year, DNA, vocalisation & morphology have identified that there are probably three additional species which breed on the Tropical North Atlantic islands. Further studies are now underway to extend these studies into some of the other Atlantic populations of Band-rumped Storm-petrel & it is likely that this will reveal additional species when these studies have been completed. The current understanding of the former Band-rumped Storm-petrel species is:-
  • Cape Verde Storm-petrel (Oceanodroma jabejabe) breeds in Cape Verde from Oct to June
  • Monteiro's Storm-petrel (Oceanodroma monteiroi) breeds in the Azores in Mar to Oct
  • Band-rumped Storm-petrels (also known as Madeiran Storm-petrel) (Oceanodroma castro) breeds around Madeira including the Desertas Islands, the Salvagens Islands & the Canaries in Mar to Oct
  • Grant's Storm-petrel (Oceanodroma granti) breeds in the Berlengas Islands, Madeira & the Canaries & associated islands & Azores in Aug to Mar. This has been proposed as a future split (but is yet to be described)
  • Studies of the Band-rumped Storm-petrels which breed on Ascension Island & St Helena are only just starting.
A single Leach's Storm-petrel (top left) was tucked into the group of five Band-rumped Storm-petrels
Leach's Storm-petrel: Close up from the last photo. Note, the strong pale wing panel, deeply forked tail & dark central rump band
Leach's Storm-petrel (top left) and Band-rumped Storm-petrels: The Band-rumped Storm-petrels have square-ended tails & white rumps & also show a noticeable pale wing panel. They seem to have shorter wings than the Leach's Storm-petrel
Leach's Storm-petrel (top left) and Band-rumped Storm-petrels: Note, how the pale wing panelLeach's Storm-petrel (top left) and Band-rumped Storm-petrels: The stripe in the rump of the Leach's Storm-petrel is clearly obviousAdditionally, I saw a good number of Flying Fish seen with the same four species that we had seen on the previous day. I also saw a Smurf which is believed to be an immature Flying Fish. They are only a few inches long, have small forewings & are only capable of flying a few metres before they drop back into the sea. Given the short distance of the flight, I never managed to get any photos of the Smurfs.
Bandwing Flying FishBandwing Flying Fish: Another individual which dropped back into the sea (a few frames after this photo)Bandwing Flying Fish: A third well-marked individual showing they can control the flight by closing the rear wingsBandwing Flying Fish: The third individual opened its rear wings (a few frames after the previous photo)Bandwing Flying Fish: A fourth individual. They have a very distinctive broad white eyering which can only be seen when they change direction so they are not flying directly away from the Plancius
Atlantic Flying Fish
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15 Jul 18

Martin Adlam - Sun, 07/15/2018 - 14:15
Wakeham

Another sunny morning and the back garden was alive with butterflies, bees and hoverflies.

Butterflies seen were Large Whites, Small Whites, a Red Admiral and 2 Gatekeepers.

Moths just 2 Silver Y's.

Bees included Red-tailed Cuckoo-bees (Bombus rupestris),  Common Carder Bee (Bombus pascuorum), a sweat bee sp., a mining bee sp. and a Honey Bee (Apis mellifera).

Just the one wasp an European Paper Wasp (Polistes Dominula).

Hoverflies recorded were Pied Hoverfly (Scaeva pyrastri), Dead Head Hoverfly (Myathropa florea), Long Hoverfly (Sphaerophoria scripta) and Marmalade Hoverflies (Episyrphus balteatus).

Here are a few images from this morning:

A Large White on the valerian.
This is a Small White............
........and another.
One of the two Gatekeepers in the garden today.
Here is another tatty individual.
I'm still finding plenty of Silver Y moths in the garden. This one and.......
.........this one were both in the vegetable patch until I disturbed them.
One of quite a few Red-tailed Cuckoo-bees collecting pollen.
Two bees, one largish and the other half its size. Possibly a mining bee left and a sweat bee right.
A video of my two mystery bees and very briefly a third species.
A European Paper Wasp on the buddleia.
I'm coming across this wasp almost daily now.
A Slow-mo video of the European Paper Wasp
A bit of a balancing trick here by a Long Hoverfly.........
...........what it's doing is actually laying eggs along the edge of this leaf.
Here it is having a stretch before flying off to the next leaf.
A Pied Hoverfly (Scaeva pyrastri)
This is a Dead Head Hoverfly (Myathropa florea)
And finally a Goldfinch on the neighbours aerial.
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14th July

Portland Bird Observatory - Sun, 07/15/2018 - 00:12
The occasion of the Obs AGM got in the way of routine coverage today and the only reports from the Bill were of 40 Mediterranean Gulls, 4 Manx Shearwaters, 4 Common Scoter and a Yellow-legged Gull offshore and 3 Curlews overhead on the land. Elsewhere, 10 Dunlin, 4 Black-tailed Godwits and a Curlew were at Ferrybridge and a Grey Wagtail passed over at Blacknor.

Two Clouded Yellows were at the Bill today.

It was the most idyllic of dawns to be out birding anywhere around the island - the Black-tailed Godwits looked particularly special at Ferrybridge © Debby Saunders: 

...and © Pete Saunders:

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Sightings - Saturday 14th July 2018

Dorset Bird Club - Sat, 07/14/2018 - 23:03
Garganey - 1 Brownsea Lagoon
Great White Egret - 7 briefly on Lytchett Fields RSPB
Spoonbill - 1 Lytchett Fields RSPB, 1 Brownsea Lagoon
Osprey - 2 Middlebere
Roseate Tern - 2 Brownsea Lagoon
Little Ringed Plover - 1 Brownsea Lagoon, 1 Abbotsbury Swannery
Spotted Redshank - 1 Middlebere
Greenshank - 5 Middlebere

Song Thrush - Hengistbury Head © David Wareham 
Yellowhammer - Ringstead Bay © Bill Robins



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14 Jul 18

Martin Adlam - Sat, 07/14/2018 - 20:06
Wakeham

A disappointing day, especially as I was looking forward to my first AGM at the Portland Bird Observatory. Unfortunately I was stuck indoors all day waiting for a parcel delivery which should have arrived in the morning, but didn't turn up until late afternoon. Well there's always next year.

Instead the only highlight of the day was listening to House Martins calling from the front of the cottage and coming across a Rove Beetle. As to which species there are a good dozen or more to choose from.

I also came across a Common Wasp which I thought at first was stuck in a spiders web. In fact I couldn't have been further from the truth, it was actually trying to remove spiders catch.

A Rove Beetle trundles across the garden.......
......and then climbed a piece of grass before flying off.
First impression was that this Common Wasp was trapped in the spiders web. In fact it was trying to grab the spiders trappings. Time after time it flew in and despite getting stuck on the silk web, it attempted to pull the prey away. Eventually and unsuccessfully it flew off empty handed.
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14 July 18 - A Local Hairstreak

Birding in Poole Harbour and Beyond - Sat, 07/14/2018 - 18:00
For the last few years I've planned to look for a local speciality: White-letter Hairstreak. Numbers of this easily overlooked Butterfly crashed in the 1970s & early 1980s when Dutch Elm disease swept through the UK & wiped out most of the UK's Elm trees within a decade. I've been aware of a local site for a few years, but I have never managed to find a combination of suitable weather & my availability at weekends within the flying period. My friend who discovered this site has generally only seen them flying high around the Elms & has only seen one low down nectaring, so this has been another factor in the priority to have a look. Having been unable to get out for the last few days to the site, this morning was another hot, still day & so I suggested to mate, Peter Moore that we gave it a look. Peter picked me up late morning & a few minutes later we were leaving the parked car. There was a bit of a hike along footpaths before getting to the actual site. Once there we spread out to check a large patch of Thistles where they had been seen before. No joy in the patch of Thistles I started checking, but a whistle from Peter suggested a more positive outcome where he was. I swiftly walked over, but I didn't really need to hurry as it was still nectaring when we left about an hour later. Given there are well known sites in Dorset, this site will remain as a vague Swanage site, although Peter & I will forward details of the sighting to the county recorder. Having had problems with collectors at Map Butterflies site, then I won't be broadcasting specific, but not well known, sites of other locally rare Butterflies.
White-letter Hairstreak: Initial viewsWhite-letter Hairstreak: Good mystery photoWhite-letter HairstreakWhite-letter Hairstreak: It spent a fair bit of time upside down to frustrate the photographers. It worked as I went looking for another, but failed to find one
White-letter HairstreakWhite-letter HairstreakWhite-letter Hairstreak: I'm assuming with this body shape that this is a femaleThere was a good selection of other Butterflies present. In total I saw thirteen species there. A Holly Blue in my garden was a fourteenth species for the day.
Small CopperBrown ArgusPeacockPainted Lady: It was good to see such a pristine individual
Silver-washed FritillaryOne of the problems I though of as I was walking to the site was how to identify an Elm tree. Given their relatively scarcity then it was a tree I wasn't familiar with. Fortunately, Peter knew. He said they had a distinctive asynchronous leaf shape.
The distinctive asynchronous Elm Leaf shapeNot bad for an hour of looking for local Butterflies.
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Guernsey and Sark, Channel Islands: June 11th-13th 2018

Gryllos Blog - Sat, 07/14/2018 - 10:33

This is my first post since mid May. Apologies for the absence of updates but there have been two very good reasons.

Without going into details I’ve had a episode of ill health which has changed my priorities, but also I’ve had problems with space allocation on my blog. I purchased a large amount of blog space from WordPress in late August 17 but I didn’t use it carefully, uploading photos at far too high a resolution for the sheer convenience of not having to prepare a second ‘low res’ copy. I found out in May that I had used 99% of the space available and guess what, I can’t purchase anymore until the plan renews itself in about a months time.

I have been on two excellent trips this year, to Vietnam and Mongolia, but the uploading of those photos will have to wait. In the meantime here are a few pictures from a short trip we did in June with our granddaughter Amber.

With Amber’s 21st birthday approaching we offered to treat her to a trip somewhere. Options included a weekend in London with a West End show or a visit to the Channel Islands. She chose the latter, but as she was a bit short of leave we had to restrict it to three days away.

 

Map showing the position of the Channel Islands with respect to France and the UK. Alderney is just above the NN of ‘Channel’ and Sark is just above the ‘se’ of Guernsey. I was taken to Guernsey and possibly Sark as an infant, but remember nothing about it and I visited Jersey in 1989. The Channel Islands form two Crown Dependencies, ie are not part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Island and as such I treat a visit there as going abroad. Jersey forms one Crown Dependency and Guernsey and the remaining inhabited islands the other.

 

Of course the great advantage of living in Poole is that it was only a three mile drive to get to the Condor ferry to the Channel Islands. That said, in 40 years of living here this is only my second visit and the one time I wanted to take the boat to Cherbourg the ferry from Poole wasn’t running and I had to drive to Portsmouth. Another advantage of leaving from Poole is that you get spectacular views across Poole Harbour to Brownsea Island and beyond …

 

…. over Studland and the Purbeck hills ….

 

…. and Old Harry Rocks with Swanage and Durlston beyond.

 

The Condor ferry is a fast service, taking only 3 hours 15 to reach Guernsey. As we approached the island of Alderney we passed Les Etacs, a rocky stack home to 8000 pairs of Gannets.

 

In due course we approached Guernsey and entered the harbour of St Peter Port.

 

We had a look around the harbour …

 

… and then drove to the gardens at Saumarez …

 

…. before reaching our hotel in the far south west of the island. We decided it was as cheap and far more convenient to take my car to Guernsey than hire one locally.

 

The view from our hotel room towards the Martello Tower of Fort Grey.

 

Another panoramic view at dusk from the hotel.

 

One of the most charming visitor attractions on Guernsey is the Little Chapel.  Apparently close to total collapse due to the rain damaging its structural integrity it has recently been restored.

 

The following is taken from Wikipedia: The chapel was originally built by Brother Déodat in March 1914 (measuring 9 feet long by 4.5 feet wide). After taking criticism from other brothers, Déodat demolished the chapel. He finished a second chapel in July 1914 (measuring 9 feet by 6 feet). However, when the Bishop of Portsmouth visited in 1923, he could not fit through the door, so Déodat again demolished it. The third and current version of the chapel started soon after the last demolition, and measures 16 feet by 9 feet. Déodat went to France in 1939 and died there, never having seen his chapel finished.

 

Again from Wikipedia: The chapel has been described as “probably the biggest tourist attraction in Guernsey”, and “intricate”. In late 2013, there was major work on the overgrowth which was, in places, hiding parts of the chapel. In November 2015 it was closed to allow some major structural work to be undertaken. The works include underpinning the building, stabilising the foundations and weatherproofing the building, and are estimated to cost £500,000. Fundraising is being undertaken. Fully open again to the public in April 2017, the major works such as stabilising the foundations are complete however additional fundraising is needed to finish the final phase of renovation.

 

We also visited the Occupation Museum. The Channel Islands were the only part of Britain to be occupied by Germany during WW2. The islanders suffered badly especially towards the end of the war when food supplies were in very short supply and starvation seemed imminent.

 

Much of the museum concentrated on the hardware and other memorabilia left over from the war ….

 

…. but also had some reconstructions of what life was like then. Here a man listens to an illegal crystal radio set whilst his wife (not to subtly) watches out for German guards. To Amber this must have seemed like ancient history but both Margaret and I had parents who served in the war and these were the sort of stories we were brought up on.

 

We had a look around the south-east point of the island near Jerbourg. There were great coastal views ….

 

… and you could see the nearby islands of Herm on the left and the more distant island of Sark to the right..

 

It was easy enough to get a day ticket to Sark but hard to find anywhere to park in St Peter Port. Fortunately the company selling the tickets is awarded five parking places on the quay and we were able to purchase the last of these. Of course if you are staying in St Peter Port or could come in by bus then that wouldn’t be a problem, but if you’re not then I’d recommend buying the ticket to Sark well in advance and enquiring about parking on the quay at the same time.

 

We set off mid morning for the 50 minute trip to Sark, passing Castle Cornet in St Peter Port harbour as we departed.

 

On route we passed close to the island of Herm ….

 

…. a few Puffins and ….

 

…. Razorbills enlivened the journey.

 

Fishing boats attracted a lot of gulls ….

 

…. including many enormous Great Black-backed Gulls.

 

Places where a boat can dock are few and far between but on the east side the are two adjacent coves ….

 

…. this cove is used by inflatables and small dinghies ….

 

…. and this one by the ferry from Guernsey. Access to the rest of the island is through the tunnel seen on the left.

 

Famously on Sark all cars and forms of motorised transport other than tractors are banned. Hence tourists can climb to the centre of the island in this contraption pulled tractor.

 

… but we took the path that winds between through the woods.

 

We had a choice of horse and cart, bike or foot to explore the island, we chose bikes! I suspect that as cars are banned that there are rather more tractors on Sark than is strictly necessary to farm the land!

 

We cycled down to the south end of the island enjoying spectacular views of rocky coves …

 

… and eventually arrived at the narrow causeway known as La Coupée which joins the peninsula of rocky Little Sark to the main island. Until the road was built islanders had to crawl over a narrow track to reach Little Sark and there were a number of fatalities during bad weather.

 

Mind you the causeway still strikes terror into the hearts of some. Behind Amber you can see Margaret (in blue) rapidly pushing her bike away from the precipice.

 

Amber and I spent a few moments enjoying the view (and enjoying an ice cream) before heading on …

 

… to the southernmost part of the island.

 

From there we met up with Margaret at a cafe in the islands centre and then cycled all the way to the northern point.

 

For those interested in the magic island of Sark here is the introduction to it’s Wikipedia entry: Sark (French: Sercq; Sercquiais: Sèr or Cerq) is an island in the Channel Islands in the southwestern English Channel, off the coast of Normandy, France. It is a royal fief, which forms part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey, with its own set of laws based on Norman law and its own parliament. It has a population of about 500. Sark (including the nearby island of Brecqhou) has an area of 2.10 square miles (5.44 km2). Sark is one of the few remaining places in the world where cars are banned from roads and only tractors and horse-drawn vehicles are allowed. In 2011, Sark was designated as a Dark Sky Community and the first Dark Sky Island in the world.

 

Soon it was time to leave Sark. Some people come here stay for a while as part of a ‘get away from it all’ type holiday, but that’s not my style and I like to see as much as I can in the time available.

 

On the return we passed rocky outcrops offshore ….

 

… and the island of Becqhou which is a tenement of Sark. Owned by the Barclay brothers (co-owners of the Telegraph) they are in a long-term dispute with Sark as to whether they are subject to Sark’s feudal law, for example they flaunt Sark law by using cars and helicopters. In a separate issue they have built this monstrous mock castle which spoils the views of an otherwise beautiful island.

 

Soon we were back in St Peter Port.

 

Time for some shopping and a meal in St Peter Port’s quaint narrow streets.

 

Far too soon it was time to leave. A group of Bottle-nosed Dolphins put a brief show as we left Guernsey. Three and a bit hours later we were back in Poole after a very enjoyable short break.

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13th July

Portland Bird Observatory - Sat, 07/14/2018 - 00:01
A surprisingly entertaining selection today with the millpond calm conditions and, at times through the morning at least, decent cloud cover making for more comfortable birding than has sometimes been the case in recent weeks. The sea was again busiest, with 93 Common Scoter, 39 Manx Shearwaters, c30 Mediterranean Gulls, at least 4 Yellow-legged Gulls, 3 Black-headed Gulls, 2 Sandwich Terns and a Great Skua through or lingering off the Bill. Dispersal rather than migration looked to accounting for most of what turned up on the land there, with 8 Sand Martins and singles of Yellow Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Lesser Whitethroat and Willow Warbler all of note. Elsewhere, a/the Great Spotted Woodpecker was at Southwell and 5 Dunlin, a Redshank and a Sandwich Tern at Ferrybridge.

Dispersal also looked be accounting for most of the overnight moth interest, with a Brown Oak Slender Acrocercops brongniardella at the Obs constituting yet another addition to the island list.


The recent sightings of Great Spotted Woodpeckers - this one was a Southwell today - have all been of juveniles and most likely all relate to the same wandering individual. They're surely going to breed before long but for the time being we have no evidence of that so presumably this and the other increasingly frequent annual sightings at this time of year refer to dispersal from the mainland © Debby Saunders:

There must surely be a finite number of moth species that could occur at Portland but we never seem to reach that total. Despite the island being well worked for lepidoptera for well over 150 years additions to the list keep cropping up, with this Brown Oak Slender Acrocercops brongniardella at the Obs just the latest © Martin Cade:

It isn't very often these days that two species get added to the Obs garden list in one night; additional to the Brown Oak Slender this London Dowd Blastobasis lacticolella was also a garden tick overnight. We don't know when this adventive first reached Portland (it was only recorded for the first time Britain in the 1940s) but it was already well established when initially discovered at the Grove and at St Andrews Church in 2011; it's taken another seven years but it's finally got nearly as far south as it's going to get in Dorset! © Martin Cade:

Widespread enough on the mainland but always a nice sight on Portland, this Oak Hook-tip was a first record for the trap site at Sweethill © Debby Saunders:
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Sightings - Friday 13th July 2018

Dorset Bird Club - Fri, 07/13/2018 - 22:11
Great White Egret - 1 Middlebere
Spoonbill - 1 Middlebere
Linnet - Hengistbury Head David Wareham
juv Kestrel - Durlston CP © Clive Hargrave
juv Kestrels - Durlston CP © Clive Hargrave
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13 Jul 18

Martin Adlam - Fri, 07/13/2018 - 18:39
Wakeham

A day in the garden chilling out and our second BBQ of the Summer. Also a good array of wildlife both in and around the back garden, with the main highlights being a juvenile Peregrine Falcon "screaming" at its parents (nothing new there) and a Chiffchaff feeding on insects in the Cherry Tree before coming down to the pond for a drink.

Other birds in the neighbour were 1 Sparrowhawk, a Buzzard, 12 Herring Gull, 1 Great Black-backed Gull, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, 3 Swift, 2 Swallow, 1 Pied Wagtail, Dunnock, Blackbird, Great Tit, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Linnet, Goldfinch and Greenfinch.

Quite a few butterflies with maximum of 7 Large White, 3 Small White, 1 Speckled Wood, 2 Meadow Brown, 3 Gatekeeper, 2 Marbled White, 2 Red Admiral, 2 Comma and a Holly Blue.

A few hoverflies about with lots of Marmalade Hoverflies (Episyrphus balteatus) and a Long Hoverfly (Sphaerophoria scripta).

Bees seen were Red-tailed Cuckoo-bees (Bombus rupestris), Common Carder Bumblebee (Bombus pascuorum), a Garden Bumblebee (Bombus hortorum) and a Honey Bee (Apis)

The European Paper Wasp (Polistes Dominula) was back again as was a Common Wasp (Vespula vulgaris).

A couple grasshoppers heard and I managed to track down a Common Field Grasshopper (Chorthippus brunneus).

Here are a few images from today.

A very dry looking back garden, which is just hanging in there.
A Gatekeeper on the valerian.
And another sat next to me.
One of the two Red Admirals seen in the garden.
A mating pair of Commas........
........trying to keep a low profile under the Privet Hedge.
A Long Hoverfly.
A Common Field Grasshopper.
Side profile.
Always a delight to see a Greenfinch.
This is a very striking male.
A male Pied Wagtail on the neighbours rooftop.
A very quick snap shot of a Chiffchaff visiting the garden.
And what a way to end the day with a BBQ.
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Sightings - Thursday 12th July 2018

Dorset Bird Club - Fri, 07/13/2018 - 18:24
Spoonbill - 2 Middlebere
Great White Egret - 1 Brand's Bay
Green Sandpiper - 26 Lytchett Fields RSPB
Spotted Redshank - 2 Brand's Bay
Ruff - 1 Abbotsbury Swannery

Hobby and Buzzard © Clive Hargrave
Skylark - Hengistbury Head © David Wareham
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16 Apr 18 - Atlantic Odyssey - Day Eighteen: At Sea From Tristan Da Cunha To St Helena - Mantas & More Flying Fish

Birding in Poole Harbour and Beyond - Fri, 07/13/2018 - 18:00
The third full day at sea been Tristan da Cunha and St Helena had been an excellent day for Cetaceans with a pod of Strap-toothed Beaked Whales, a close old male Blainville's Beaked Whale (which I saw, but failed to get any photos of) & a lone Dwarf Pygmy Whale. However, in between it was another good day for Flying Fish, albeit I didn't see as many Small Clearwings as seen on the previous day. But I did managed to photograph three new species of Flying Fish.
Geoff has gone full blown Bush Tucker Man today to keep the sun off while chasing Flying Fish: He has the strong Ozzie accent to go with the look
On the previous day I had seen a couple of Four-winged Flying Fish, but I failed to get a photo of these common & large Flying Fish. The Small Clearwings were around 6 inches long & only had two wings. The Four-winged Flying Fish were about a foot long, had two long forewings & two smaller rear wings. Four-winged Flying Fish were distinctive as they had sooty grey forewings with an off white trailing edge to the forewings. They look similar to the Necromancer that Steve Howell covers in the identification pdf guide to Flying Fish. However, it seems that Howell's Necromancers are probably a related species, rather than the Four-winged Flying Fish (Hirundichthys affinis).Four-winged Flying Fish (Hirundichthys affinis): They were about a foot long, with sooty grey wings & an obvious off white trailing edge to the forewings. The small hindwings are clear & the lower tail is black
I saw Four-winged Flying Fish on most days from today until the final day at sea before Cape Verde. On some days I saw several hundred Four-winged Flying Fish. The IUCN Red List describes them as occurring from the Gulf of Mexico & Eastern Caribbean to the Gulf Stream & off the African coast from Mauritania to Angola.
Four-winged Flying Fish (Hirundichthys affinis): Generally, they appeared on their own, although it wasn't unusual for a few others to be seen soon after
Four-winged Flying Fish (Hirundichthys affinis): They tended to make several glides, with the tail re-entering the water to get another kick for the next glide. They often changed directions between glides. The overall glide could last over 30 seconds & the distance travelled could be up to about 60 - 80 metres
Four-winged Flying Fish (Hirundichthys affinis): They are quite good at being able to change direction by how they angled their forewings & tail
I also saw a couple of other less common species of Flying Fish including this superb Bandwing Flying Fish which was another foot long, four-winged Flying Fish.Bandwing Flying Fish (Cheilopogon exsiliens): I only saw a few of these good looking Flying Fish which showed a pale wing band. I have been able to get an identification thanks to the internet. They range from about 25 degrees South to Cape Verde in the Atlantic & therefore aren't covered by Howell's identification PDF. This species was also photographed by Graham Ekins on the Plancius in 2012 between Tristan da Cunha & St Helena
Bandwing Flying Fish (Cheilopogon exsiliens): A more distant view of the same individual. They are about a foot long & look superficially similar to the Four-winged Flying Fish, but have this noticeable pale wing bar
Bandwing Flying Fish (Cheilopogon exsiliens): A pity this wasn't sharp, but it does show how they can flick their tail to gain lift to keep gliding
Bandwing Flying Fish (Cheilopogon exsiliens): This was another individual which showed an extreme pale wing bar
The other new species was Atlantic Flying Fish. This was another foot long, four-winged Flying Fish. It looks to similar to Bar-tailed Clearwing covered in Howell's identification PDF, but Atlantic Flying Fish is restricted to the Atlantic & so Bar-tailed Clearwing must be another related species.Atlantic Flying Fish (Cheilopogon melanurus): This seemed a scarce species along our route. I only saw them on three days on both sides of St HelenaAtlantic Flying Fish (Cheilopogon melanurus): This is a large four-winged Flying Fish with clear wings with obvious veins & a dark tail. According to the IUCN Red List they are a common species occurring in the Gulf Stream in the Western Atlantic, as well as off Brazil & from Senegal to AngolaAtlantic Flying Fish (Cheilopogon melanurus): A series of tail flicks to get some fresh momentumAtlantic Flying Fish (Cheilopogon melanurus): Just getting clear of the waterAtlantic Flying Fish (Cheilopogon melanurus): Take off for another glideWe also saw quite a few Small Clearwings which the other common species of Flying Fish that I saw most days until the last full day at sea before the Cape Verde islands.Small Clearwing (Exocoetus volitans): They curve the forewings on take offSmall Clearwing (Exocoetus volitans): Once in glide, the forewings are flattenedSmall Clearwing (Exocoetus volitans): Another taking off
Some of the Birders & Bird photographers on the Plancius might have been unimpressed with these Flying Fish as they were only Fish. I certainly didn't share that view. We got told as we got closer to St Helena that Flying Fish were one of the favourite foods of Red-footed Boobies & sometimes Red-footed Boobies would try to keep up with the Plancius, as the Plancius ended up flushing Flying Fish. I later saw this on a couple of occasions & this was something that made even the most focused Bird photographer appreciate the Flying Fish a little bit. Small Clearwing (Exocoetus volitans): This individual shows the pink central stripe that Steve Howell mentioned as a feature of Small Clearwings. It wasn't particularly clear on the individuals photographed on the previous dayFinally, it's time for a larger species of Fish. In the late afternoon we saw a set of confusing fins on the surface & there were still there when they passed the Plancius about 30 metres off the starboard side. I was struggling to get my head around what they were, but there was a shout (probably from Marijke or Hans) that there were a mating pair of Manta Rays. This initially left me just as confused as I've been lucky to scuba dive in Micronesia & see several Manta Rays passing over head. They were much bigger than the individuals were were watching on the Plancius. However, as there is more than one species of Manta Rays and perhaps this was one of the smaller species.
Manta Ray sp.: This was the first conofusing view of a single pale tipped fin
Manta Ray sp.: It suddenly became very confusing as 3 fins appeared
Manta Ray sp.: Back to two finsManta Ray sp.: An obvious fin & a less obvious one
Manta Ray sp.: They were now a lot closer & while I was struggling to figure out what I was seeing at the time, looking at the photos now it was fairly obvious they were some sort of Manta Ray or something similar. But it is easier to figure this out without having an image on the camera constantly flashing Manta Ray sp.: Note, the orange underwing in the previous photo is purely a paler grey underwing which was catching the strong orange glow from the setting sun (this photo was taken less than a second after the previous photo)
Manta Ray sp. Manta Ray sp.: The underwing colours look a bit more realistic in this photo
It was a perfect evening to hang around on deck for the sunset & the mythical green flash. This time I thought I would also try capturing the green flash with the camera. Well both I & the camera failed to see a green flash. However, it was a great sunset.
Sunset
Sunset: Supposedly, you aren't meant to look at the sun until the very last moment
Sunset: Well maybe I'll need to look on another night for the green flash. Although most days only had light cloud it was rare that there was no cloud on the horizon at sunset
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12th July

Portland Bird Observatory - Thu, 07/12/2018 - 23:50
There's beginning to be a slightly different feel to the weather with a good deal more cloud in the sky at times and the edge certainly taken off the heat of the last couple of weeks. A miscellaneous selection at the Bill included 25 Mediterranean Gulls, 12 Common Scoter, 7 Black-headed Gulls, 3 Manx Shearwaters, 2 Yellow-legged Gulls and a family party of Shelducks offshore and 70 Swallows, 2 Sand Martins and singles of Common Sandpiper, Great Spotted Woodpecker and Chiffchaff on the land; at Southwell 2 Shelduck, 2 Mallard and a Yellow-legged Gull all flew north off East Cliffs. Mediterranean Gulls increased to 128 at Ferrybridge where 10 Dunlin, 2 Black-tailed Godwits and singles of Redshank and Sandwich Tern were also logged.

A party of 10 or more Bottle-nosed Dolphins were off the Bill for a second day.

Immigrant butterflies included 2 Painted Ladys and 2 Clouded Yellows at the Bill.

On a night when moth immigration/dispersal tailed off quite noticeably Diamond-back Moth (29) and Marbled Piercer (25) topped the tally at the Obs.

We keep imagining that one of the parties of mid-summer Black-tailed Godwits that drop in briefly at Ferrybridge will be Continental limosa birds but, like all the others in recent times, today's pair looked to be pretty standard Icelandic islandica birds © Pete Saunders:

This morning's Great Spotted Woodpecker making use of the tallest 'tree' at the Bill © Martin Cade:

Clouded Yellow at the Bill today © Martin Cade:

And a truly awful image - the birds were a good mile and a half distant - of what as far as we know was a unique event off the Bill: this family party of Shelducks - the pair and two tiny youngsters - were spotted drifting slowly from east to west well offshore this morning; we lost them soon afterwards and presumed they'd gained speed with the tide and headed off into Lyme Bay, only to discover later from members of the public that in fact they'd eventually come offshore on East Cliffs below the Obs. Quite where they'd originated from can only be guessed at: the harbour breakwaters are perhaps the best bet but they were so far offshore that somewhere like the Purbeck coast seems a plausible possibility © Martin Cade:
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16 Apr 18 - Atlantic Odyssey - Day Eighteen: At Sea From Tristan Da Cunha To St Helena - Surfboard

Birding in Poole Harbour and Beyond - Thu, 07/12/2018 - 18:00
About 45 minutes before the excellent Strap-toothed Beaked Whale sighting in the afternoon, we saw another Cetacean. This was another learning experience for me. It was on its own & quietly logging (i.e. hanging around still) at the surface. All the Cetaceans we had run into so far on the Odyssey had been actively swimming, diving & resurfacing or were even more active Dolphins. It was likely to be a Tick for me as this wasn't a behaviour I was familiar with. It was a small Dolphin sized Cetacean.
Surfboard: All I saw initially was a fin
Surfboard: This was followed by a view of most of the body in front of the fin. The wet tail is reflecting a lot of sunlight
Surfboard: Another view showing the pale spots were changing between photos confirming this was down to reflected light
Surfboard: Note the bulging head, flat appearance & the dorsal fin isn't reflecting much light now
Surfboard: A closer view of the head
Surfboard: A closer crop of the last photo confirming there is a large notch in the dorsal fin
This was quickly called as a Surfboard by Marijke & Hans. Marijke said that Dwarf Sperm Whales & the closely related Pygmy Sperm Whales are often nicknamed as Surfboards due to their appearance as upturned surfboards. The two species look & act very similar. Both are prone to logging on the surface & quietly sinking when they are ready to hunt again or are disturbed. Due to their inactivity on the surface, a day with really calm seas is needed to stand much chance of seeing them. Dwarf Sperm Whales are up to 2.7 metres and Pygmy Sperm Whales tend to be a bit larger at 2.7 - 3.8 metres. Therefore, they are approximately the size of a Bottle-nosed Dolphin, but they are much harder to see due to the inactive behaviour. Dwarf Sperm Whales have a fairly large flat head & a flat back with a fairly prominent dorsal fin. The rear body tapers rapidly & is strongly angled downwards. It is hard to see the rear body & tail as they tend to sink, rather than fluke like the vastly bigger Sperm Whale. Dwarf Sperm Whales have a larger, more erect & pointed dorsal fin whereas, Pygmy Sperm Whales have a lower & more rounded fin. Based on the dorsal fin shape this was my first Dwarf Sperm Whale. It was good to speak to Glenn Overington about this Cetacean sighting as Glenn found the first UK record of Dwarf Sperm Whale in Mounts Bay in Autumn 2011.Dwarf Sperm Whale: After spending sometime stationary on the surface, it quietly sunk below the water line
Dwarf Sperm Whale: Nearly goneMarijke said there was a suspicion about them among some Cetacean watchers & we should refer to them as Surfboards, rather than calling them by their proper names: suggesting we would be pushing our luck in finding others if we used their proper names too soon. Despite having a rationale scientific background, I don't believe in commenting on the lack of punctures I've had on a foreign trip for the same reason. We still blame Birding mate, Keith Turner, for his rash comments on the final day about how lucky we had been with only 1 puncture in the month in Kenya in 1987: the next puncture was within the hour, with a final one about two hours later. I was happy to stick with Surfboards when discussing what we would like to see on future calm days or calling a potential future candidate.
Dwarf Sperm Whale: That's just about it. I had seen in previous Odyssey reports there were a number of good Cetaceans we could potentially bump into on the trip, but while I was clearly keen to see as many Cetaceans as possible, I wasn't as optimistic I would see them. So I was really pleased to have seen my first Dwarf Sperm Whale. Whereas, I was fairly confident we would connect with just about all the potential new SeabirdsDwarf Sperm Whales have a potentially large range and occur in all the Tropical oceans as far South as South African & Australia and as far North as Spain & Japan and tend to occur offshore. Pygmy Sperm Whales have a similar range, but they seem to prefer temperate seas so they have occurred a bit further North as far as Scotland. They occur both around the continental shelf, as well as, in deep waters. Not a lot is known about their feeding habits & diet, but both appear to have similar diets of Cephalopods i.e. Squid, Octopus, as well as, other seafood like fish etc.
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12 Jul 18

Martin Adlam - Thu, 07/12/2018 - 14:34
Mermaid Track, The Cuttings and Broadcroft Quarry Pools

A different walk today, though walking down the Mermaid Track was a bit like Groundhog Day, with both the Dead Head Fly and Speckled Wood sat on the same leaves as yesterday.

Further along the track I came across my first Tree Bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum) on Portland and also a female Chalk Hill Blue. I've only ever seen a male or two along here before.

As I followed the path around towards The Cuttings I came across more Chalk Hill Blues and lots of Gatekeepers. Whether it was the hot sunny conditions, I'm not sure, but there appeared to be less Meadow Browns and Ringlets about. In fact the only Ringlets I came across were very worn ones. Still a few Marbled Whites about and I had a couple of fly-by Peacock butterflies.

Above The Cuttings I was pleased to see that the Chalk Hill Blues had returned to a patch of ground just off Bumpers Lane.

A few moths about again, predominately Six-spot Burnets and as I brushed past a Bramble bush a Silver Y flew out.

And finally I came across another Paper Wasp, to add to the one I found in my back garden.

Here are today's images as I found them along the walk.

The Dead Head Fly on almost the same leaf as yesterday.
And likewise with this Speckled Wood.
Great to capture these Marmalade Flies in flight.
Not sure why, but this is my first Tree Bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum) on Portland. This is a comparatively new Bumblebee to the British Isles and is also known as the New Garden Bumblebee. More on this bee Here.

One of the sweat bees I expect.
The Mermaid Track is proving to be a good little spot for Chalk Hill Blues........
........this one today was a female. You can just make out the orange spots on a dark upper wing.
Common Red Soldier Beetles and an ant.
They are just about everywhere - Gatekeepers.
Another Chalkhill Blue.......
........this time a male.
And another view.
Another Gatekeeper
A rather worn Ringlet.
This is a Red-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus lapidarius) which I came across by The Cuttings. The only other red-tailed bee I've come across is its smaller cousin the Red-tailed Cuckoo-bee, of which there were very few on the wing today. Well it was pretty hot again.

Take-off.
Another Chalkhill Blue and this time on their favoured patch alongside Bumpers Lane. This area was covered in Portland dust, as lorry load after lorry load of stone and rubble was dumped into the small quarry here. With no rain, the area here was a barren wasteland, but it looks like at least 10 Chalk Hill Blues have returned.

By Broadcroft Quarry Pools there were many Gatekeepers again with several mating.
A very small and very dark coloured Skipper. Having said that the photo here shows a few areas of gold, which suggest that this is a very worn Small Skipper.

This one was flying alongside and is intact, regards to its colouration.
Having seen my first European Paper Wasp, Polistes Dominula in the back garden a couple of days ago, I came across another just 200 metres from the Cottage.

Now if the wind changes direction from the South-easterly to a South-westerly later this afternoon, I will be out in the fishing boat between these two buoys just off Church Ope Cove.
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Sightings - Wednesday 11th July 2018.

Dorset Bird Club - Wed, 07/11/2018 - 22:57
Garganey - 1 - Standpipt Marsh, Christchurch
Cory's Shearwater - 1 -  2.5 miles south of Bridport 1 mile off West Bay this evening
Great White Egret - 1 Middlebere
Spoonbill - 2 - Middlebere
Little Ringed Plover - 1 - juv, Brownsea Island Lagoon
Knot - 1 - Brownsea Island Lagoon
Greenshank 4 - Brownsea Island Lagoon


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11th July

Portland Bird Observatory - Wed, 07/11/2018 - 22:36
A reminder 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 this Saturday, 14th July; buffet refreshments - including a barbeque - will be provided after the meeting. An agenda for the meeting can be found by clicking here.
Birding news for today to follow later.
A selection of second and third records for the island from recent nights: Dark Crimson Underwing and Blackneck from last night and Dark-bordered Pearl and Suspected from 8th July © Debby Saunders (Blackneck) and Martin Cade (others):




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16 Apr 18 - Atlantic Odyssey - Day Eighteen: At Sea From Tristan Da Cunha To St Helena - Some More Strap-toothed Beaked Whales

Birding in Poole Harbour and Beyond - Wed, 07/11/2018 - 17:23
I thought the previous day had been very quiet when I only saw five Seabirds. Today my personal total was only four Seabirds: with singles of Bulwer's Petrel, a Storm-petrel sp., Red-billed Tropicbird & a Tern sp. However, it was an excellent day overall for Cetaceans & other sealife.
Red-billed Tropicbird: This was distant & looking into the harsh light of the setting sunOn a couple of times during the Odyssey cruise, the Plancius had stopped for a few minutes to release a monitoring buoy & today we stopped to release another buoy. There are a number of nations that have released these monitoring buoys in recent years across all the oceans as part of scientific studies into the oceans and the motion of the oceans. There are over 3000 monitoring buoys currently in operation. They are planned to be released at exact pre-defined positions. Once released they submerge to preset depths, record a number of important properties of the ocean at the selected depth, before returning to the surface to broadcast the gathered information. This pattern is repeated as they drift with the ocean currents and thus provide important real time monitoring across all the oceans.
Monitoring buoyThere were some impressive clouds todayAfter a couple of days of not seeing any Cetaceans, they were back today. One of the highlights was a small pod of six Strap-toothed Beaked Whales. Unlike the Strap-toothed Beaked Whales seen on 8 Apr, these were better performers for the cameras, although I only managed to photograph four of the individuals.
Strap-toothed Beaked Whale: The initial view of the first individual
Strap-toothed Beaked Whale: A close up of the fin from the last photo showing it is pale coloured (in line with the fin of one of the Strap-toothed Beaked Whale from the 8 Apr)Strap-toothed Beaked Whale: This second individual has a more strongly marked finStrap-toothed Beaked Whale: A closer crop from the last photo shows it has a more obviously marked pale fin again suggesting it is a Strap-toothed Beaked Whale
Strap-toothed Beaked Whale: More of the back & dorsal fin showing a couple of dark diatoms near the waterline
Strap-toothed Beaked Whale: A final shot of this second individual
I seem to remember looking at the above photos with the camera already zoomed into the central image. As I scrolled between my photos, the camera remained zoomed in. Just afterwards Hans showed me one of his photos with the Sharp-toothed Beaked Whale head on view. I was really impressed as it is often so difficult to photograph the beaks of Beaked Whales. What I was not expecting when I checked the photos on my laptop that evening was to see the full frame image from the previous two photos. A good reason never to delete photos when they are on the back of the camera & zoomed in.
Strap-toothed Beaked Whale: Wow. One of my more surprising photos from the Odyssey. There were three individuals in the last photo, not one. I will focus on each individual in turn
Focusing first on the left hand individual, which I think is a female as I cannot see a white tusk sticking up from the base of the beak.
Strap-toothed Beaked Whale: Close crop of the left hand third individual. The distinctive black face & white beak is diagnostic for Strap-toothed Beaked Whales. Typically, the lower face would be a paler grey, but none of my photos show that area. I can't see a white tusk sticking up from the beak so I think this individual must be a female
Strap-toothed Beaked Whale: Another shot of the left hand third individual showing the start of the grey back behind the bulky black melon
Strap-toothed Beaked Whale: Another shot of the left hand third individual showing its pale grey back contrasting with the black face & melon. There is a dark diatom on the side close to the waterline & a distinctive vertical black line behind the melon
Strap-toothed Beaked Whale: A final photo of the left hand third individual (a minute later) as it passes the tip of the fin of another individualNow focusing on the right hand of the three individuals, which I think is also a female as I cannot see a white tusk.
Strap-toothed Beaked Whale: Close crop of the right hand fourth individual. Again, there is no sign of a white tusk on this individual so again I think it must be a femaleStrap-toothed Beaked Whale: Another shot of the right hand fourth individual which also shows the start of a grey back, but a less obvious melonStrap-toothed Beaked Whale: A shot of the right hand fourth individual showing the variation in the grey of its back & the black melon, which doesn't look as bulky as on the left hand individual
Strap-toothed Beaked Whale: A fifth individual which has a smaller white beak & a less extensive black melon. Presumably this is an immature individual
Strap-toothed Beaked Whale: Fifth individual. A bit more of the beak & melon
Strap-toothed Beaked Whale: More of the fifth individual. Unfortunately, I don't have an image of its dorsal finIt was really exciting to be able to get such great photographs of this distinctive species. Especially as the Strap-toothed Beaked Whales on 8 Apr had not preformed that well for us.
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