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Sightings - Friday 31st August 2018

Dorset Bird Club - Fri, 08/31/2018 - 22:37
Balearic Shearwater - 17 Portland Bill
Great White Egret - 1 Radipole Lake RSPB
Purple Heron - 1 Littlesea, Studland NNR
Spoonbill - 18 Brownsea Island, 1 Christchurch Harbour
Osprey -  1 Lytchett Bay, 1 Middlebere, 1 Abbotsbury Swannery, 1 Brand's Bay, 1 over Moreton Forest, 1 over Swineham
Merlin - 1 Abbotsbury Swannery
Whimbrel - 3 Portland Bill, 2 Brand's Bay
Knot - 3 Brownsea Island
Curlew Sandpiper - 1 juv Brownsea Island
Common Sandpiper - 1 Brand's Bay
Spotted Redshank - 1 Hengistbury
Green Sandpiper - 2 Stanpit
Greenshank - 3 Brand's Bay, 1 Stanpit, 1 Portland Bill
Nightjar - 3 trapped at Durlston CP, 1 still at West Bexington
Swallow - several 1000's east over West Bexington
Redstart - 1 trapped at Durlston CP, 1 Abbotsbury Swannery, 1 West Bexington
Whinchat - 4 West Bexington , 2 Portland Bill, 1 Christchurch Harbour, 1 Abbotsbury Swannery
Yellow Wagtail - 45 Portland Bill, 44 Christchurch Harbour
Ortolan Bunting - 1 over Portland Bill

Yesterday - 6 Grasshopper Warblers ringed at West Bexington

The elevated numbers of Osprey in Poole Harbour at present is due to the Osprey translocation scheme which is being carried out by the Birds of Poole Harbour charity and The Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation, for more information on this project follow the link below.

Ringed Plover at Hengistbury Head © David Wareham
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31st August

Portland Bird Observatory - Fri, 08/31/2018 - 21:05
While the rest of the South West basked in showers of migrating birds, we were struggling with numbers if not quality. A clinched Ortolan Bunting was the highlight of the morning along with the usual 45 Yellow Wagtails, 4 Grey Wagtails and 2 Tree Pipits. Other migrants of note included: 3 Spotted Flycatchers, 25 Whitethroats, 46 Wheatears, 2 Whinchats, 2 Reed Buntings, 2 Whinchats, 3 Whimbrel, 1 Greenshank, 1 Snipe, 1 Redshank, 1 Sedge Warbler, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker and 4 Chiffchaffs. There was also a semi-decent movement of Hirundines and Swifts with 55+ Swallows, 11 House Martins, 4 Sand Martins and 3 Swifts. 17 Balearic bwere the highlight on the sea. 
The final results are in from the Little Tern project on Chesil Beach and in the 2018 season 37 pairs managed to successfully fledge 25 juveniles. In addition, 12-15 pairs of Ringed Plover and 1 pair of Oystercatchers were monitored within the Tern colony. A brilliant success for the volunteers considering the pressures from some particularly persistent Kestrels. 
Perhaps not a spectacular day for birds as far as the history of Portland birding goes but a beautiful day none the less  © Simon Colenutt

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31 Aug 18

Martin Adlam - Fri, 08/31/2018 - 19:25
Mermaid Track, Rufus Castle, St Andrews Church and Pennsylvania Castle Wood

Despite the warm sunshine there was very little to write about.  I did come across a female "Blue" butterfly along the South-west Coast path and apart from one Large White along the Mermaid Track, the only other butterfly seen was a Speckled Wood in Penns Wood.

Only one Marmalade Hoverfly was recorded and not one Bloody-nosed Beetle was seen despite 11 recorded yesterday.

Here are two images from today:

A female "Blue" butterfly
Marmalade Hoverfly (Episyrphus balteatus)
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28 Aug 18 - Lily-trotter

Birding in Poole Harbour and Beyond - Fri, 08/31/2018 - 18:00
A few days ago, another local birdwatcher bumped into the Purple Heron at Littlesea, Studland. I've not looked during the day time for a couple of weeks for it, so I thought I would give it another few hours of looking. A couple of hours were spent sitting in the Nature Trail hide where it had been seen recently. I had no luck with the Purple Heron, but this lily-trotting Moorhen came past at one point. I'm sure that many Birders tend to ignore Moorhens, but personally I like them. Moorhens have successfully made it to five of the six inhabitable continents until recently, when the New World subspecies were split as a separate species. They are replaced in the final inhabitable continent of Australasia, by the similar looking Dusky Moorhen.
Moorhen: I've seen the occasional Moorhen on Littlesea this summer, but they are no longer a common speciesMoorhen: This is the nominate chloropus subspecies which occurs throughout the Palearctic & also winters in Arabia & South ChinaMoorhenMoorhenMoorhen
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Creatures of the Cols part II

Peter Moores Blog - Thu, 08/30/2018 - 22:18
As well as providing some close encounters with Lammergeier, two visits to the Col de la Colombière during our recent trip to the French Alps proved productive for several high altitude species of butterfly. My favourite among these was the Mountain Clouded Yellow, a pallid version of the more familiar Clouded Yellow which we see in the UK, with a distinctive dusting of black scales on the upperwing.Mountain Clouded Yellow - always lands with the wings closedThe beautiful upperwing could therefore only be captured only in flightReminiscent of the patterns made by iron filings with a magnet!This individual showed the distinctive dark dusting through the underwingIt turns out that continental butterflies are every bit as unfussy with their tastes as our own: we christened a particularly large pile of dog-mess near the Col 'the turd of plenty' on account of the number of butterflies it attracted, including two new species for me: Red Underwing Skipper and Common Brassy Ringlet (the latter sounding a bit like a Shakespearian insult, I think).
Red Underwing Skipper doing what it says on the tinUpperwing shot of Red Underwing SkipperCommon Brassy Ringlet taking a break from feasting on excrement This more discerning Large Wall Brown eschewed the turd of plenty to roost on a rockA walk into the mountains west of Sallanches to the Refuge de Doran produced a few more new species including an attractive Damon Blue and an elusive Alpine Heath which led me a merry dance around a scree slope before I eventually pinned it down for a photograph. Still to come in future posts: a few Alpine mammals, fun with Fritillaries and some Erebian nightmares...
Alpine Heath - a reasonably straightforward species to identify with the broad spotted white band in the underwingCloser crop of the Alpine HeathDamon Blue underside - another fairly easy one to identifyDamon Blue upperside
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30th August

Portland Bird Observatory - Thu, 08/30/2018 - 21:34
A vast improvement on recent days, the wind from the North-east and heavy cloud cover for much of the morning aided in enhancing our day tallies immensely. The morning started with cracking views of a hunting Barn Owl across the newly purchased field followed by 50+ Yellow Wagtails, 12 Tree Pipits, 7 Grey Wagtails and a possible Ortolan Bunting. Yesterday's Wryneck put in another appearance in the garden favouring the warm, open grass where it was joined by 7 Spotted Flycatchers, 1 Male Redstart (a second was sighted in the top fields), 1 Garden Warbler, 25 Willow Warblers, one of three Pied Flycatchers, 11 Robins, 1 Chiffchaff and 5 Sedge Warblers. The top fields provided some added bonuses with 1 Short-eared Owl, 18 Wheatears, 1 Whinchat, 10 Willow Warblers, 18 Whitethroats, 25 Meadow Pipits and a Hobby. The Balearic Shearwaters had a resurgence today with 29 past the Bill this morning accompanied by 5 Common Scoter, 1 Manx Shearwater, 1 Dunlin, 1 Common Tern and 7 Teal.

Elsewhere on the island the migrants were starting to show their faces with Yellow Wagtails at Suckthumb, Ferrybridge and Weston. A Spotted Flycatcher, female Redstart and 6 Blackcaps were also of note in Suckthumb quarry and a Pied Flycatcher at Blacknor. 2 Sanderling, 18 Turnstones, 3 Wheatears, 1 Yellow Wagtail and 2 Mute Swans at Ferrybridge made up the final totals.

Perhaps not the rarest of the days birds but its difficult not to be impressed by Whinchats in their new autumnal regalia © Erin Taylor

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Sightings - Thursday 30th August 2018

Dorset Bird Club - Thu, 08/30/2018 - 21:30
Balearic Shearwater - 26 Portland Bill
Little Egret - c 67 Lytchett Bay area
Spoonbill - 1 Hengistbury Head
Osprey -  4 Lytchett Bay, 1 south over Ferrybridge, 1 west along Fleet at Wyke Regis
Merlin - 1 Abbotsbury
Whimbrel - 3 Christchurch Harbour, 1 Brand's Bay
Knot - 3 Abbotsbury
Common Sandpiper - 3+ Abbotsbury, 1 Longham Lakes
Spotted Redshank - 1 Stanpit
Greenshank - 1 Stanpit
Wood Sandpiper - 1 heard near Wick (Christchurch Harbour)
Black Tern - 1 juv Longham Lakes
Short-eared Owl - 1 Durlston CP
Wryneck - yesterday's bird re-trapped at PBO
Redstart - 8  Durlston CP, 2 Sturminster Marshall GP, 1 Longham Lakes, 1 Ballard Down,  1 Brand's Bay
Whinchat -  11 Abbotsbury, 1 Lytchett Fields RSPB, 1 Durlston CP
Yellow Wagtail - 150 Abbotsbury, 45 over Hengistbury, 3 over Portland
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30 Aug 18

Martin Adlam - Thu, 08/30/2018 - 19:31
Mermaid Track, Rufus Castle, Church Ope Cove, St Andrews Church and Pennsylvania Castle Wood

It wasn't just Wakeham that was busy with Swallows, House Martins and Sand Martins as there were many more along Penn's Weare and over Church Ope Cove, with several skimming the waves as they headed south.

For the second running just the one female Common Blue found along the South Coast Path and in the grounds of St Andrew's Church the same/different Meadow Brown as yesterday.

One real highlight today was the increase number of Bloody-nosed Beetles with 11 found along the tracks and paths on my walk.

Here are few images from this afternoon.

Along the Mermaid Track a Harlequin Ladybird.
On the south facing cliff at Church Ope Cove this Bloody-nosed Beetle......
.........was scaling up a rock.

A short video of the Bloody-nosed Beetle attempting a bit of mountaineering..
Also at Church Ope Cove this Hornet Mimic Hoverfly (Volucella zonaria)
A very impressive hoverfly.
A Kestrel overlooks the cove.
In the grounds of St Andrew's Church a Wall Lizard.
At the top of Penn's wood it looks like a Robin has already taken up "Winter" residence. There's also one in my back garden.

My walk started off with a Harlequin lady and finished with this one in Penn's wood.
Portland Castle
A quick look to see what was about and as I walked onto the beach the resident Little Egret was feeding along the shoreline. It seemed to be doing quite well, picking off small fish in the shallows.

Little Egret
Little Egret
The little Egret doing well catching small fish along the shoreline.
And Star bobbing about on her mooring.............
.........whilst Tiki makes her way off to Bournemouth for a new life on the Ocean Waves with her new owner.

Still lots of Swallows, House Martins and Sand Martins here in Wakeham. Whether they are the same birds as yesterday I know not. Also here were 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers calling, the first was in the wood just off the Permissive path leading to Tesco's and the other by Rufus Castle.

Ships Today
This is the British Combat vessel, HMS Dragon. More on this vessel Here
Its second day just off The Bill.
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29 Aug 18 - Green Apple Thieves

Birding in Poole Harbour and Beyond - Thu, 08/30/2018 - 17:34
There are a few Dorset Birders who make the annual visit to the Studland village area to see Ring-necked Parakeet for the Dorset Year Lists & in some cases, having to make more than one visit before they are successful. This is a species I will bump into a various times given it's part of the Studland patch & they can often be heard squawking from the Middle or South Beach car parks & generally fly into view soon after. But they have been a bit more irregular in the last few years. However, I've not visited the Middle Beach to check for Divers & Grebes as much in the last year or two & think they are missing me as one started irregularly appearing last year around my house. This year when I got back from the Atlantic Odyssey, I was seeing one or two more regularly locally. So, I was not overly surprised when I saw a flock of four about a month ago & confirmed that there were two juveniles in the flock. This has now increased to three juveniles, as well as, the two parents. This morning after seeing all five in a neighbour's tree, two soon after dropped into my apple tree for early morning breakfast.
Ring-necked Parakeet: AdultRing-necked Parakeet: Juv. Good to see a youngster being taught to eat fruitRing-necked Parakeet: JuvI never had to make much effort to see them each year in Dorset & now I have to make even less effort. This is probably one of their first times for successful breeding away from Studland where about ten Ring-necked Parakeets were released by a previous owner of the village pub in the late 1980s.
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Cricket id please

Nature of Dorset Forum - Thu, 08/30/2018 - 12:36

In Portland garden on geranium foliage, 6 Aug 2018. Think it's a mottled grasshopper but problem with the length - this was well over 3cm, probably more. Thanks Peter. 

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29th August

Portland Bird Observatory - Wed, 08/29/2018 - 23:18
Although numbers were far from anything to shout about today's migrant assortment had a more enticing mid-autumn feel to it, with some quality coming in the form of 2 Ortolan Buntings sound-recorded overhead during the hours of darkness and a more-or-less on cue Wryneck mist-netted at the Obs during the morning. Migrant totals at the Bill included 40 Yellow Wagtails, 13 Tree Pipits, 4 Pied Flycatchers, 3 Whinchats and singles of Hobby, Redstart and Reed Warbler, with 2 passing Balearic Shearwaters providing a modicum on interest on the sea there.

Nick Hopper made a well-timed return to the Obs last night for another session of nocturnal recording; although there was nowhere near the quantity of the previous two sessions 2 Ortolan Buntings - one at 01.14 and the other at 04.12 - provided some welcome quality. Also noteworthy was an early Water Rail but, in stark contrast to the previous sessions, the only waders were singles of Greenshank and Common Sandpiper. Other callers were: Common Tern 1, Pied Flycatcher 1, Robin 2, Yellow Wagtail 4, Tree Pipit 71 calls and a Chiffchaff - the latter a rare nocturnal caller.
Neither Ortolan was particularly close (the sound's been amplified 20x here!) so the recordings are quite hissy but they're more than adequate for documentation:

With a spell of easterlies forecast to set in before the weekend it ought to be a safe bet that today's Wryneck won't be the only one we see this year © Martin Cade:
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Sightings - Wednesday 29th August 2018

Dorset Bird Club - Wed, 08/29/2018 - 21:15
Spoonbill - 12 Poole Harbour, 1 Hengistbury Head
Hen Harrier - 1 juv male Wareham Harbour area (for 9th day)
Osprey - 2 Middlebere, 5 Wareham Channel
Hobby - 1 Lower Walditch, Bridport, 1 Middelbere
Whimbrel - 2 Christchurch Harbour, 1 Middlebere
Common Sandpiper - c5 Abbotsbury Swannery
Spotted Redshank - 1 Middlebere, 1 Lytchett Fields RSPB
Green Sandpiper - 1 near Portesham
Greenshank - 7 Middlebere
Lesser Yellowlegs - 1 possible reported Middlebere Channel but not relocated
Black Tern - 1 juv Longham Lakes
Nightjar - 2 trapped at Durlston CP, 1 West Bexington
Wryneck - 1 trapped at Portland Bird Observatory
Pied Flycatcher - 1 St Aldhelm's Head, 1 Portland Bill
Whinchat - 3 Portland Bill, 3 West Bexington,  2 Middelbere, 1 St Aldhelm's Head
House Sparrow - 185+ St Aldhelm's Head
Yellow Wagtail - 16 St Aldhelm's Head, 13 Hengistbury, 2 Ferrybridge

Last night - 2 Ortolan Bunting over Portland Bird Observatory
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29 Aug 18

Martin Adlam - Wed, 08/29/2018 - 14:28
Mermaid Track, Rufus Castle, St Andrews Church and Pennsylvania Castle Wood

A mass invasion of Swallows, House Martins and Sand Martins along Penns Weare and Wakeham. Hundreds of birds feeding on insects before heading off over Channel. Also about a few Willow Warblers and a Blackcap in Penn's Weare.

What a difference a day makes, yesterday there were dozens of Common Blues about, today just a female on the South West Coast path. Also here a Bloody-nosed Beetle on a plant, only the second one I've seen that wasn't trundling along a path.

Other butterflies seen were Holly Blue and Meadow Brown in the grounds of St Andrews Church, where there were 2 Wall Lizards.

Here are a few images from this afternoon.

A not so good photo of a Marmalade Hoverfly
A Bloody-nosed Beetle. Not sure why he's up at the top of the plant as it can't fly as its wing cases are fused together. Maybe it was checking out where it was.
A very worn female Common Blue
A Wall Lizard
And another....
......and one more.
 Tapered Drone Fly (Eristalis pertinax
And one of Harlequin Ladybirds still at the top of Penns Wood.
Ships Today
This is the British Combat vessel, HMS Dragon. More on this vessel Here.
This the Container Ship the Elbcarrier, flying the Cypriot Flag. Its on its way from Dublin to Rotterdam, Holland. More on this Cargo vessel Here.
This is Glovis Safety a Vehicles Carrier flying the flag of the Marshall Islands. It is on its way to Bremerhaven, Denmark from Dakar, Senegal. More on this vessel Here

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Sturminster Mill

Nature of Dorset Reference Database - Wed, 08/29/2018 - 09:44

A walk from Sturminster Mill along the river Stour northwards past Sturminster Newton


The information about this site has been organised into reports, charts, maps and photos. Click a pic below to see the detail: Fact File Directions Aerial View Some Charts Some Photographs Species List Species Records Original Tweets Guidance Notes Location 50° 55' 14.6244" N, 2° 18' 42.0408" W See map: Google Maps
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Maiden Castle

Nature of Dorset Reference Database - Wed, 08/29/2018 - 09:23

The world famous large iron age hill fort on the southern outskirts of Dorchester


The information about this site has been organised into reports, charts, maps and photos. Click a pic below to see the detail: Fact File Directions Aerial View Some Charts Some Photographs Species List Species Records Original Tweets Guidance Notes Location 50° 41' 45.2904" N, 2° 28' 10.5816" W See map: Google Maps
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28th August

Portland Bird Observatory - Tue, 08/28/2018 - 21:57
The calm after the storm didn't bring the much anticipated arrival of birds, however, a few moths of interest were trapped in the course of the previous night. On the birding front, the only bird of note was the first Blackcap of the autumn within the Obs recording area. The usual morning ensemble of 10 Yellow Wagtails, 9 Tree Pipits and 2 Grey Wagtails were, as usual, a pleasure. A Great Spotted Woodpecker trapped in the garden in the late morning added some much needed entertainment. The rest of the daily totals consisted of: 1 Whimbrel, 14 Wheatears, 10 Willow Warblers, 4 Robins, 9 Whitethroats, 2 Sand Martins and 1 Short-eared Owl. The mornings seawatch brought with it: 6 Manx Shearwaters, 1 Common Scoter, 1 Balearic Shearwater, 9 Mediterranean Gulls and 1 Black-headed Gull
Even the Ravens are finding the birding a little slow... © Erin Taylor

The only slightly out of the ordinary migrant at the Bill was this - newly arrived? - Short-eared Owl high overhead with a mob of corvids in tow. We don't know a lot about owl ageing but we're guessing from its shoddy flight feathers that this individual isn't a bird of the year; we're also guessing it would much rather not have migrated any sort of distance with its plumage in this state. It seems as though there are plenty of Asio owls arriving a lot earlier than usual this autumn at the coastal watchpoints - is there a vole shortage on the continent? © Martin Cade:

The Obs moth-traps came up with an unexpected little flurry of interest last night: Satin Beauty and White-faced Tortrix Pandemis cinnamomeana are both very infrequent strays to the island...

...but for us the highlight was what we're taking to be a Mathew's Wainscot; it stuck out like a sore thumb amongst the mass of Common and Smoky Wainscots and was so creamy-smooth in appearance that at first glance one worthy Dorset lepidopterist who happened to call in on us today pronounced that it must be Fen Wainscot. We've tried in the past to convince ourselves that the occasional smooth-ish specimen of Common Wainscot might perhaps be a Mathew's but last night's moth looked to be the real deal and as such may well be an addition to the island list © Martin Cade:

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Reports of interest, Tuesday 28th August 2018.

Dorset Bird Club - Tue, 08/28/2018 - 21:34
Spoonbill - 16 Brownsea Island, 1 Stanpit.
Osprey - 1 Studland, 4-5 migrant birds and 2+ translocated birds Poole Harbour.
Hobby - 1 Brownsea Island, 1 Lytchett Matravers.
Ruff - 2 Christchurch Harbour plus a flock of 19 over Hengistbury Head.
Whimbrel - 3-10 Christchurch Harbour.
Knot - 2 Brownsea Island.
Wood Sandpiper - 1 Wick (Hengistbury).
Common Sandpiper - 2 Christchurch Harbour.
Greenshank - 3 Brownsea Island.
Spotted Redshank - 1 Christchurch Harbour.
Yellow-Legged Gull - 1 Mudeford Quay.
Swift - 2 Hengistbury Head.
Yellow Wagtail - 1 Stanpit.
Redstart - 2 Durlston NNR.
Whinchat - 2 Hengistbury Head.

Note: The elevated number of Osprey in Poole Harbour at present is due to the Osprey translocation scheme which is being carried out by the Birds of Poole Harbour charity and The Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation.  For more information on this project follow the link below.

Wheatear at Stanpit © Clinton Whale
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28 Aug 18

Martin Adlam - Tue, 08/28/2018 - 18:52
Mermaid Track, Rufus Castle, St Andrews Church and Pennsylvania Castle Wood

A much warmer day and certainly an increase in the number of Common Blues along the Mermaid Track, which took a dislike to the Small Heath which was here again. Every time it landed it was chased off by one of the male Common Blues.
Also lots of Tapered Drone Flies about and the odd looking Sicus ferrugineus fly.
The warm weather brought out the Wall Lizards and there were a few in the grounds of St Andrew's Church and on Penns Weare.
On the way back up Wakeham there were a dozen or more hirundines, mainly Swallows feeding over the Sycamores and then resting up on the neighbours aerial.
Here are few images from this afternoon:
A Tapered Drone Fly (Eristalis pertinax) on the Mermaid Track.
Also here a male Common Blue and a Sicus ferrugineus fly.
A different angle.
And its posterior.
The same/different Small Heath along the track.
Plenty of Lizards about, this one was on the wall in the grounds of St Andrews Church overlooking Church Ope Cove.
And another in amongst the ruins.
Meadow Brown
Another Tapered Drone Fly (Eristalis pertinax).
And another Wall Lizard.
A Buff-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris)
A 7-spot Ladybird (Coccinella septempunctata)........
......and its cousin the Harlequin Ladybird.
Another variant of the  Harlequin Ladybird
And this is the nymph of a  Harlequin Ladybird
On the way back up Wakeham a Swallow perched on the neighbours aerial.
Here are more Swallows and another hirundine in amongst them. Any ideas! Answer at the bottom of the page.
Another Swallow joins them.

Common Green Shieldbug (Palomena prasina) in the vegetable patch this morning. Never seen one with a pink belly before.

A Common Green Shieldbug makes its way across the garden..........
........and then up a stick. I never knew they were pink underneath!
Note: The addition to the Swallows was a House Martin at the bottom of the aerial.
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Giant Hill

Nature of Dorset Reference Database - Tue, 08/28/2018 - 16:06

The hill upon which the famous Cerne Giant is engraved and is home to chalk grassland and scrub



The information about this site has been organised into reports, charts, maps and photos. Click a pic below to see the detail: Fact File Directions Aerial View Some Charts Some Photographs Species List Species Records Original Tweets Guidance Notes Location 50° 48' 43.146" N, 2° 28' 39.7632" W See map: Google Maps
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