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Updated: 1 hour 33 min ago

20 Jun 18

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are a few images from this afternoon:

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

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

These Sicus ferrugineus are certainly unusual looking. I came across two today.
An Ichneumon sp.
This is a Large Skipper.
These are really bizarre and most likely baby Shield Bugs.
One of two Hornet Mimic Hoverflies seen today. My first this year
A Lackey moth caterpillar.
Another Wall Lizard on the wall up to St Andrew's Church
And another Large Skipper, this time in the grounds of St Andrew's Church
A Six-spot Burnet Moth in the church grounds again.
My first Pellucid Hoverfly (Volucella pellucens) of the year.
Well that was quick. Someone came out today and moved the boulder off the steps on the way down to Church Ope Cove.
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19 Jun 18

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not sure what this fly is, but it was busy "flapping" its wings.
And one I will never ID, but I just love the pose it gave as it perched itself on top of a brick wall.
I said it was humid and these two felt it today. Ted and Benji.
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18 Jun 18

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are a few images from my walk:

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

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

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

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

At first I thought these were dead flower heads..........
........however they are the complete opposite and about to flower. I have no idea what they are, but watch this space.
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17 Jun 18

Sun, 06/17/2018 - 17:19
Pennsylvania Castle Wood, St Andrews Church and Rufus Castle

The reverse walk of yesterdays. Still very windy and today it was wall to wall cloud and the occasional spot of drizzle. Not ideal for bug hunting, but I did find a few.

Heading down through Penn's wood I came across 4 juvenile Chaffinches and 2 juvenile Wrens. Though I wouldn't be surprised if there were many more juveniles Wrens lurking in the bushes and undergrowth. They are very adept at losing themselves when they want to.

Also here a few Swollen-thighed Beetles and what I believe is a Hoverfly, Syrphus vitripennis as opposed to Syrphus ribesii. The difference being A. vitripennis has a black femur (top segment of leg), which the photo below just shows. In the case of S. ribesii it is all yellow.

In the grounds of St Andrews Church I was amazed to discover that all the Mullein caterpillars had disappeared. I searched all the neighbouring plants, but they had definitely gone. Were they really ready to pupate or did someone help themselves!

On the steps halfway between Rufus Castle and Church Ope Cove I came across a really bizarre looking spider with warts. well that's what they look like. One to ID

On my shortcut through to Wakeham, I came across several Common Carder Bees and what I believe is a Bombus hortorum (Three-banded White-tailed Bumblebee). However bees as you've probably seen already are not my best forte.

Also along here I came across the nymph of a Speckled Bush Cricket, another Marmalade Hoverfly and one of my favourite flies the Semaphore Fly, Poecilobothrus nobilitatus

Images as seen en-route.

One of the 4 juvenile Chaffinches sat in a Horse Chestnut Tree.
A short video of one of the juvenile Chaffinches.
A Swollen-thighed Beetle on a Dog Rose.
A different flower head and what I'm pretty sure is a Syrphus vitripennis hoverfly.
The distinguishing feature apparently is that S. ribesii has all yellow legs whereas here S. vitripennis has black on the top section of the leg.

Yesterday afternoon this plant was full of Mullein caterpillars. Today they have all disappeared! I looked around at neighbouring plants, but they have vanished. I can't believe they have all decided to pupate and I do feel that human intervention has played a part in their disappearance.

Now there are spiders and there are spiders. However this one looks like its mimicking a Toad with all those warts on its abdomen. What species is it, I have absolutely no idea and I can't find a match anywhere.

A Marmalade Hoverfly, Episyrphus balteatus
I'm not brilliant at identifying bees, but I'll have a go with Bombus hortorum. Please feel free to correct me!

A Speckled Bush Cricket nymph, Leptophyes punctatissima
One of my favourite flies, the Semaphore Fly, Poecilobothrus nobilitatus 
And another Marmalade Hoverfly.
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16 Jun 18

Sat, 06/16/2018 - 21:24
Rufus Castle, St Andrews Church and Pennsylvania Castle Wood

I've not done this walk for quite awhile, so despite the windy conditions it was off on my travels to see what was about. There's a short cut I take to the cliff top just pass the old Dolphin Public Castle and I'm glad I opted for this route, as the first beetle I came across was a Spotted Longhorn or Black & Yellow Longhorn as its often called (Rutpela maculata).

A bit further along the track I came across the empty shell casing of a Bloody-nosed Beetle (Timarcha tenebricosa) and was the only specimen of this species, albeit dead, that I found. My last walk here produced quite a few.

On the way down the steps from from Rufus Castle to Church Ope Cove an ichneumon wasp flew past me and into the bushes. I have seen this ichneumon wasp before but it's one that I've still not identified beyond one of the Heteropelma species.

Also here were a family party of Long-tailed Tits, all busy feeding in amongst the Sycamores in the copse half-way down the steps. In total there 7 juveniles and the 2 adult birds.

A slight diversion onto the cliff top overlooking Church Ope Cove and I came across a Mimic Bee Hoverfly (Volucella bombylans). Its funny that I'm finding more V. bombylans than the "white-tailed" V. plumata. A similar thing happens with both Common Drone Flies and Tapered Drone Flies, the latter (Eristalis pertinax) always come out later in the year than (Eristalis tenax).

In the grounds of St Andrew's Church I acme across 2 Six-spot Burnet Moths (Zygaena filipendulae) settled in the grass, whilst on a large leafy plant (well what was left of it I came across a dozen or so caterpillars of this nationally scarce moth The Mullein moth (Cucullia verbasci). More on this moth Here.

Still in the church grounds I came across the aptly named Rose Chafer on the flower of a Dog Rose.

Here are a few images from my walk:

This is a Spotted Longhorn (Rutpela maculata), also know as the Black and Yellow Longhorn. This species can often be seen feeding on nectar on the flower heads such as hogweed or cow parsley. The larvae feed on rotting tree stumps, especially birch and pine.
An ichneumon wasp I have come across before, but not beyond one of the Heteropelma species.
One of the 7 juvenile Long-tailed Tits in the copse half-way down the steps to Church Ope Cove from Rufus Castle.

Lovely to see a family party of 7 juvenile Long-tailed Tits and the adults in the copse, half-way the steps from Rufus Castle to Church Ope Cove.

This is Rock Stonecrop (Sedum forsterianum), with Pennsylvania Castle in the background. This flower is yet to open, so I will be back when it does. More on this flower Here
Having seen quite a few Mimic Bee Hoverflies (Volucella plumata) it is now seems to be the turn of Volucella bombylans to put in an appearance. This one was above the north cliff of Church Ope Cove.
The very lush green grounds of St Andrew's Church
In the church grounds I came across 2 Six-spot Burnet Moths...........
.........and these very colourful caterpillars.......
........and they belong to........
......The Mullein Moth (Shargacucullia verbasci). These are in their final stages of development as caterpillars and will be pupating soon.
Appropriately named this Rose Chafer (Cetonia auata) is on the flower of a Dog Rose, in the grounds of St Andrew's Church
A White-lipped Banded Snail (Cepaea hortensis) the nettles in Penn's wood
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15 Jun 18

Fri, 06/15/2018 - 19:15

Another day working in the back garden, so not a lot to talk about. The main highlight again was a small party of Swifts overhead. Are these just birds looking for food or they late arrivals!

Also found, by my Marrow patch, was what I think was a Swan-feather Dwarf moth (Elachista argentella), but it does look a bit small for one.

I'm going for a Swan-feather Dwarf, but there again.

Categories: Blogs, Timeline, Twitter

14 Jun 18

Thu, 06/14/2018 - 22:38
Broadcroft Quarry Butterfly Reserve

Despite the stiff breeze there were plenty of butterflies about. Mainly Meadow Browns and Speckled Woods. There were a few Common Blues and Large Skippers, which proved difficult to photograph, plus 2 Dingy Skippers.

I came across a couple of Burnet Companions Moths, my first Six-spot Burnet Moths of the year and a Silver-Y.

A few hoverflies about, though not many were settling, just the one Mimic Bee Hoverfly (Volucella bombylans), normally I come across Volucella plumata.

There were a few Swollen-thighed Beetles and what looks like a Noon Fly but isn't. There was also another fly to ID and I'm sure I came across a Black-horned Gems (Microchrysa polita), but there again could have been a Green Gem (Microchrysa flavicornis). Two to check.

Here are a few images:

Speckled Wood
Meadow Brown
Large Skipper
A Six-spot Burnet moth (Zygaena filipendulae), with quite a few on the wing...................
...............perhaps the caterpillars I saw last week were those of the Six-spot Burnet moth and not Five-spot.
Burnet Companion
Dingy Skipper
The jungle
Mimic Bee Hoverfly (Volucella bombylans)
A Black-horned Gems (Microchrysa polita), but it could be a Green Gem (Microchrysa flavicornis), but they have yellow antennae.
Fly sp.
Swollen-thighed Beetle, Oedemera nobilis
I was thinking this was a Noon Fly. But the size is all wrong.
Another view of my mystery fly.
The view looking south over Bumpers lane.
Categories: Blogs, Timeline, Twitter

13 Jun 18

Wed, 06/13/2018 - 18:53

Another busy day at home, only highlight today was a large congregation of Swifts moving slowly northwards. Probably a good 30 birds on passage!

Also noted was a Chiffchaff singing again from the neighbours garden, where there was also a few baby Wrens being fed. Only butterfly seen was a Painted Lady, which passed over the back garden.
Categories: Blogs, Timeline, Twitter

12 Jun 18

Tue, 06/12/2018 - 22:18

Our quiet day spent gardening, main highlight was watching 3 Common Buzzards drifting northwards over the island. Summer migrants from the continent. Possibly!!

The new pond in the back garden has been a success story with Semaphore flies (Poecilobothrus nobilitatus) displaying all day long. Well pleased with the pond. I wonder what future years hold.

A pair of Herring Gulls nesting between the chimney pots on a neighbours roof have successfully hatched a chick and after two weeks it is doing very well. This time last year one of the parent birds was a ringed adult nicknamed Bo. This was her on 9 Jun 17 Here.

Having said that I have a real suspicion Bo has gone and another pair are using the old nest site. I will keep checking.

A Chiffchaff was singing from the neighbours garden for the 3rd day running and a few Swifts passed overhead heading north. The "local" birds have fallen silent!!

Here are a few images from today.

The new pond has certainly been a success story and the first real residents have been Semaphore flies (Poecilobothrus nobilitatus).
I photographed the Semaphore Fly in the bottom right hand corner and as I was editing the image I realised there were a further two in the top left-hand corner.
This one is on a Nasturtium leaf.
Another on a pebble.
And another on a rock.
One of the adult Herring Gulls nesting on the neighbours roof.
This year just a single chick. Last year there were 2 and sadly they both perished. All I've got to do know is see if Bo is still the mother or whether another female has taken her place.
Categories: Blogs, Timeline, Twitter

11 Jun 18

Mon, 06/11/2018 - 23:57

After an eventful morning at Radipole, it was a relaxing afternoon in the back garden. A few interesting sightings with my first Broad-bodied Chaser (Libellula depressa), a female visiting the pond.

A female Broad-bodied Chaser
Radipole RSPB Nature Reserve

Having dropped Dawn off at Chickerell for her Charity walk for Teenage Cancer Trust, I headed off to Radipole Reserve. I parked in my usual spot in Goldcroft Avenue Here and crossed the Dorchester Road and into the Reserve. I decided to head for the North Screen first and then walk around the rest of the reserve later.

That never actually happened as I only made it to the screen and back as there were so many bugs, bees and hoverflies etc. seen en route. I think if I'd visited the rest of the reserve I would still be writing out my report for several days.

Below are a few images from this mornings walk. There were many invertebrates and unfortunately today I was well beaten by many that I have not been able to ID.

So much vegetation............
...........and absolutely filled with invertebrates. Its no wonder there's a healthy population of Chiffchaff, Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat, Sedge, Reed and Cetti's Warblers here. And that's just our summer visitors.

A Marsh Harriers surveys his territory.
A Grey Heron
A young Coot begs for food.
I know I've said this before, but there are, unusually for a wetland reserve, a good head of House Sparrows here. Chirpy chappy and always a pleasure to see and hear them, especially with population numbers dropping.

An Orchid.......
........Marsh, Early, Southern. One of these I'm sure. One to check.
This is a Snipe Fly, Chrysopilus cristatus........
.....they were everywhere, so I thought I'd add a few more images below.
And another.
And last one.
A small Dagger Fly. Smaller than Empis tessellata, but as to which one, I'm not sure.
Struggling to ID this, but it does look like one I came across in Swindon. One to check also.
This is the Noon Fly - Mesembrina meridiana
The Footballer hoverfly - Helophilus pendulus.
Despite this individual being a lot smaller, I think this is also Helophilus pendulus...........
..............and this one to.
This looks good for the hoverfly - Myathropa florea
Another hoverfly...........
...........Eristalis arbustorum
Another one to ID. Not doing to well with all these new bugs!!
This is the hoverfly Xylota segnis
This is a Mimic Bee Hoverfly - Volucella plumata. However the black thorax doesn't look right and examples I have seen have yellow hairs along the sides!

This is an Early Bumblebee, Bombus pratorum
An Ichneumon Wasp, but one to ID
Another view.
I'm not doing to well ID'ing the "bugs" from today..............
.......but I'm pretty sure this is the Ichneumon Wasp Achaius oratorius
Well this is a Sawfly and a very small one at that. There were dozens along the path on the way to the North Screen. Unfortunately it isn't one I'm gong to ID.
There were several Blue-tailed Damselfly, Ischnura elegans along the pathway
Here is another
And one more
A Common Blue Damselfly, Enallagma cyathigerum
And another
and another male............
.........and finally a female
A Banded Demoiselle, Calopteryx splendens
Incredible colours. More on this Demoiselle Here
A 14-spot Ladybird, Propylea 14-punctata
And one with a few more spots a 22-spot Ladybird, Psyllobora 22-punctata
A caterpillar tent........
...........the species, to be ID'd.
It would be true to say that I am struggling to ID these caterpillars. This is another one to ID.
One I do know the caterpillar of the Garden Tiger moth (Arctia caja)
A male Swollen-thighed Beetle - Oedemera nobilis
A pair of Nettle Weevil (Phyllobius pomaceus), doing what Nettle Weevils do
I'm not 100% sure but I'm going for Common Fox-spider - Alopecosa pulverulenta  
It looks like I'm also beaten by this snail. One of these maybe Here
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10 Jun 18

Sun, 06/10/2018 - 16:00
Broadcroft Quarry Butterfly Reserve, Lane and Pools

A very cloudy but muggy morning.
Not to many butterflies about, but I did record Common Blue, Small Blue, several Meadow Browns and Speckled Woods.
Also a few moths and a couple of new ones for me on Portland, highlighted in red. A Hook-streak Grass-veneer (Crambus lathoniellus), several Silver Y's (Autographa gamma), a Garden Pebble (Evergestis forficalis) and another new one a Burnet Companion (Euclidia glyphica). Also dozens of 5 or 6 Spot Burnet moth caterpillars.
Also seen were lots of bees, Common Carder, White-tailed, Honey Bee and Red-tailed Cuckoo-bees.

Along Broadcroft Quarry lane a few Common Drone Flies, whilst on the Reserve dozens of Marmalade Hoverflies and a hoverfly Xanthogramma pedissequum.
I came across a Dagger Fly with what looked like a dragonfly head. Really odd. Also several Black-horned Gems (Microchrysa polita) which I last saw in Swindon before I moved here in May 2017. I also came across a few slightly smaller and similar looking flies, the Semaphore fly (Poecilobothrus nobilitatus)
And finally everywhere I looked there were Swollen-thighed Beetles (Oedemera nobilis). Very numerous.

Here are a few images and videos from this morning including two species of Orchid.

A very vocal Wren.

A Wren lets everyone know that this is his patch
A distant shot of one of 2 pairs of Common Whitethroat on the reserve
Lots of Speckled Woods about and also............
..........several Meadow Browns.
A Common Blue, topside........
........and underwing.
I'm hoping I've got this one right. A Hook-streak Grass-veneer (Crambus lathoniellus)
Garden Pebble (Evergestis forficalis)
This is a Burnet Companion, Euclidia glyphica
The caterpillar of either a 5 or 6 Spot Burnet Moth
Russian Comfrey agg. (Symphytum x uplandicum).............
........which was very popular with the bees. Especially Common Carder and.......
.........and  Red-tailed Cuckoo-bees (Bombus rupestris)
I even got a head on pose.

Some busy bees, mainly Common Carder and Red-tailed Cuckoo-bees.
A White-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus lucorum)
A Common Drone Fly (Eristalis tenax).......
.....and another.
So many Marmalade Hoverflies (Episyrphus balteatus) about. 
A Dagger Fly with........
.........what looks like the head of a Dragonfly!!
A Hoverfly, Xanthogramma pedissequum
This looks like a fly I use to come across in and around Swindon a Black-horned Gem, Microchrysa polita.

A male Swollen-thighed Beetle, Oedemera nobilis
A Bee Orchid, Ophrys apifera. My first on Portland and I managed to find 7 of these beautiful plants.
The Bee Orchid mimics a female bee in the hope that a male bee will try to mate with it. In doing so the bee ends up pollinating the flower. Very clever.

Pyramidal orchid, Anacamptis pyramidalis. In the next few weeks there will be dozens of these out in flower.
This is Eyebright, Euphrasia........
....a semi-parasitic which steals nutrients from other plants by attaching itself to their roots.
This is Hedge Woundwort, Stachys sylvatica
Almost like a Snapdragon.
A white flowered Iris, Iris croatica
This was by Broadcroft pools, so fairly damp soil.
I keep coming across new flowers on the island, this.... Yellow-wort, Blackstonia perfoliata. It's normally found in the Mediterranean, and has spread into North-west Europe. More on this plant Here.

I'm pretty sure this a campanula .......
............but as to which one, I have no idea.
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9 Jun 18

Sat, 06/09/2018 - 20:35

What huge commotion out in the back garden this morning,  as a Peregrine Falcon took one of our resident Collared Doves in mid-air. As it lifted the dove up the local Herring Gulls (with young on their nests) flew off the chimney pots and attacked the Peregrine. It worked and the dove was released, but sadly was dead as it hit the ground in the neighbours garden.

As the Peregrine turned back, its mate turned up and both circled the house several times before heading off towards Easton.

This evening 23 Swifts passed over the house also heading north.

One very confused Collared Dove, which has been calling for its mate for most of the day.
A small passage of Swifts over the house.
and more.
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8 Jun 18

Fri, 06/08/2018 - 15:32
Portland Obs Quarry

This morning a Subalpine Warbler was ringed and released in the Obs Quarry. Picture on Twitter Here and after a 2 hour delay I finally managed to catch up with it.
When I arrived at the Quarry it was heard calling by myself and 2 other birders. We then saw it a couple of times before it flew past us and into the shrubs shown below.
It showed itself a couple of times again before heading off towards the road, where we presume it carried on into the Crown Estate Fields.
In the Obs garden lots of Painted Lady's and a male Broad-bodied Chaser. One of these days I'll get a photo of the Chaser.

The last time the Subalpine Warbler was seen was when it flew..........
..........into these bushes here close to the road, before heading off again towards the Crown estate Fields to the west.
There are always predators around, here a Kestrel is looking for voles or a juicy Grasshopper.
And there is always a Raven not to far away.
Ships today
Way out in the English Channel the Triton Ace a Vehicles Carrier flying the flag of Panama. This vessel is on its way from Veracruz (Mexico) to Antwerp (Belgium). More on this cargo ship Here.
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7 Jun 18

Thu, 06/07/2018 - 20:27
Rufus Castle, St Andrews Church and Pennsylvania Castle Wood

A very cloudy afternoon and certainly humid. Not a single butterfly seen, but lots of micro moths again. Also some very vocal Kestrels, which makes me think there are some youngsters about. Also vocal were a Common Whitethroat, Blackcap and Chiffchaff.

A lot of different bugs and beasties about with several moths a Carnation Tortrix (Cacoecimorpha pronubana), a Rush Veneer (Nomophila noctuella) or a Twin-barred Knot-horn (Homoeosoma sinuella), dozens of Plum Tortrix (Hedya pruniana), Common Nettle-tap moth (Anthophila fabriciana) and a Garden Grass-veneer (Chrysoteuchia culmella).

Lots of hoverflies on the wing especially Marmalade Hoverflies (Episyrphus balteatus), they were everywhere, 2 Pied Hoverfly (Scaeva pyrastri) and quite a few Chequered Hoverfly (Melanostoma scalare).
A few beetles about including my favourite the Bloody-nosed Beetle (Timarcha tenebricosa). There was also a Capsid which I think was a Common Green Capsid (Lygocoris pabulinus) and a small brown beetle to be ID'd.

I found a couple of caterpillars one was either a 5 or 6 Spot Burnet and the other was on a Privet to be ID'd.

Unsurprisingly there were lots of snails and slugs about and two firsts for me on Portland were a Brown-lipped Banded Snail (Cepaea nemoralis) and a Netted or Grey Field Slug (Deroceras reticulatum).
A new spider for me a Stretch-spider, Tetragnatha extensa. Though I might have to recheck this.
Also still lots of Dark Bush-crickets, Pholidoptera griseoaptera about and finally a Crane Fly to ID.

Here are a few images from this afternoon.

A Carnation Tortrix, Cacoecimorpha pronubana
I can't make up mind whether this is a Rush Veneer (Nomophila noctuella) or a Twin-barred Knot-horn (Homoeosoma sinuella).

A Common Nettle-tap moth, Anthophila fabriciana
Garden Grass-veneer, Chrysoteuchia culmella
A very large and busy hoverfly the Pied Hoverfly, Scaeva pyrastri. This one was in the grounds of St Andrews Church and another by Rufus Castle.

Lots of these about this afternoon a Marmalade Hoverfly, Episyrphus balteatus.
And another with its wings folded.
Not a Marmalade Hoverfly but a Chequered Hoverfly, Melanostoma scalare
An interesting caterpillar.........
........on a privet and one to ID later.
The caterpillar of either the 5 or 6 spot Burnet Moth 
Love them or hate them two Garden Snails having a feast.
A Brown-lipped Banded Snail, Cepaea nemoralis. All the ones I've come across before have been White-lipped Banded Snail, Cepaea hortensis.

I believe this is a Netted or Grey Field Slug (Deroceras reticulatum). Probably one of the smallest slugs I have come across.

A Crane Fly to ID.
A Bloody-nosed Beetle, Timarcha tenebricosa. So many of these about.
This is a Capsid and I'm thinking Common Green Capsid, Lygocoris pabulinus. But I will check this out later.

Another beetle to ID.
A Still lots of these Dark Bush-crickets, Pholidoptera griseoaptera about.
I think this is the Stretch-spider, Tetragnatha extensa. However there are very similar looking species and it didn't help that I photographed the underside!
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6 Jun 18

Wed, 06/06/2018 - 18:25
Rufus Castle, St Andrews Church, Pennsylvania Castle Wood and Perryfield Quarry Butterfly Reserve

A short walk today in very warm and sunny conditions. Main highlight was my first Meadow Brown for the year. In fact I had 3, all of which were in Perryfield Quarry Butterfly Reserve.

Other highlights were: hoverfly (Xylota segnis), hoverfly (Chrysotoxum cautum), The Dead Head Fly (Myathropa florea), a Semaphore Fly (Poecilobothrus nobilitatus),  a Yellow Dung Fly (Scathophaga stercoraria), Common Carder Bees, a Mining Bee (Andrena sp), An Ichneumon wasp to be ID, a Common Blue butterfly, Speckled Wood, Red Admiral and 3 Meadow Browns.

Also recorded: A Nursery Web Spider (Pisaura mirabilis) and a Slow-worm
Here are a few images from today:

This is the hoverfly Xylota segnis.......
........there were quite a few about around Rufus Castle and.........
........Penn's wood. 
This large bright and colourful hoverfly is Chrysotoxum cautum
The Dead Head Fly, Myathropa florea 
And another.
This the Semaphore fly, Poecilobothrus nobilitatus. More on this fly here from 24 Jul 17.

The Yellow Dung Fly, Scathophaga stercoraria
An Ichneumon wasp to be ID. Very similar to the one I found in my back garden last year on 18 Jun Here.
A Common Carder bee on a Viper's Bugloss (Echium vulgare).
A Mining Bee, Andrena sp. Those black markings on the wings might help ID it.
A Common Blue. Maybe the light is playing tricks on me, but this looks very small........ is the underwing and the pattern looks good for Common Blue!
My first Meadow Brown of the year.
A Comma.
A Nursery Web Spider, Pisaura mirabilis
And a Slow-worm
Perryfields Quarry Butterfly Reserve.
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5 Jun 18

Tue, 06/05/2018 - 23:12
Penn's Weare

Just the right weather to walk around Penn's Weare, cloudy but nice and warm. Not too many birds about with the main highlight being a Peregrine Falcon being mobbed by the local Carrion Crows, a Fulmar heading off to Grove cliffs and 3 Swifts screaming away as they headed north. In the craggy boulders and low shrubs Common Whitethroat, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird and lots of Wrens.

My main concentration was on the "bugs" and there were plenty about with lots of grasshoppers, beetles, moths and butterflies. I had my first Adonis Blue and Lulworth Skipper for the year. A Wall Brown and a Small Blue were also recorded.

The were quite a few moths about, especially Plum Tortrix, Hedya pruniana, they were everywhere. I also had several Garden Grass-veneers (Chrysoteuchia culmella), a Cream-spot Tiger moth (Arctia villica), 1 Diamond-back Moth (Plutella xylostella), 3 Common Nettle-tap moths (Anthophila fabriciana) and not for the first time a small white and black-spotted moth, which for the umpteenth time would not settle to be identified.
A few beetles about with 3 Swollen-thighed Beetles (Oedemera nobilis) and 5 Bloody-nosed Beetles (Timarcha tenebricosa). 
I don't think I've ever seen so many grasshoppers, and if I've got this right, they were all Common Green Grasshoppers (Omocestus viridulus). Also about a few Dark Bush-crickets (Pholidoptera griseoaptera) and on a Valerian the nymph of a Speckled Bush-cricket (Leptophyes punctatissima).
And finally a hoverfly which is probably a Chequered Hoverfly (Melanostoma scalare) and two bees, a Common Carder Bee (Bombus pascuorum) and a new bee, which I'm pretty certain is a Black Mining-bee (Andrena pilipes).
Here a few images from today:

One of the three Swifts over Penn's Weare.
A Wall Brown.
This is the first time I've actually got close up to one.
My first Lulworth Skipper of the year.........
...........followed shortly by my first Adonis Blue.
Another view.
And an underwing shot.
And another.
A slightly worn Small Blue.
A Plum Tortrix, Hedya pruniana...........
........and another........
................and another. In fact there were dozens flying about, especially as I brushed past the bushes. Not sure what the bug is though. Odd!!

Possibly a Chrysoteuchia culmella, Garden Grass-veneer..............
............and another.
A Common Nettle-tap moth, Anthophila fabriciana.......
........and another...........
.............and yes another, though this one is a lot lighter. A worn one maybe!
Having sort of cheated and seen my first Cream-spot Tiger moth in the moth trap at the Portland Bird Observatory on 1 Jun 18 Here..................
................. I finally found my own.
Unsurprisingly a Diamond-back Moth. A real migratory moth, which, by its size is an amazing little moth to get here across the Channel from the Continent. It does make you wonder how many perish.
A Dark Bush-cricket, Pholidoptera griseoaptera.........
............and another. In fact another species of insect which was very abundant.
I nearly missed this, it was so small. This is the nymph of the Speckled Bush-cricket, Leptophyes punctatissima.
Common Green Grasshopper, Omocestus viridulus. I have never encountered so many. Along the grass verges of the SW coast path, they were everywhere.
Two male Swollen-thighed Beetles, Oedemera nobilis............
........and another.
A Bloody-nosed Beetle, Timarcha tenebricosa..........
.......and yep, lots of these along the path. I picked one up and sure enough it excreted a blood-red liquid.
It seems that every little hoverfly I come across is a Melanostoma scalare. This looks like one, but that pink colouration on the thorax looks odd for a Chequered Hoverfly.
I reckon this is a Black Mining-bee, Andrena pilipes, which is found mainly along coastlands. If it is, its my first ever. More on this bee Here.
A Common Carder on a a beautiful purple flower........
.........which I have no idea what it is.....
.......a tall plant and one for me to ID.
Another view of it. Reminds me of Purple Loosestrife.
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4 Jun 18

Mon, 06/04/2018 - 14:27

The moth trap went out last night and this morning there were 69 moths of 30 species. As per normal its going to take me awhile to ID them all, but below are images of all the species recorded with a few ID'd to the best of my ability.

A few new ones for Portland (if I have ID them correctly) are Spilosoma lubricipeda (White Ermine), Platyptilia gonodactyla (Triangle Plume), Korscheltellus lupulina (Common Swift) and Pasiphila rectangulata (Green Pug).

Also 6 Ichneumon wasp sp., 1 Click Beetle and a 22 Spot Ladybird (Psyllobora vigintiduopunctata)

Totals in brackets.
A. Spilosoma lubricipeda, White Ermine (3)
B. Platyptilia gonodactyla, Triangle Plume (1)
C. Korscheltellus lupulina, Common Swift (1)
D. moth sp. (1)
E. moth sp. (2)
F. moth sp. (1)
G. moth sp. (note killed by spider in the moth trap). (1)
H. moth sp. (1)
I. Horisme vitalbata, Small Waved Umber (2)
J. Colostygia pectinataria, Green Carpet (1)
K. Dysstroma truncata, Common Marbled Carpet (1)
L. Autographa gamma, Silver Y (3)
M. Myelois circumvoluta, Thistle Ermine (2)
N. Eupithecia subfuscata, Grey Pug (6)
O. Pasiphila rectangulata, Green Pug (1)
P. pug sp. (1)
Q. Possibly the same as above. (1)
R. moth sp. (1)
S. moth sp. (1)
T. moth sp (1)
U. moth sp. (1)
V. moth sp. (8)
W. Possibly same species as above (1)X. Moth sp. (1)Y. Anania fuscalis, Cinerous Pearl - Not sure on this one (1)Z. moth sp. (1)Z1. moth sp. (8)Z2. moth sp. (1)Z3. Plutella xylostella, Diamond-backed Moth (12)Z4. moth sp. (1) 
A. Spilosoma lubricipeda, White Ermine  (3)
B. Platyptilia gonodactyla, Triangle Plume (1)
C. Korscheltellus lupulina, Common Swift (1)
D. moth sp. (1)
E. moth sp. (2)
E. As above
F. moth sp. (1)
G. moth sp. (note killed by spider in the moth trap). (1)
H. moth sp. (1)
I. Horisme vitalbata, Small Waved Umber (2)
J. Colostygia pectinataria, Green Carpet (1)
K. Dysstroma truncata, Common Marbled Carpet (1)
L. Autographa gamma, Silver Y (3)
M. Myelois circumvoluta, Thistle Ermine (2)
N. Eupithecia subfuscata, Grey Pug (6)
O. Pasiphila rectangulata, Green Pug (1)
P. pug sp. (1)
Q. Possibly the same as above. pug sp. (1)
R. moth sp. (1)
S. moth sp. (1)
T. moth sp (1)
U. moth sp. (1)
V. moth sp. (8)
W. Possibly same species as above (1)
X. Moth sp. (1)
Y. Anania fuscalis, Cinerous Pearl - Not 100% sure though. (1)
As above Anania fuscalis, Cinerous Pearl
Z. moth sp. (1)
Z1. moth sp. (8)
Z2. moth sp. (1)
As above
Z3. Plutella xylostella, Diamond-backed Moth (12)
Z4. moth sp. (1)
As above
Ichneumon wasp sp.
22 Spot Ladybird, Psyllobora vigintiduopunctata
Click Beetle.
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3 Jun 18

Sun, 06/03/2018 - 20:01

A chilled out day in the back garden on another beautiful sunny day. Highlights bird-wise were 6 Swifts, 2 House Martins and a Peregrine Falcon over the house. Whilst in the bushes and neighbouring trees families of both Great Tit and Blue Tits feeding their youngsters.

In and around the flower beds lots of bees and hoverflies with several Early Mining Bees and Long Hoverfly & Marmalade Hoverflies. Plus a Dagger Fly.

A few images from today:

A Great Tit on the feeders.
I think this is an Early Mining Bee, Andrena haemorrhoa
And another..............
.........and another.
Long Hoverfly, Sphaerophoria scripta.............
..........another view.
I have no idea what these are, but there were a lot of them basking in the sun.
Dagger Fly, Empis tessellata
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2 Jun 18

Sat, 06/02/2018 - 21:48
Broadcroft Quarry Butterfly Reserve

This afternoon I had a walk around the butterfly reserve and there were certainly a few about with Common Blue, Holly Blue, Small Blue, Dingy Skipper, Small Skipper, Large White, Speckled Wood, Wall Brown, Red Admiral and Comma.
And it wasn't just butterflies on the reserve with several Swollen-thighed Beetles and Dagger Fly's.
Also found were a few hoverflies including a Xanthogramma pedissequum and both Volucella plumata and Volucella bombylans (More on this Mimic Bee Hoverfly Here).
There were also a few flies and an Ichneumon wasp to ID.
Here are a few images from this afternoon.
Broadcroft Quarry Butterfly Reserve
Some of the mixed habitat here.
On the other side of Broadcroft Quarry Lane the view south across the scrubland. The light coloured area in the centre is the building site for 71 houses in Bumpers Lane. A real shame to have a blot on the landscape.
A Small Skipper
A Dinghy Skipper
Holly Blue
Common Blue
And another
A Wall Brown
A female Small Blue
The hoverfly - Xanthogramma pedissequum
Another view.
A mimic bee hoverfly Volucella plumata with a white tail
And another.
And this is Volucella bombylans and........
...........another one. Told apart from V. plumata as it has an orange-red tail.
A Swollen-thighed Beetle
A Dagger Fly
I'm not to sure what this and unfortunately I managed one shot before it flew off.
A really unusual looking fly..........
...........and another unusual looking one to ID.
An Ichneumon wasp to ID.
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1 Jun 18

Fri, 06/01/2018 - 21:37
The Bill

For the first time in 3 days the rain stopped, the fog cleared and the sun came out as myself, two of my daughters and granddaughters had a lovely walk around the The Bill.

So many things to see and great to have so many eyes to help me find them. Needless to say there are lots of photos today, including many new species for me on Portland such as Common Blue Damselflies (Enallagma cyathigerum), Cream-spot Tiger Moth (Arctia villica), Diamond-back Moths (Plutella xylostella), Yellow-barred Long-horn Moth (Nemophora degeerella), plus 1 beetle sp. and 2 moth sps. to ID.

Just off the Obelisk this Great Black-backed Gull was taking off and then.......
............diving into the water, time after time.
Eventually after a few goes it came up to the surface with what looks like......
..........a Spider Crab.
Once safely in its its beak it flew off with its prize.
Four Guillemots heading back to the West Cliffs on Portland.
Lots of these about........
........caterpillars of the Lackey Moth.
Cheating really but this is a Cream-spot Tiger, Arctia villica which was in the moth trap at Portland Bird Observatory. Thank you to Martin Cade (Head Warden) for showing me and the girls.
There were hundreds of these moths about along the coastal edges........
..........Diamond-back Moths (Plutella xylostella).........
...........extraordinary as it sounds (especially for a such a migratory moth) these are the first Diamond-back Moths I have seen on Portland.
One to ID
This one I know a Silver-Y moth.
All the Long-horn moths I've seen on the island have been Green-longhorn Moths (Adela reaumurella). Today I came across my first Yellow-barred Long-horn Moth (Nemophora degeerella). Unfortunately it's slightly out of focus as I only had one opportunity to take a photo of it before it flew off.
A Tortrix sp. Another moth to ID
A Common Blue
And another.
A Large White. I can't believe I managed to photograph it with a grass bisecting it.
A Small White.
A Small Heath........ first this year.
Large Skipper.........
.........a male.
A Dagger Fly. Lots of these still about.
A Soldier Beetle, Cantharis rustica
A pair of Common Blue Damselflies (Enallagma cyathigerum) mating.........
.......another first for me on Portland.
A shiny turquoise-coloured beetle to ID.
A Common Carder Bee.
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