On my wildlife wish list is a butterfly that I have never seen before and one that I was hoping to track down today. In fact it took me all of 8 minutes from the time I parked the car up until I found my first ever Grayling along the West Weare coast path behind Tout Quarry. And it wasn't the only one, as I came across at least 7 more along the tracks within the quarry.
Once I knew what I was looking for, it wasn't that difficult to find them. Unlike Meadow Browns and Ringlets, of which there were plenty, these Graylings were all on the tracks bar one which was on a rock. Once on the ground they then started walking. I'm not sure why they did this, but once they found the spot they wanted to be in, they positioned themselves head first towards the sun, minimising the shadow they produced.
The one I found on the rock was the only one to show both its underwings, revealing dark eye spots on the forewing. Not once though did I find one with the wings wide open. More on this butterfly Here.
It wasn't just the Graylings I recorded but also Small Skipper, Lulworth Skipper, Large White, Small Heath, Ringlet, Meadow Brown, Marbled White, Red Admiral, Painted Lady, Small Blue, Silver-studded Blue, plus a couple of other "Blue" Butterflies to ID.
Along with dozens of Six-spot Burnets I also came across a Mother Shipton moth.
I also recorded my first 5-spot Ladybird (Coccinella 5-punctata) to add to my Port and Wey list which now boasts 7-spot, 10-spot, 14-spot and 22-spot Ladybirds.
I also came across several Summer Chafers (Amphimallon solstitialis), especially along the top of the West Cliffs, dozens of Meadow Grasshoppers (Chorthippus parallelus), Swollen-thighed Beetle (Oedemera nobilis), Common Red Soldier Beetles (Rhagonycha fulva) and a Syrphus sp. hoverfly with a slight kink in its abdomen!
On the bird front I had Wheatear, 6 Swallows, a Kestrel, 2 Common Whitethroats, a family of Wrens and Greenfinches.
Here are a few images from this afternoon:
My first ever Grayling.
Perseverance paid off as I found this one on a rock with the forewing raised, revealing the eye-spots.
I had real difficulty photographing Ringlets today, there was always a piece of grass......
......or a leaf in the way.
And when I did get one it was in the shade.
Lots of Meadow Browns on the wing.
A lot smaller than a Meadow Brown, this is a Small Heath.
Good numbers of Marbled Whites in the quarry........
........and along the West Cliffs.
Just the one Painted Lady.
Just 2 Red Admirals here.
A male Large Skipper
And a female Large Skipper.
A tatty "Blue" Butterfly
And another "Blue" Butterfly
A Silver-studded Blue.....
A Six-spot Burnet Moth. Certainly plenty of these along the cliff top.
Lots of these in the long grass a Meadow Grasshopper, Chorthippus parallelus
Wherever you travel on Portland you will come across a Swollen-thighed Beetle. They are very abundant.
Common Red Soldier Beetle, Rhagonycha fulva on an umbellifer.
My first 5-spot Ladybird.
A very numerous bee along this stretch the Red-tailed Cuckoo-bee, Bombus rupestris
A Syrphus sp. hoverfly, with a slight kink in its abdomen!
Pyramidal orchids, Anacamptis pyramidalis
A distinctive looking Orchid and fairly widespread on Portland.
Another new plant for me......
........and what a beautiful flowering plant it is............
....... this is Common Centaur (Centaurium erythraea). More on this plant Here.
And a Wren with food for its youngsters.
Looking back along the West Cliff
Tout Quarry and "Still Falling" carved in the rock wall.
More on "Still Falling" Here
I found another carving of a face, which I couldn't find reference to. Perhaps its new.