20 Jul 18

Pennsylvania Castle Wood, St Andrew's Church, Rufus Castle, Mermaid Track and Bumpers Lane.

An extended walk this morning, though perhaps it was a mistake to walk along Bumpers Lane, which now has a covering of up to 50mm of Portland dust. Better watch out if it rains, as that dust will most certainly turn to a heavy clag.

Not for the first time recently, have I left home with a nice covering of cloud for it to disperse and for the sun to come out. It certainly has an effect on the butterflies, as yet again, there were only Chalk Hill Blues on the wing, with pretty much everything else taking shelter.

Apart from the Chalk Hill Blues I did record, Small Blue, Ringlet, Gatekeeper, Large White, Small White, Marbled White and Meadow Browns. But all in low numbers. A species I haven't seen for sometime now is skippers. Where have they gone!

Lots of Six-spot Burnet moths about and a single Silver Y seen.

There were good numbers of grasshoppers about, though actually seeing one is always tricky, a bit like the Wall Lizards which apart from one adult seen briefly in the grounds of St Andrew's Church, the others I encountered were heard rustling away.

Between the Mermaid Track and Rufus Castle I came across an Emperor Dragonfly which was about to settle, until a "rival" Emperor flew into his air space and that was them gone.

As usual not too many birds about, but highlights today were a Peregrine over Penn's Wood where in the neighbouring gardens there was a very vocal Great Spotted Woodpecker. The latter may well have been warning other birds of a Sparrowhawk which was making its way through the wood. Also overhead a few Swifts calling.

Here are few images from today.

One of the local Peregrine Falcons out on patrol.

Is it really that time of year again with ripe Blackberries now on show.

More Blackberries with a juvenile Blackbird sitting quietly behind his/her patch. 

A female Chalk Hill Blue.

And another I think, though it does appear to be missing a few orange spots on the top forewing. Maybe just a worn specimen.

And a male

And another male.

Hmm this is an extremely small "blue" butterfly. Certainly not a Small Blue, perhaps just a very small female Chalk Hill Blue. Odd!

A Ringlet

Gatekeeper

And another

And why not another. They are certainly the most numerous of butterflies in this area.

And also very numerous are these Six-spot Burnet Moths. Here with have a worn one on the left and what could well be a newly hatched one on the right.

Another Six-spot Burnet.

And a pair mating.

A Common Field Grasshopper (Chorthippus brunneus). And they are common, believe me.

A Wayfaring-tree, Viburnum lantana.............

......just starting to bear berries. More on this tree Here

19 Jul 18

Mermaid Track and Rufus Castle

It was fairly cloudy when I left the Cottage and then the sun burst through for another very warm afternoon.

Main highlights again was the many Chalk Hill Blues along the Mermaid Track and down to Rufus Castle. Still several Gatekeepers and Meadow Browns, but numbers of Marbled Whites and Ringlets have greatly reduced. In fact over the past 3 days I have only seen singles of Marbled Whites.

Still plenty of Large and Small Whites and I even had a fly-by Painted Lady which didn't stop.

On the moth front I had 3 Silver Y's and there were dozens of Six-spot Burnets on the wing.

Also recorded were, Common Red Soldier Beetles, a Marmalade hoverfly, Common Wasp, a Sarcophaga sp. fly and a Hairy Shieldbug (Dolycoris baccarumin) its Summer colours. More on this Shieldbug Here.

Just the one Wall Lizard seen along the wall by the archway at Rufus Castle.

Over Rufus Castle quite a few House Martins chattering away, whilst around the lookout several juvenile Wrens calling from what seemed all the bushes around me!

Here are a few images from this afternoon:

Two male Chalk Hill Blues

And another.

And this male with it's wings open.

Not too many females about. Just two seen.

A Comma.

I nearly typed Gatekeeper for this butterfly. But in fact it is a Meadow Brown. Gatekeepers have two distinct white spots in the black "eye" and if you go by what the text books tell you, Meadow Browns only have one. Occasionally you do come across Meadow Browns with a very light second white spot. But this one has the most distinctive second spot I have ever encountered.

A Silver Y. This past week or so has seen many of these migratory moths hit our shores. The one thing I have noticed though, is the variation of colours ranging from pale grey to dark brown, like this individual. Apparently the different colours are down to what the temperature was at the time of the caterpillar’s development.

One of the many Six-spot Burnet moths still flying about in the grasses.

A Marmalade Hoverfly

Sarcophaga sp. fly

Common Wasp

Common Red Soldier Beetle

The extremely hot and sunny conditions has really effected the Wall Lizards and actually finding one has been a real challenge this summer. They certainly don't like being out in the direct sun and the only ones I have found (heard) have been those scurrying under the bushes. However today I found junior, who looks like he has had a narrow escape. From snout to tail he would have been about 8cm, but having lost part of his tail, he's considerably smaller.

Wakeham

In the back garden this morning a female Common Darter. Also about were Large White and Comma butterflies. A few Goldfinches congregating in the neighbourhood.


18 Jul 18

Portland Bill

A bit of a nostalgia trip to the Bill this afternoon for my 89 year old father, who used to live with my late departed mother, in Victoria Road, The Grove for many years, before moving to Essex 7 years ago.

And what a lovely afternoon it was for him, as he sat by the Red Boat Crane watching the boats go by. As he sat and watched the world go by, my sister and I took the 2 Bichon's, Benji and Ted for a walk around the Obelisk and Pulpit Rock.

You could tell the Autumn bird migration had started as 40+ Swallows headed out to sea on their return journey to the continent and then down to Africa. I say returning, but of course in amongst the adults were many youngsters making their maiden journey across the Channel.

Also about was a large flock of 100+ Starlings, several Linnets and a few Rock Pipits.

A few butterflies about with Small Blues, Ringlets, Large Whites and a couple of Gatekeepers.

Just two moths seen both Six-spot Burnets.

Here are a few images from this afternoon.

One of the male Linnets at The Bill.

And here a female.

One of the many Starlings around the Lighthouse.

And on the Lighthouse keepers house a Rock Pipit.

In the grass a few Six-spot Burnets.

And another......

.....very worn one on Ragwort.

As well as a few butterflies and moths, there were also a few Small Garden Bumblebees (Bombus hortorum)

Ted isn't one for posing.

Unlike Benji who was just looking for a bit of shade under my bulk.

Sis posing........

......and my father reminiscing.

Happy Days.

17 Jul 18

Wakeham

After returning from our walk Dawn and I found a Blue-tailed Damselfly on the Buddleia in the courtyard.



Rufus Castle and Mermaid Track

A quick walk around the block and what a difference a few days of cooler weather makes. Especially with an "outbreak" of Chalk Hill Blues, along the Mermaid Track Here. There were dozens of males and a few females on the wing, plus good numbers of Gatekeepers.

Other butterflies noted were a few Ringlets, Meadow Browns, 2 Commas, a Speckled Wood and surprisingly just the one Marbled White. However that may well have been down to the very windy conditions.

Just 1 Six-spot Burnet moth spotted.

Here are a few images from today.

One of the two Commas seen today. This one was on the path down to Rufus Castle from Portland Museum.

Still many Gatekeepers about.

And another with its wings open taken by Dawn.

As for Chalk Hill Blues, they were everywhere.

Despite the very windy conditions...

....a few shots were possible as there were so many to choose from.

I even managed to find a female in amongst the dozens of males.

The Chalk Hills were out in force and even Dawn managed a shot or two from close range.

One of the Chalk Hills lands next to Dawn.

And a Meadow Brown taken by Dawn.

A Speckled wood, in its usual spot along the Mermaid Track.

Above Rufus Castle a Buzzard is given an escort..........

.......but not quick enough by the looks of it by this angry Herring Gull.

Looking over the ledge at Rufus Castle you can be on the same eye level as the hunting Kestrels.