7 Aug 18

Mermaid Track, Rufus Castle, St Andrews Church and Pennsylvania Castle Wood.

A lovely walk today which ended up at Penn's Wood and briefly seeing a "brown" Pied Flycatcher before it flew into private gardens. At this time of year adult females, juveniles of both sexes can all look very similar.

In fact many years ago I was privileged to be at The Hurst, the home of the late Playwright John Osborne, accompanying Julian Langford a BTO ringer from the Shropshire Ornithological Society.

Julian and I were given access to the Hurst and the woods close-by, owned by the Sainsbury's family, to ring Pied Flycatchers. What was noticeable from the onset, was the variation in colours with brown males, dark females and the normal colouration's. The hills north of Clun are alive with Pied Flycatchers and it was certainly an eyeopener to see so many different colouration's between adult birds.

Also about several Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers making their way south along the hedgerows and trees between the Mermaid Track and Church Ope Cove. Overhead at Rufus Castle were 3 very vocal Ravens, which having sorted out their "issues" all headed south towards Southwell.

There was definitely an increase in the number of Wall Lizards with at least 10 seen. The past few weeks has seen just the odd glimpse, but with the temperature dropping a few degrees, they seem a lot happier to come out and bask.

A few "blue" butterflies about and lots of Small Whites. Just 2 Meadow Browns and 3 Speckled Woods seen and that was it.

Also seen was a possible Short-winged Cone-head (Conocephalus dorsalis), funnily enough in the same area where the pink Meadow Cricket was seen, but today. Well i had a 50/50 chance of getting it right and yep I was wrong its been confirmed as a Long-winged Cone-head (Conocephalus fuscus).

Here are a few images from today in order of the walk.

This caterpillar of the Lime Hawk-moth was making its way down Wakeham.

A pair of "blue" Butterflies.

Not sure whether this is a Short-winged Cone-head (Conocephalus dorsalis) or a Long-winged Cone-head (Conocephalus fuscus). apparently its down to the wing size. I think this probably a male Short-winged Conehead, but I will check. Whatever one it is, it's my first on Portland. Apparently its a Long-winged Cone-head.

Another "blue" butterfly

One of the 3 Ravens over Rufus Castle.

Great to see the Wall Lizards out in fairly good numbers. This one on the steps leading down to Church Ope Cove from Rufus Castle.

A nice close-up of one.

A Speckled Wood

Its either a Meadow or Field Grasshopper. There are lots of both species along the pathways.

Another "blue" Butterfly, this one on a Hemp Agrimony in the grounds of St Andrew's Church where..........

......there were several Wall Lizards.

And another.

And one more.

A Common Dronefly - Eristalis tenax

Common Carder Bee - Bombus pascuorum

Small Garden Bumblebee - Bombus hortorum