30 Jun 17

Apart from the Small Skipper seen this afternoon there was a Large White resting on the wall of the Cottage this evening.

A Large White on the Cottage wall this evening.

Church Ope Cove
An afternoon walk with the dogs along the cliffs to the back of the cottage and then down to Church Ope Cove and back home. It was a bit sticky underfoot, where the good old Portland stone dust had absorbed all the rain from the past few days. Talk about difficult to lift your feet, as a couple of pounds of "clag" were attached to your soles.

It was an interesting walk, as they always are and en route I managed not to stand on a Common Lizard that shot under my feet on the steps leading down to the cove.

Still lots of Marbled Whites about, there seem to be more of them around than Meadow Browns. There were a few Ringlets especially in the grounds of St Andrew's Church, where I also came across a Dark Bush-cricket, which I managed to photograph this time.

On a few grass stems were one or two Garden Grass-veneer moths and on the thistles lots of Common Soldier Beetles and a Fly which I believe is Eriothrix rufomaculata.

Oh and I nearly forgot as I was leaving the cottage a Small Skipper passed through the garden.

A Common Lizard nearly had a close call as my size 10 boots narrowly missed him as I walked down the steps to Church Ope Cove.
One of many Marbled Whites out today.

A Ringlet in the grounds of St Andrew's Church above Church Ope Cove.

I'm sure this is a Garden Grass-veneer.

Two Common Soldier beetles on a what I think is Wild Carrot, Daucus carota........

......these beetles were also on the thistles as was this fly from the Tachinidae family, which could possibly be Eriothrix rufomaculata
A Dark Bush-cricket.

According to the local news this evening the Coastguard Helicopter Service is withdrawing its services from Portland and tomorrow there is ceremony at Portland Castle to commemorate its service given to Weymouth and Portland over the years. The photo here was it flying over Church Ope Cove on probably its last flight over here.

Radipole RSPB Nature Reserve
Well the idea was to drop Dawn off at the railway station, for a her weekend in Bristol, and then for me to have a walk around Radipole Nature Reserve.

I parked up, paid £2 for 2 hours, put my wellies on and for the next 90 minutes just stood on the bridge by the Visitors Centre. The bird watching was so good from this spot that I couldn't pull myself away and walk around the rest of the reserve.

Main highlight was a Peregrine Falcoln. There were some feral pigeons by the bridge and without warning they took off. Suspecting a bird of prey overhead I looked up and sure enough there was a Peregrine in a steep dive. Fortunately for the Radipole pigeons the Peregrine had his eye on other prey a good 300 metres away. After 30 seconds or so it took off with a pigeon in its talons. However what happened next was a bit bizarre, instead of flying off to eat its prey, it circled overhead for a good 5 - 8 minutes, and appeared uncertain as to where to go. You could see that it was tiring and after being harassed by gulls, House Martins, Swallows and Swifts it eventually made a direct flight towards the direction of Nothe Fort. An amazing sight which was not only seen by myself but a few other lucky observers.

One of the reasons I wanted to visit Radipole was to see if I could locate a Bearded Reedling. I was told there were a few in the reed beds but were difficult to locate, let alone seen. However as soon as I stepped onto the bridge, there was the distinct jiggling sound of a couple of birds. In fact in total I had 2 adults and 4 juveniles all flitting about in the reed beds in front of me. What a great sight and just a few feet from the visitors centre.

Water birds seen here were 1 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Little Grebe, 2 Cormorant, 1 Little Egret, Mute Swan, Canada Geese, Mallard, Gadwall, Tufted Duck and Coot. There was no sign of the drake Hooded Merganser which I believe I first saw here in 2008. It was seen here last week, but has probably gone into hiding whilst it moults.

Other birds seen from the bridge were: Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, 2 Great Black-backed Gull, Common Tern, 2 Stock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Swift, House Martin, Swallow, Dunnock, Blackbird, Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Cetti's Warbler, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch and Reed Bunting.

Also about 5 Red Admirals.

Here are a few images from the Reserve.

The RSPB Visitors Centre at Radipole

The reed beds here were busy with Sedge, Reed and Cetti's Warblers. and also up to 6 Bearded Reedlings.

One of the juvenile Bearded Reedlings.

And another.

Waiting for some food.

A Little Egret

Sedge Warbler

A Black-headed Gull in summer plumage, with its chocolate brown head.

This Peregrine Falcon gave us great views......

....as it circled overhead with its pigeon held firmly in its talons.

29 Jun 17

Local Area
Very much like yesterday with more rain. Only highlights were:

A Little Egret on the retreating tide and another handful of Mediterranean Gulls at The Fleet. Also there 2 Skylarks, a Meadow Pipit and 6 Starlings.

A Kestrel again at the top of New Road above Fortuneswell. Unlike yesterday it mistimed its dive and the rodent it was after escaped.

In the car park opposite Pets at Home at Radipole, a Great Black-backed Gull was thinking about tackling the litter bin, until I walked past. The Herring Gull that was next to it would have made a great size comparison before it flew off.

A Great Black-backed Gull

28 Jun 17

Local Area
Here there everywhere today. Highlights being 30+ Mediterranean Gulls and a Little Egret on the Fleet, a Common Buzzard being mobbed by gulls at Wakeham and a Kestrel carrying a vole by Portland Heights Hotel.

Sadly not seen by me, but heard this morning and seen for the past week or so, there has been a Common Rosefinch (also known as a Scarlet Rosefinch) seen in a garden in Southwell.

Here is a link to the PBO Blog where there are a few photos of this finch, which would have originated from Asia. It was first noted on 20 Jun singing and then visiting feeders.

More on this bird Here.

27 Jun 17

I just managed a walk before the rain set in and opted for a quick walk behind the cottage.

En route a Stock Dove flew over and in the opposite direction 2 Meadow Pipits headed north. In the bushes there was a Blackcap singing and also 2 separate Chiffchaffs. Quite a few finches about with GoldfinchChaffinch, a lone Greenfinch and a few pairs of Linnets.

Not too many butterflies about as a light drizzle began to fall, with the main one being Marbled Whites. On a parsley flower head I came across a Grass Veneer moth, 2 Common Soldier beetles, a lacewing sp. and an ant sp.. Amazing to see so many species on just one plant.

A Silver Y moth was flying frantically around a Buddleia and when it stopped was frantically vibrating its wings.

Birds recorded: Herring GullLesser Black-backed Gull, 1 Stock DoveWood PigeonCollared Dove, 2 Meadow PipitDunnockRobinBlackbird, 1 Blackcap, 2 ChiffchaffBlue TitWrenMagpieCarrion CrowHouse SparrowChaffinchLinnetGoldfinch and Greenfinch.

Butterflies seen: 6 Marbled Whites, 4 Ringlets, 3 Meadow Browns and 1 Large White.

Moths seen: Garden Grass-veneer and a Silver Y

Also: - Ichneumon Wasp sp.Common Soldier Beetles and a lacewing sp.

My walk today.

The Lighthouse in the distance

A reed bed...........

......and another. Not sure how wet it is but somewhere to check out in the Spring for amphibians.

A Greater Plantain (Plantago major), They can grow to 70cm, this one isn't far off!!

A male Linnet

And again

This is the female......

.......with a streaky back and chest.

Two Common Soldier Beetles

On the same plant this Ichneumon Wasp.....

.........a Garden Grass-veneer moth and Ant.......

.........plus this Lacewing.

A Ringlet butterfly

In amongst the buddleia a Silver Y moth.

Not sure whats happening here.........

.....this is the concrete base behind the cottage........

.....which is to be built on. But what is with all the soil. Surely the concrete base is going to be broken up before they start building 70+ houses on it. Or is the soil going to be used to cover the concrete before the building commences!!

26 Jun 17

South West Coast Path
A late morning walk along the coast path via the remains of the 13th Century Church above Church Ope Cove and then back home via Rufus Castle.

Lots of butterflies en route with Small Skipper, Marbled Whites, Ringlets, Meadow Browns, Peacock, Red Admiral and a Comma.

In the grounds of St Andrews Church there was also a Hornet Mimic Hoverfly, Volucella zonaria feeding on a Buddleia. Along the coast path lots of grasshoppers and a Dark Bush-cricket (Pholidoptera griseoaptera) which legged it before I could photograph it.

Bird highlights were a family of Spotted Flycatchers on the way down to St Andrews Church, both Chiffchaff and Common Whitethroat on the coast path, and a Common Buzzard overhead.

Birds recorded were: Buzzard, Herring Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Common Whitethroat, Chiffchaff, Spotted Flycatcher, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Linnet and Goldfinch.

My walk this morning.

The remains of St Andrews Church which.............

.................dates back to Saxon times. More Here on this church which is Portland's oldest part-surviving building.

The church ground is a sun trap and there were lots of butterflies attracted to the flowers here.There were at least 8 Ringlets, 5 Meadow Browns, a Peacock, Red Admiral and a Comma.

A rather tatty Red Admiral on a buddleia

Here we have a Meadow Brown.........

......and another.

A Ringlet

A Comma

And this is a Hornet Mimic Hoverfly, Volucella zonaria

Rufus Castle as seen from the coast path

A male Linnet............

.......this is the closest I have managed to get to one.

And a Common Buzzard