31 Jul 18

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

Summer is back after the last 2 days of rain and cloud, and this morning walk I had a walk along one of my favourite treks. There were quite a few butterfly species seen and because people keep telling me I'm misidentifying the Blue Butterfly species, from now on I shall just refer to them as "blue" butterflies.

So what was about, well lots of "blue" butterflies, 3 Commas, 2 Red Admirals, Large Whites, Green-veined whites, Gatekeepers and Meadow Browns.

For the second day running no Six-spot Burnet moths seen. I had 1 Silver Y and several micro moths.

Also seen were a Dark Bush-cricket (Pholidoptera griseoaptera), 7-spot Ladybird (Coccinella septempunctata) and 3 Migrant Hawkers, one along the Mermaid Track and two in the grounds of St Andrew's Church

Overhead at Rufus Castle, I had a noisy Peregrine Falcon, presumably a juvenile with one of the parents. Other birds of note were both Chiffchaff and another Autumn/juvenile yellow coloured Willow Warbler.

Here are few images from this morning in the order I took them along my walk.

A Red Admiral along the Mermaid Track

One of the 3 Migrant Hawkers seen today. This one was also along the Mermaid Track..........

..........as was this Dark Bush-cricket.

A moth to ID. This one was on the coast path on the way down to Rufus Castle.

Along the path I had a Gatekeeper.......

........and another "blue" butterfly.

Down the steps from Rufus Castle the Blackthorn (Sloe) is now in fruit.

They look absolutely perfect for picking.

Another "blue" butterfly this one on Penn's Weare Here

A Peregrine Falcon way way above my head.

A Meadow Brown also on Penn's Weare along...........

......with another "blue" butterfly.

Its not often you see so many boats and yachts in a line. This was looking out from Church Ope Cove.

A Silver Y comes into land.

And after a few seconds folds its wings up.

A Comma in the grounds of St Andrew's Church......

......where there were a few Wall Lizards.....

........basking in the sun.

Also here another "blue" Butterfly and......

......and worn Gatekeeper.

In Penn's Wood a 7-spot Ladybird

30 Jul 18

Wyke Regis

As Dawn was driving home last night at around 11:35pm, a Badger crossed the road in front of her Here at Wyke Regis and headed up the drive to Chesil Vista Holiday Park.

Mermaid Track and Bumpers Lane

A late afternoon walk in the sun. The heavy rain from yesterday fizzled out in the early hours of this morning, leaving a cloudy start to the day. Still quite windy, but temperatures high enough that you didn't need a jacket.

Main highlight was the number of Chalk Hill Blues out along the Mermaid Track. There must have been a good dozen or more males with a couple of females in amongst them. A complete contrast to their usual patch along Bumpers Lane where all I could find was a pair. I say a pair they were actually a good 50 metres apart.

I know butterflies like moths can vary in size, but one female Chalk Hill Blue was almost half the size of the other females. Most odd. Turns out it was a Common Blue and as you will see from the images below most of my female Chalk Hill Blues were in fact all Common Blues.

Other butterflies seen were a couple of Red Admirals, a Large White, 2 Ringlets and a Gatekeeper.

On the moth front no Six-spot Burnet or Silver Y's found, but I did come across a Mint Moth.

Also recorded were Common Field Grasshoppers (Chorthippus brunneus), Common Green Grasshoppers (Omocestus viridulus), 2 Common Dronefly (Eristalis tenax) and a Syrphus sp. hoverfly.

Here are few images from this afternoon:

A Red Admiral along the Mermaid Track

Also along here a Ringlet in its usual sitting position..........

.........so it was nice change to see this one open its wings for me. Not a sight you normally see.

A male Chalk Hill Blue

And a worn female Chalk Hill Blue or so I thought. Turns out its a Common Blue.

Now this one has me completely bamboozled. I'm going to say a female Chalk Hill Blue..........

........but its half the size of the female above and its another Common Blue. Oh dear I think from now on I shall just label them as "Blue" butterflies.
A lone Gatekeeper.

Along Bumpers Lane, this patch of short grass last year was absolutely covered in Chalk Hill Blues.

This year one female.

And a tatty one at that.

And a good 50 metres away a male. And that was it.

A Mint moth

Common Dronefly

And a hoverfly. Closest I can get is a Syrphus sp.

29 Jul 18

Out and About

Rain stopped play today. I never thought I'd say that this Summer. After several weeks of baking hot weather, the heavens opened this morning and boy did it rain. Both water butts are full, the pond refilled and the plants well watered.

Needless to say not much to report other than a pair of House Martins still at their nest site by the Co-Op in Wyke Regis, a lone Swift over Easton and a Curlew at Ferrybridge.

Hopefully more tomorrow.

28 Jul 18

Mermaid Track and Rufus Castle

A much shorter and faster walk this afternoon, as another hefty shower threatened. As I left the cottage it was wall to wall blue sky, but a hundred metres down the road and those black clouds rolled in again. For once (I normally get caught out) the edge of the shower was just north of me, so I was saved a soaking.

With gusts up to 40 mph, I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised to only see 1 Chalk Hill Blue and 2 Six-spot Burnet moths. And apart from a 3 inch juvenile Wall Lizard that was it.

A lone Chalk Hill Blue

One of just two Six-spot Burnet Moths found.

And looks are deceptive, this is a very tiny Wall Lizard..........

....all of 3 inches I reckon.


Well the promised rain did arrive today. Once in the early hours of the morning and again mid-afternoon. Unfortunately it will probably do more harm than good, especially with the grass. Any light surface water, as most people know, will only encourage the roots to turn upwards, only to be burnt off by the baking sun. Not that it would make any difference in my back garden, the grass has been replaced by hard packed soil!

Before this afternoons squally shower came in off the sea, a Comma visited the hanging banana, which has been fermenting away now for a good week or so. I got the idea from a Twitter Feed Here and though it's taken awhile, it does work.

This Comma has found the over-ripe banana I placed in a bird feeder in the back garden.

It's taken awhile, but it does at least prove that fermenting bananas work. I'm sure other fruits would work just as well such as oranges, grapefruits, cantelope, strawberries, peaches, nectarines, kiwi, apples, pears and watermelon. With bananas, apparently freezing them and then thawing them, turns them to mush which is especially popular with butterflies. Some species even love a “brew” of rotting fruit, molasses, beer, and brown sugar.

27 Jul 18

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

A lot cooler today under a welcome cloud cover. The sun did try to come out and when it did briefly you could really feel the heat. Hopefully the rain, forecast over the next few days will give us all some welcome rest bite. With the ground so hard though, there's going to be some real run off before it soaks in. Sand Bags are ready!

Main highlights today were in the grounds of St Andrew's Church where I came across my first Hornet Mimic Hoverfly (Volucella zonaria) of the year. This is a month later than my first one here on 26 Jun 17. Also here was a very busy Hummingbird Hawkmoth on the buddleia and 2 Painted Lady's.

Going back to the start of my walk there were dozens of Chalk Hill Blues on the wing again, mainly along the Mermaid Track, where I also saw a Painted Lady briefly as it flew north.

Also in good numbers again were Meadow Browns and Gatekeepers, which only goes to show that cooler and "duller" conditions are very much appreciated by these butterflies. Also about were 5 Speckled Woods and as usual lots of Large Whites.

Apart from the Hummingbird Hawkmoth, other moths about were Six-spot Burnets and a couple of Silver Y's.

Other invertebrates recorded were 2 Rose Chafers (Cetonia aurata), Common Green Grasshoppers (Omocestus viridulus) and a reddish coloured Dark Bush-cricket (Pholidoptera griseoaptera).

A few Chiffchaffs calling around Bumpers Lane and as I was walking down the steps from Rufus Castle a Kestrel dive-bombed a Sparrowhawk which took refuge in the woods behind the huts at the back of Church Ope Cove.

Here are a few images from today:

My second Hummingbird Hawkmoth of the Summer.

A very busy moth.......

........which didn't stay long in one place.

Here it's feeding on a Buddleia

A very short video and sadly not that clear a view. Maybe next time.

A Chalk Hill Blue

And another.

I'm guessing this another Chalk Hill Blue, this one on Penn's Weare as I made my way down the steps from Rufus Castle.

Quite a few Speckled woods out today in the much cooler conditions.

One of many Gatekeepers back out today.

A Five-spot Burnet Moth or...........

.....maybe not. As it flew from the thistle to the Teasel I had a much better view of it. And yep there's definitely a sixth spot. So a Six-spot Burnet Moth.

Another Sixer and a pristine one at that.

And another. Most likely a freshly hatched one.

My first Hornet Mimic Hoverfly (Volucella zonaria) of the year. As in my comments above, a month late this year.

One of many Marmalade Hoverflies on the wing.

I'm sure this a Small Garden Bumblebee (Bombus hortorum). It just looks paler than ones I have seen before.

Common Green Grasshopper

A Rose Chafer in a Hemp Agrimony 

And another on Ragwort. Both in the grounds of St Andrew's Church

A few Wall Lizards making the most of the cooler conditions.

And another

Love seeing these close-up.

A Harlequin Ladybird.

And finally Cuckoo Pint or Lords and Ladies (Arun Maculatum) just coming into fruit. Green berries at first and then turning to red.Very poisonous so best not touched. More on this plant Here

Butterflies recorded today wereLarge White, Small WhiteGreen-veined White, 5 Speckled WoodRingletMeadow Brown, 6 Gatekeeper, 3 Painted Lady and Chalk Hill Blue

Ships Today

This is the Liberian Oil/Chemical Tanker the Elka Bene on its way from Tema, Ghana to Fawley in the Solent via Weymouth Bay. More on this vessel Here.