31 Mar 19

Lower Paddocks, Upper Paddocks, Broadcroft Butterfly Reserve and Bumpers Lane.

A change of scenery today and as the gates at Broadcroft Quarry Lane are closed on Sunday's, it is a peaceful and dust free walk in this area. There was a noticeable change in the weather today, with a cold wind from the east, but at least the sun is still shining.

Not much in the way of birds with the main highlights being 15 Meadow Pipits in the Lower Paddock and 4 Greenfinches along Broadcroft Quarry Lane.

For me the main highlight was a Small Tortoiseshell along the lane, and my first photo of one. Its only taken me 22 months to photograph one here on Portland. And I still haven't as what I thought was a Small Tortoiseshell, is in fact a Large Tortoiseshell.

Here are a few images from today:

The Lower Paddock behind Wakeham, awash with Daisies.

In the paddock I came across 15 Meadow Pipits. In this photo there are 5. Honest!!

I nearly missed this juvenile Herring Gull in the Daisies. Certainly well camouflaged. 

In the brambles more Brown-tail Moth caterpillars in their cocoon

The brambles in the Lower Paddock is also home to several House Sparrows.

Very confiding birds........

.............and totally unphased by me walking by.

At the top of the field there was a dispute between 3 Blackbirds. The male on the right has left the female on the left and is in hot pursuit of another male.

A very small bee. One to ID

In the Lower Paddock it was Daisies whilst in the scrubland to the north its Lesser Celandine's (Ficaria verna) covering the ground.............

.........a very pretty plant and quite abundant this year.

Common Dog-violet, Viola riviniana

Always good to see Greenfinches and today there were 4 in the lane.

This female Greenfinch has nesting material, so the signs are good.

Sallow in flower and its attracting.......

.......Buff-tailed Bumblebees and........

........also Small Tortoiseshells. I cant believe this is the first one I have photographed on Portland since I arrived here in May 2017. However all is not what it seems. This isn't a Small Tortoiseshell but in fact a Large Tortoiseshell.

Birds Recorded: 1 Buzzard, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Wood Pigeon, 15 Meadow Pipit, 2 Pied Wagtail, Dunnock, 5 Blackbird, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Linnet and 4 Greenfinch.

Reptiles Recorded: 2 Wall Lizards

Butterflies Recorded: 6 Peacock and 1 Large Tortoiseshell.

Also Recorded: Buff-tailed Bumblebees and hoverflies sp. and Brown-tail caterpillars

Note: I'm not sure which Sallow we have on Portland there are two which are quite common The Grey Willow Here and Goat Willow Here. The one thing they do have in common though is that when they are both in flower they are called Pussy Willow. Not that the joint name really helps! More on Sallows Here.


In the kitchen this morning an Early Thorn, Selenia dentaria

On this day..........
Today's Sightings Here.

30 Mar 19

Top Fields, Southwell Barns and Culverwell

On twitter this morning there was a tweet about 2 Ring Ouzels in the Top Fields. So it was off to see if I could locate them, albeit 3 hours later. Unfortunately after a couple of hours of searching I didn't find them.

However it wasn't all lost, as a fly-by Yellow Wagtail was a first for year for me as it flew south!! over the Southwell Barns. Also at this location there were a dozen Chiffchaffs feeding upon the flies on the manure heap by the barns, whilst overhead there were dozens of Sand Martins and Swallows streaming north.

In the Top Fields I came across a male Blackcap and several Blackbirds, whilst just above the Crown Estate Fields a Wheatear was in one of the Horse paddocks.

Here are a few images from this afternoon:

The manure heap at the Southwell Barns is still proving to be a magnet for the Chiffchaffs.

There must have been a good dozen birds flitting about the hedgerow here and ...........

.........on the spoilt Hay and Horse Manure.

Just needed a faster shutter speed to capture one of the Chiffchaffs taking off.

So many Meadow Pipits today.

This morning there were many birds arriving off the sea and this afternoon was no exception. This one plonked itself right next to me in the fields close to Culverwell.

Apart from the large flocks of starling we see here in the Winter, its always nice to catch up with a few lingerers. This one appears to be still in Winter plumage with that dull coloured beak.

Two Stock Doves feeding in a recently ploughed field by Culverwell.

On the way back to the Obs, one of the local Kestrels takes a break from hunting.

In the far distance the Lighthouse and to its right the Obs Lighthouse.

Lots of Peacock butterflies on the island and.........

..........great to see so many 7-spot Ladybirds defending their corner against the invasive Harlequins.

A Wood Pigeon.

Birds Recorded: 2 Kestrel, Pheasant, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Stock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Skylark, Sand Martin, Swallow, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, 1 Yellow Wagtail, Dunnock, Robin, 1 Wheatear, Blackbird, 1 Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Linnet and Goldfinch.

Also recorded: One 7-spot ladybird, several Peacock butterflies.

Church Ope Cove and Penns Wood

It was even warmer today, with the main highlight this morning being lots of Meadow Pipits coming in off the sea at the cove and flying north-west.

The 'resident' Chiffchaff is still at the back of the cove and much the same as the past few days, lots of Wall Lizards and hoverflies about, including a new hoverfly for me, a Dasysyrphus albostriatus. I also came across an unusual fly called a Celery Fly, Euleia heraclei
Here are a few images from this morning:

So hazy today and the visibility out to sea almost zero.

One of many Wall Lizards out sunbathing today.

Penns Wood.

Quite a few hoverflies out again today. This one is I believe a Dasysyrphus albostriatus and a new one for me on Portland.

A Syrphus sp. hoverfly

Honey Bee

This unusual fly is a Celery Fly, Euleia heraclei

A Harlequin Ladybird


This Carrion Crow has a beak full of Horse hair which it collected from outside my neighbours house. Good nesting material no doubt.

Birds Recorded: Herring Gull, Wood Pigeon, 20+ Meadow Pipit, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, 1 Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch and Goldfinch.

Reptiles recorded: Wall Lizards

Butterflies Recorded: 7 Peacock, 2 Green-veined White.

Also recorded: Buff-tailed Bumblebees, Tree Bumblebee, Dasysyrphus albostriatus hoverfly, Syrphus sp. hoverflies, 2 7-spot Ladybirds, a Harlequin Ladybird and a Celery Fly.

On this day..........
Today's Sightings Here.

29 Mar 19

Mermaid Track, Church Ope Cove, St Andrew's Church, Penns Wood and Wakeham Wood

Seemed even warmer today and to be honest nothing much has changed bird-wise or other-wise. Just the one singing Chiffchaff at the back of the cove again and a few butterflies about with 8 Peacock and 1 Green-veined White. At least there was something on the beach today as a Rock Pipit came in off the sea and landed almost next to me.

Elsewhere there were dozens of hoverflies on the Alexanders in the grounds of the church, where there a least 8 Wall Lizards basking in the very warm Spring sun. Also here were two 7-spot Ladybirds, which was a good sign that at least one of our native ladybirds hasn't succumbed to the Harlequin invasion. In fact I didn't find a single Harlequin today.

On the steps up from the cove I came across a Dark-edged Bee-fly.

On the way back a Grey Wagtail and a Raven flew over Wakeham.

Here are a few images from today: 

Just the 1 Rock Pipit on the beach.

Lots of Wall Lizards showing themselves today.

Most were in the grounds of the church.

And all different ages.

And colours.

There are quite a few bee-flies about. This species is the Dark-edged Bee-fly, Bombylius major

7-spot Ladybird, Coccinella septempunctata

In the centre an Eristalis arbustorum. Top left a Syrphus sp hoverfly is about to land..........

..........on the same leaf.

Penns Wood with hundreds of Comfrey plants cover the ground.

Birds Recorded: 1 Buzzard, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Wood Pigeon, 1 Rock Pipit, 1 Grey Wagtail, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, 1 Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, 1 Raven, House Sparrow, Chaffinch and Goldfinch.

Reptiles Recorded: Wall Lizards

Butterflies Recorded: 8 Peacocks and 1 Green-veined White

Also recorded: 2 7-spot Ladybirds (Coccinella septempunctata), 2 Eristalis arbustorum hoverflies, 30+ Syrphus hoverflies sp., Brown-tail Moth caterpillars and Dark-edged Bee-fly (Bombylius major)

Ships Today

This is the Trawler 'Nicola-L' fishing just off Portland. No info on this vessel but a close-up photo of her in Weymouth Harbour Here.

On this day..........
Today's Sightings Here.