31 May 20

Horse Paddock, Wakeham Meadow, Easton Railway Cuttings and Wakeham Railway Cuttings

For a change I had a walk around the Horse Paddock and Meadow across the road from the Cottage. No real highlights other than there were quite a few grasshoppers and crickets. Not unexpected of course, as the habitat was mainly grass.

Here are my sightings, images and videos from today:

The Horse paddock and to the left...........

........the public footpath running alongside the fence. In this area there were a few butterflies including........

..........this Meadow Brown with its wings folded up.

And another with its wings slightly apart showing the single white dot in the black spot.

In the Horse paddock there are a few isolated blackberry bushes. In and around one particular bush there was this Green-longhorn Moth with those..........

................really long antenna's.

As I walked around the brambles, several grasshoppers and crickets made their escape from the grass I disturbed, by jumping into the brambles. One of them was this Common Green Grasshopper.

As above, but a different view.

Not a grasshopper, but a Roesel's Bush-cricket (Metrioptera roeselii). I guess this is an intermediate, judging by its smallish size. It is certainly not a nymph and was probably about 2/3 the size of an adult.

For the past week or so, all I have encountered have been male Swollen-thighed Beetles. Today I finally came across a female. Which is odd, but apparently not unique to Portland, as good friend of mine * Ed Wilson, remarked yesterday on the Friends of Priorslee Lake Blog, that he still hasn't seen a female to date.

Next to the horse paddock is this really lovely meadow, which very soon will really come alive with butterflies and moths. It's not too bad now with a few Common Blues, Meadow Browns and Burnet Companion moths. But I noticed today there were many Knapweed flowers just days away from bursting into flower. When that happens I should think there will be a few Marbled White butterflies and Six-spot Burnet Moths about.

Here is a Burnet Companion moth

Thank you to Ed Wilson for correcting me on this Carnation Tortrix. I originally had it down as a Light Brown Apple Moth.
Mint moth, Pyrausta aurata

And a Black-headed Conch, Cochylis atricapitana (Thank you to Ed again)

And another Thick-headed fly, Sicus ferrugineus. I found one 2 days ago at Church Ope Cove, so there are a few beginning to appear. One of my lovely "Ugly Flies".

Next location after the meadow was the old Easton Railway Cutting.

It is a mass of red and white Valerian, but a little bit to warm for a few butterflies.

I did come across this Small Skipper and there were 3 Common Blues, a Red Admiral and a Speckled Wood. But that was it.

And another Burnet Companion

My last leg of my walk was along the Wakeham Railway Cuttings.

Just as you reach the trees along the cutting, there was a sunlit Bramble and Privet, which was attracting Speckled Woods, Meadow Browns and this Narcissus Bulb Fly.

Here the Narcissus Bulb Fly is having a bit of a groom before flying off.

And the new look Ted enjoying his walk.

Birds Recorded: Herring Gull, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Swallow, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, 2 Common Whitethroat, 1 Blackcap, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch and Goldfinch

Butterflies Recorded: 1 Small Skipper, Large White, 6 Speckled Wood, 5 Meadow Brown, 1 Red Admiral, and 5 Common Blue

Moths Recorded: 2 Burnet Companion (Euclidia glyphica), 1 Green-longhorn Moth (Adela reaumurella), Mint moth (Pyrausta aurata), Carnation Tortrix (Cacoecimorpha pronubana) and Black-headed Conch (Cochylis atricapitana)

Bees Recorded: Honey Bees (Apis mellifera) and Common Carder (Bombus pascuorum)

Hoverflies Recorded: 1 Narcissus Bulb Fly (Merodon equestris)

Crickets and Grasshoppers Recorded: Dark Bush-cricket nymphs (Pholidoptera griseoaptera), Roesel's Bush-cricket (Metrioptera roeselii) and Common Green Grasshopper (Omocestus viridulus)

Bugs and Beetles Recorded: Swollen-thighed Beetle (Oedemera nobilis)

*Both Ed and myself are co-founders of FoPL, which has been running now for a good 15 years, in an effort to protect the habitat from redevelopment. Our campaign was really successful and the lake and the surrounding land is now recognised as a Wildlife Site

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

Today's Sightings Here.

Today' Sightings Here.

30 May 20

Old Quarry Lane, Perryfields Quarry Butterfly Reserve, Penns Wood, St Andrew's Church Grounds, Church Ope Cove, Penn's Weare, Penn's Copse, Rufus Castle and Portland Museum

Well 3 years ago today I arrived on the island and from my initial 6 birds and 1 moth species recorded on that day to get my Portland and Weymouth species list going, I have now recorded 206 bird species and 174 moth species. There will be, and it will happen I'm sure, where the number of moth species will overtake my birds. But not today.

There were a few micros about, but none that I could ID. So this mornings highlight was the male Lesser Whitethroat, now singing just below the Pennsylvania Castle grounds Here. He is certainly getting around a bit, but I'm pretty sure now that he's a non breeder. I have no idea why that should be, especially as he did a have a female chasing him around the cove a few weeks back. Odd!!

It was great to see both Blue-tailed Damselflies and Azure Damselflies together in the church grounds. It wasn't until I got home and started to edit the images that I realised the Blue-tailed Damselfly was devouring what looked like a Honey Bee. Surely not!!

Here are my sightings, a few images and videos from this morning:

My walk started off along the Old Quarry Lane and then through the butterfly Reserve at Perryfields. En-route to Penns Wood I came across 2 Common Whitethroats and 2 Blackcaps singing. As I headed down into Penns Wood there was a small family of Blue Tits frantically calling and chasing the parents through the Brambles.

It was good to see both this male Azure Damselfly and a...........

...........Blue-tailed Damselfly together in the church grounds. Though the female Azure was nowhere to be found.

This is what happens when you are on aperture setting and using a slow shutter speed to photograph a fast flying Damselfly.

As I mentioned earlier I wasn't aware the Blue-tailed Damselfly was munching something.

Is it a Honey Bee he's devouring.

I'm not sure. Answers on a postcard if you have an inkling.

A very busy Pied Hoverfly which...........

.........eventually landed.

Having left the church grounds I headed down to the beach. At the back of the cove and just below the tree line top left the male Lesser Whitethroat was singing away. Whilst to the right and close to the steps was...........

.......this very vocal Wren ...................

............as you can tell.

From the beach it was up onto Penn's Weare with the impressive Rufus Castle as a backdrop. An unusual castle in that it has 5 sides.

On the Weare I came across this juvenile grasshopper, Meadow, Common Field I know not!

I was trying to convince myself that this was a Lulworth Skipper, but.........

.....if I have this correct, it is actually a Small Skipper............

.......which, unlike this Lulworth (above) which I photographed last year, doesn't have the gold crescent on the upper wing, which is indicative of Lulworth's. I hope I've got that right.

Note: Well guess what I have got that totally wrong, its not indicative at all and in fact my Small Skipper is a Lulworth without the crescent. Thank you to my friend Andy who put me right and also sent me this link HERE, which shows Lulworths without the crescent. Well you live and learn.

Just the one Wall Lizard seen today, though there were many more I could hear scurrying away in the undergrowth. This one turned out to be quite confiding.

And a day after the Groom Room Ted is looking quite smart again. Though for how long, remains to be seen

Birds Recorded: Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Wood Pigeon, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, 2 Common Whitethroat, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Blackcap, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Chaffinch and Goldfinch

Reptiles Recorded: Wall Lizard

Dragonflies and Damselflies Recorded: Azure Damselfly and a Blue-tailed Damselfly

Butterflies Recorded: Lulworth Skipper, Large White, Speckled Wood and Common Blue

Bees Recorded: Honey Bees (Apis mellifera), Buff-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) and Common Carder (Bombus pascuorum)

Hoverflies Recorded: Marmalade Hoverfly (Episyrphus balteatus), Epistrophe eligans Narcissus Bulb Fly (Merodon equestris), Pied Hoverfly (Scaeva pyrastri) and Syrphus sp.

Crickets and Grasshoppers Recorded: Either a Meadow Grasshopper (Chorthippus parallelus) or Common Field Grasshopper (Chorthippus brunneus)

Bugs and Beetles Recorded
: Several False Blister Beetles (Ischnomera cyanea) and Swollen-thighed Beetle (Oedemera nobilis)

Ships Today

This is the American Container Ship "Maersk Iowa" on its way from Norfolk (Virginia, USA) to Antwerp (Belgium). More on this vessel Here.

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

Today's Sightings Here.

Today' Sightings Here.

29 May 20

Penns Wood, St Andrew's Church Grounds, Church Ope Cove, Penn's Weare, Penn's Copse, Rufus Castle and Portland Museum

Another quick walk this morning, as Ted and Benji were due at the Groomers for 11:00am. Main highlight was the male Lesser Whitethroat still sing at the cove.

Also a few new insects this morning with a pair of Azure Damselflies and a Broad-bodied Chaser flying about in the church grounds and then on Penn's Weare my favourite "ugly" fly a Conopid Sicus ferrugineus

Here are my sightings, images and videos from this morning:

At the bottom of Penns Wood is the Ope (opening) to the grounds of St Andrews Church, which yet again was a bit of a magnet for a whole host of invertebrates.

What would have been a pristine Common Blue, but sadly with chunks out of its wings. Was this the handy work of a female Broad-bodied Chaser, I saw whizzing about the church grounds. Possibly!!

At the other end of scale when it comes to Dragonflies and Chasers are Damselflies. And this morning there was this Azure Damselfly and..............

.............the female close by in the church grounds.

If I've got this right, this an Ichneumon sarcitorius

A bit easier to ID. This is a Narcissus Bulb Fly. This Hoverfly is variable in its colours allowing it to resemble several species of bumblebee. The reason it mimics bees is a form of protection from predators.

This is another hoverfly, which looks more fly like than a hoverfly. Unfortunately there are a few similar looking species, so this will remain as a Cheilosia sp

I know this one. This is yet another hoverfly and I think I have seen this almost daily now for several weeks. It doesn't have a Commom Name but goes by the scientific name of Epistrophe eligans.

If you like seeing insects with a variation in colour, well this Swollen-thighed Beetle is a great candidate, with a colour range of green to gold.

I didn't go on to the beach today as I was running out of time. However as I did a quick........

.........video of the waves coming up the beach, the male Lesser Whitethroat sang a few bars as he competed against the sound of the wind and waves.

Another songster was this Robin.......

..........he also was singing in the wind. Though most of the movement in the video is me not being able to hold the camera still in the breeze.

And probably one of the most unusual flies you will see on the planet. This a Conopidae or Thick-headed fly, of which there are quite a few species. This one is Sicus ferrugineus and one I have at various locations around the cove.

This is a very large beetle known as a Rose Chafer and whether by design or clumsiness, if you ever try to touch it, it immediately drops off the flower, leaf, stalk, whatever it is on to and into the undergrowth. I have attempted to move the flower on two separate occasions and both times it just fell to the ground. Coincidence, lets see what happens if I get another opportunity.

And last but not least Ted!! Who at this moment in time is oblivious to the fact that he about to become Shaun the Sheep at the Groomers.

Birds Recorded: Kestrel, Herring Gull, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Linnet and Goldfinch

Dragonflies and Damselflies Recorded: A female Broad-bodied Chaser and a pair of Azure Damselflies

Butterflies Recorded: Large White and Speckled Wood and Common Blue

Moths Recorded: 1 Silver Y (Autographa gamma)

Bees Recorded: Honey Bees (Apis mellifera)

Wasps Recorded: Potter Wasp (Ancistrocerus trifasciatus)

Ichneumon Wasps Recorded: Ichneumon sarcitorius

Hoverflies Recorded: Marmalade Hoverfly (Episyrphus balteatus), Cheilosia sp., Narcissus Bulb Fly (Merodon equestris) and Epistrophe eligans

Flies, Craneflies, Gnats and Midges Recorded: Muscid Fly sp. and a Thick-headed fly (Sicus ferrugineus)

Crickets and Grasshoppers Recorded: Dark Bush-cricket nymph (Pholidoptera griseoaptera)

Bugs and Beetles Recorded: Swollen-thighed Beetle (Oedemera nobilis) and Rose Chafer (Cetonia aurata)

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

Today's Sightings Here.