Cosmeston 22nd Sep

Cosmeston yesterday. Jays were pretty active collecting acorns. Been trying to get a fight shot, but no luck thus far. This one was in trees by the dragonfly pond. Near the far entrance to Cogan Wood I saw what was clearly a small moth in flight and it settled above me in a tree. It turned out to be a Vapourer Moth [top left photo]. Just by the far end of W lake was a pristine Painted Lady.

Lavernock reserve – 21st Sep

Highlights from a circiut of the reserve on Tues 21st were a hornet mimic hoverfly Volucella zonaria, a large scary looking but harmless beast, a very tatty Painted Lady, Small Tortoiseshell and Speckled Wood, and another hoverfly, common name Bog Hoverfly [a bit of a misnomer] [Sericomyia silentis]. On the bird front, a Blackcap female was in trees near the now dried up pool.


It was very clear 2 nights ago, with a full moon so I grabbed a moon shot, and then experimented to try & get some shots of Jupiter which was showing very well. The results aren’t much to write home about but you can see some of the moons. Saturn was also visible and good views were to be had using my bird spotting ‘scope at 50x mag.


Fairly quiet on the bird front around the park at the moment although there are occasionally common migrants to be seen. Plenty of invertebrates to see tho’. Dragonflies are pretty active with many Common Darters including the pair below, and I’ve seen Migrant Hawkers on several occasions. They’re usually pretty active and difficult to get ‘on film’ but the one pictured settled a couple of times by the main boardwalk. I’ve seen a Small Copper a couple of times too, always nice to see, and the Scabious in flower in the E & W paddocks attracts hoverflies. The one depicted is Helophilus atrivittatus.

Sker Farm

On Wednesday 15th Glamorgan Bird Club committee member Strinda Davies found a Hoopoe near Sker Farm. I nipped down to Kenfig NNR this afternoon and walked out to Sker to see it – only the second I’ve seen in the UK, both in Wales as it happens. It performed pretty well in the middle of the field it had chosen, albeit a bit distant so all the photos are quite big crops. It was finding a lot of black caterpillars to feed on, and at one point a Wheatear landed nearby, causing the Hoopoe to raise its crest and spread its wings. Fabulous bird.


A yomp around the Coombe Heath section of Arne RSPB reserve today. It was quite blustery so Dartford Warblers were keeping low and we failed to see [or hear] one. In the Middlebere Lake area there were around 15 Greenshank and a roost flock of c.400 Black-tailed Godwits, with a few Redshank mixed in. In the same area was a single Great White Egret and a few Littles. There were a number of Grayling butterflies that kept settling on the tracks in front of us. Best of all was meeting one of the RSPB folk who told us about some Raft Spiders {Dolomedes fimbriatus} showing at a small pond. I’d never seen one before – what a monster! The photos are all pretty big crops and mostly taken using the electronic manual focus on my cam, due to the intervening reeds. We reckon we found about 10 in all dotted around the periphery of the pond. A Toad was on show there too. The only other birds of interest were a Spotted Flycatcher, and finally a Siskin coming to the feeders. I’ve resized the files as some were quite large for uploading.

Morden Bog NNR 12th Sep

We took a circular lak around the vast area of Morden Bog, just N of Wareham. In the past we have had Hobby Woodlark and Redstart here, but it’s a little late for a good chance of those. Most interesting find [spotted by Anne] was what I took to be some kind of solitary wasp, which I have now found, was a Red Banded Sand Wasp {Ammophila sabulosa}- a new one for me and very impressive it was too. Quite a few dragonflies about but none very obliging – the two pictured are just Common Darters. I was hoping they might be Ruddy Darters but the legs are not wholly black and have the faint yellow stripe of Common Darter. Late afternoon we ended up doing a circuit of Lodmoor RSPB reserve just E of Weymouth. Nothing too exciting present but a Black-tailed Godwit allowed some nice shots, and a Redshank. Great White Egret seen briefly in flight and also a female Marsh Harrier circling very high. There must have been at least 50 Mediterranean Gulls. Breeding Terns had all left but a lone Sandwich Tern flew in off the sea.

Portland Bill, 11th Sep

We dropped down to Portland Bill on our 50th wedding anniversary day, on a nice sunny day although quite blustery at the Bill. There were very many Wheatear around the bill area, but movement obver the sea was pretty quiet – just 4 Gannet and a very distand Guillemot seen, plus a single Fulmar passing close inshore. Linnets were adfgve along the coastal edge plus a few Rock Pipits. A Great Black-backed Gull devoured a dead fish on the coastal rocks. A nice coffee at Quiddles cafe at Chesil Cove started the day with a nice view of Chesil Beach.

Maiden Castle environs & Martinstown

We’re down in Dorset for a few days break. A walk around the fields by Maiden Castle, Dorchester failed to get me Corn Bunting [usually pretty reliable here], but there were c100 each of Linnet and Goldfinch around the stubble fields, plus 5 Wheatear, Skylark, 1 Stock Dove and a Buzzard. An afternoon loop walk from Martinstown was non-prodctive bird-wise apart from a hovering Kestrel, but a hedgerow along one farm field had 4 Magpie Moths, which are very photogenic.

Cosmeston 4th & 6th Sep

Following on form my previous post, some invertebrates. On Scabious, a new hoverfly for me, the stripey thoraxed ‘Footballer’ Helophilus pendulus, and the Common Drone Fly Eristalis tenax. On the same day by the dipping pond there were two MIgrant Hawker dragonflies, one of which I managed to grab some flight shots of. A couple of days later in the lower dovcote field by Sully Brook was the Long Hoverfly Sphaerophoria scripta, a male. Note the folder wings are shorter than the body, a good ID feature apparently.