Friday, 18 April 2014

Broken Wings - John Mayall

One of Mayall's finest compositions (from the Blues Alone album) 
which, it is said, was the favourite track of 
Kurt Cobain frontman with Nirvana.
Out there the Easter mayhem has begun on the roads so good reason to hang around the local patch and also catch up on the publication of a few images that should have appeared before now. Most of these are additions to the GB Year List which is now rapidly heading for the 200 mark, but first the amazing sight from above on Wednesday night at 21:50 precisely when the
INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION
cut across the clear and star filled sky.
First appearing in the West in very quick time
almost directly above Harbins before fading into the East.
It was Thursday 9th when the first 'chattering'
SEDGE WARBLER*
was discovered in a hedgerow at Longham Lakes and later, as
I enjoyed a smoked salmon bagel on the seat in the south west
corner of the lake the first 
CUCKOO*
was heard.
Since then another has been heard here at the farm followed by
another seen flying across Hartland Moor.
GRASSHOPPER WARBLER*
was next to make up a 'hat-trick' on the day betraying its presence
by that unmistakable 'reeling' song.
On Monday 14th a visit was paid to the northern shores of
Poole Harbour where
the first WHIMBREL was heard flying overhead
WHIMBREL
That was followed by a single
REED WARBLER
at Longham which since then have increased in numbers to at least half a dozen.
2 days later 'calls' from the hedgerow again allowed me to see
c4 BRAMBLING
a first for me in this area, but they were soon gone!
Yesterday, news of c2 Avocets was the tipping point for a drive to
Lodmoor, Weymouth. Unfortunately the Waders had gone but
consolations were at hand by way of
LESSER WHITETHROAT*
there followed by c2
LITTLE TERN*
at Ferry Bridge.
As ever there was time for a coffee and ham sandwich with Secret and his son Robert before making an early return hoping to miss the traffic. Fat chance, everybody and his missus were on the road and the nightmare traffic lights at Canford Bottom played their part in making matters worse. I'll content myself with the northern reaches of the farm tomorrow and likely the next few days.
As for today, well after releasing from just one trap (The Electric Dustbin)
WHITE ERMINE
 new for the property and
PEBBLE PROMINENT
 new for the Year,
 it was off to Longham Lakes which was found beneath a clear blue sky bathed in bright sunshine but a keen breeze blowing, from the east, leaving a sharp edge on things. However, you know what they say "it's a ch'ill wind that blows nobody any good" and I was soon to become beneficiary to that. Stepping from the car, a familiar 'sream', not heard for 6 months or more, brought to my attention c3
COMMON SWIFT*
flying directly overhead but lingering no time at all.
Taking a first cursory scan across the water, a couple of hundred
Sand Martin along with the odd Swallow were feeding by they too
quickly disappeared leaving me to find my first
COWSLIP
of the year.
Circling both lakes to the accompaniment of Blackcap, Song Thrush, Willow Warbler, Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Cetti's Warbler, Reed Bunting, Mediterranean Gull, Nuthatch and much else, I was lucky to relocate what were surely yesterday's pair of
GARGANEY
First the male appeared, flanked by Mallard and Tufted Duck, from
behind the small island at the south east corner of the site
followed by the far less striking female.
They seemed happy to cavort for a while before she seemingly 
got  bored, found a perch and started preening operations.
 Always a little nervous, later they took to the wing and relocated
at the other side of the lake.
 Luckily the very few people there all got to see them!
 On the way back to Harbins there was another stop where after a
few days absence I also relocated the injured (broken left wing)
BLACL-TAILED GODWIT
still going about its business finding plenty of food.
In this condition it would be no surprise if it were there all Summer and beyond.
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Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Magic 'CARPET' Ride - Steppenwolf

SPECIAL EDITION
There was no intention of producing a Post today, but with this 'wildlife' malarkey the unexpected can turn up and be deserving of a wider audience. Monday night going into Tuesday morning was the start of this mini cold snap we are still experiencing here in the south, with a stiffish breeze, a light covering of frost and a wisp of mist hugging the banks of the 
RIVER STOUR
Add to these a clear bright sky and a Full Moon, this points to a recipe for disaster at the Moth Traps. Yesterday morning the usual visits were made with overnight totals looking like this:-
COMMON QUAKER    6
HEBREW CHARACTER    13
CLOUDED DRAB    2
SHUTTLE-SHAPED DART    2
FROSTED GREEN    1
DOTTED BORDER    1
NUT-TREE TUSSOCK    1
FLAME SHOULDER    3
LUNAR MARBLED BROWN    1
DOUBLE-STRIPED PUG    1
MUSLIN MOTH    2
HERALD    1
not a bad haul under the circumstances, but from that list there is one omission. From the trap sited next to the redundant Chicken Shack (Stan Webb) came the first Shuttle-shaped Dart for the year, while from the one placed alongside Janet's stable came most of the remainder. There had been a suggestion, when Dave was here last week, to try a rotation of this trap moving it a few yards to the south where it would illuminate the full hedgerow and show a 360° arc. Abject laziness was the reason for the trap remaining in its usual place but when fate lends a hand sloth can pay-off! On the second egg tray down there was an Insect readily recognised as a species of Carpet and having been doing my regular bit of homework on the subject my immediate ID was Water Carpet, a Moth on the wing at this time of year. Checking both the Field Guide and the 'excellent' Hampshire website FLYING TONIGHT it was quickly apparent I had cocked up, although to be fair to myself it was close. Next, Dark-Barred Twin-Spot Carpet was tried, something we have caught here in the past, and although it wasn't showing the tell-tail 'twin spots' it looked a likely candidate. There were a couple of other potentials in the frame, neither supposed to be flying during this month, so being completely baffled it was decided to pass the images on to those far more educated in the subject than myself. I do believe Dorset's Senior Entomologist was involve in the process, but just as I was about to fall into the arms of Morpheus, the mobile phone wrenched me from my dreams.
A precis of the message:- "You have just caught only the second ever documented
 BALSAM CARPET 
for Dorset, but there's more!!!! The previous documented record was at Troublefield, Hurn in 2007 (which is only a 'stones throw' to the east from here). The assumption is that this 2007 record was a wanderer from the few colonies in Hampshire but I don't believe in coincidences (tell Hugh that one!). I think that you may have just proved the existence of an hitherto undiscovered and isolated Dorset colony.
Skinner states:- Resident. Flies from late afternoon until shortly after dusk. Double-brooded, flying in May and June then again from mid-July to early September. The species inhabits lightly wooded water meadows bordering rivers and canals ( a perfect description of where it was caught). Further to that I have learnt that it survives and breeds on 2 food plants both alien to this country.
 ORANGE BALSAM
Impatiens capensis
 native to North America
and
SMALL BALSAM
Impatiens parviflora
native to some parts of Eurasia.
I am now engaged in a 'fine tooth comb' search for both!
For further reading and distribution map please 'click' on
Dorset Moth Group Link
Then follow to Species Account
Select Species and Region via drop files
Balsam Carpet is 1721.
To the pleasure of some (hi Micheal) there endeth this epistle, and I'm sure for the insomniacs the promise of a Good Nights Sleep!
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Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Elusive Butterfly - Bob Lind

First things first, to get the bad news out of the way. The putative Lead-coloured Drab after further examination turned out to be the far more common and widespread
 CLOUDED DRAB
we catch good numbers of these.
Quickly followed by much better news as Dave was
able to coax a little show of colour from the
LIGHT ORANGE UNDERWING
With a chill in the air all night long it was predictable that there would be little in the Moth Traps and that is the way it was. As a result of this it was an early start at the northern end of the property where I confined myself for most of the day. Mostly turned over to (silage) grassland, before the next phase of Solar Panels arrive, there is also a fair amount of woodland split into a number fairly small copses. All of these have a quantity of Oak, Beech, Scots Pine, Alder and
SILVER BIRCH
making for a diversity of other flora and fauna.
On one of the Oak Trees what appears to be
HERICIUM ERINACEUS
which has a variety of alternative common names such as
Lion's Mane or Hedgehog Mushroom and is said to be edible?
You try it first please!
Still under scrutiny what I am calling
HOP
but my Senior Adviser is seeking more evidence before going firm. It is hoped to be of that ilk as the food plant of Buttoned Snout which has already been recorded on the property, as found by Janet.
Next up was this most interesting
(OWL) PELLET
Some small Mammal met its Waterloo with whatever regurgitated it.
Lots of small bones included this Jaw, Front (gnawing) Teeth etc.
c2 CANADA GEESE
which have been frequenting the farm lately were 'up north' today.
One of 3
GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER
which are undoubtedly nesting close by so time to beat a retreat!
COAL TIT
and
ROBIN
are very vocal, in pursuit of a partner.
Small herd of ROE DEER and plenty of

ORANGE-TIP
and
GREEN-VEINED WHITE BUTTERFLIES
on the wing in the bright and warming sunshine.
Most vocal of them all though was this
WILLOW WARBLER
also trying for a mate.
During my observations it very nearly (or maybe certainly) got one,
as a second bird arrived
and sent it into 'bonkers' mode,
'displaying' a fascinating sight to see.
 
Talking of which so was this 
HORSE and TRAP
(a sight to see that is)
as I headed back to Harbins for yet another of Janet's delicious dinners.
Something a little bit special to end with today; here for your felicitation
is a 'Birds-Eye View' of what had been my 'Home Town' for 54 years.
CLICK THIS LINK!
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                     5  and guess our friends Chris and Ponny maybe among the readers from Japan - a Big Hello to you!