And what about the new Insect Exhibition at the Darwin House within the Natural History Museum? At 8 stories high and overlooking the research labs, it is to be dubbed 'The Cocoon', and, it has to be said, has been too long in the coming. The general public always were able to view any and all of the Entomological specimens therein, but not without appointment. I remember many years ago doing just that, and while access was easily obtained the process of searching through endless draws was a little daunting., but totally 'spell binding'. Having said that, when applying for entry one could specify particular specimens which would be laid waiting, but the new set up is going to be a whole different ball game. I can already see Messrs Harris, Lambert, Forster, Cade, Foot, Wood-Homer et al in the queue.
Marsh Sandpiper - Kotu Bridge, The Gambia
Sharp-tailed Sandpiper - Alice Springs Sewerage Works, Northern Territory, Australia
Southern Lapwing - Costanera Sur, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Again the Borough was shrouded in mist early morning, but for a change above the cacophony of Herring Gull calls there was the sweet refrain of a Robin. In, or very close to, my garden it was back in the spring when the last one was heard. It may have been that there was an overnight 'fall', or maybe they all just came out of the 'woodwork' at the same time but there were 6 at Radipole and a further 10 at Lodmoor. Apart from a single Willow Warbler and a scattering of Acros that was it at Radipole, but Lodmoor turned up a little more to look at. Counts included Med Gull 2, Black-tailed Godwit 13, Sandwich Tern 15, Curlew Sandpiper 2 (only seen by Daragh), Redshank 2, Dunlin 20+, Common Snipe 5, Little Egret 4, Whitethroat 2 plus single Willow Warbler and Blackcap. There was a moment when, had I been a fraction of a second quicker, I may have had my photograph of the year as a Sparrowhawk deftly picked off a House Sparrow on the west pathway. Scanning from Preston Beach 16 Common Scoter flew inside Portland Harbour, along the Middle Arm Breakwater and out into WeyBay. Later I surveyed the ebb at Ferry Bridge where 6 Med Gull, 53 Dunlin, 87 Ringed Plover, 5 each Sanderling & Turnstone, 6 Sandwich Tern and a lone Little Egret arrived to feed.
Sandwich Terns - Ferry Bridge, Portland, Dorset