Thursday, 19 May 2011

Elusive Butterfly - Bob Lind

It maybe a little premature to mention the 'S' word just yet, but given the azure blue and clear sky, virtually no wind (except on exposed coasts) and shirt-sleeve temperatures it was 'Summery' to say the least. Another day for heading directly for Portland, I was taken there by a bus driver familiar to me but whom I knew nothing about. After a chat it turned out that Ian 'Whacker' Payne was not only in the same branch of the service as myself but was also a member of the Submarine Service during the years I served. I hope you get a chance to look at the Blog Whacker, and if so welcome aboard!

It was soon apparent that Landowner Curtis Gould's gesture to keep the mud flowing for the

resident House Martin population by keeping the puddles topped up with water was not a one off.

The water continues to keep the soil soft and is undoubtedly instrumental in helping towards successful breeding this year - let's hope so and THANKS Curt!

With little else on offer it was straight to the Portland Bird Observatory where things were little better, but as good fortune would have it there was a moment of respite

as the Warden found this Lesser Whitethroat in one of the mist nets. As the good fortune didn't last, after a coffee and bun, I turned my attentions to Butterflies and headed for the West Cliff.

On the way this slightly unfamiliar looking 'chopper past overhead, which I intended to investigate on my return home. As luck would have it a visit to Mountain Warehouse on St Mary;s Street, Weymouth to buy a 'dry bag' for my camera had the problem solved. One of 3 most helpful assistants in the shop just happened to be an aviation boffin, and quick as a flash advised that it is a Royal Navy (Westland) Lynx Wildcat AW159 which is one of only 3 prototypes flying at the moment. As a rider, I would say that anyone requiring camping, travel or equipment of that ilk, this is the store to visit!

With plenty of insects on the wing, it wasn't long before both Male and

Female Common Blue Butterfly were seen,

with the male even allowing a glimpse of the under-wing. However, it was some a little less common that I was searching for, but would have to wait a little longer for that.

In the meantime, it was interesting to note this shining example of what is thought to be Oedemera nobilis which unfortunately has no 'common name' on a Thrift flower.

The Auks on the ledges seem to be doing well also, with this group of Guillemots being look over by a single Shag.

As stated a couple of weeks ago after our visit to Osmington Mills, it is an uncommon sight these days to see Spear-Fishermen in our waters, but these 2 fellows were doing just that and had at their disposal some of the most upmarket gear, including the boat, I have ever seen.

A few Small Heath Butterflies also put in an appearance but then the prize I was hoping for,

one of more than a dozen Small Blue Butterflies.

Swallows were also landing on the compound fence and it was also noted

that the Thrift (or Sea Pinks) here are still in full bloom, well behind those at Ferrybridge which are now withering rapidly.

Finally today, I walked back along the East Cliff where, close to Chenye House, I saw Peregrine, Common Buzzard and Kestrel but, even after a long search, no sign of any Wall Lizards at the adjacent Duncecroft Quarry - I'll try again later.

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