Of all days, when time was of the essence, disaster struck early morning. With some long outstanding business to attend to in Weymouth, the hope of a little field-work as well and a need to be back at Parley by noon we could have done without the hindrance of a broken Moth Trap lamp. Further incentive to make an early start and also take in the
(complete with Joe Stockwell)
was yesterday's capture there of a 'rare' Moth never before recorded in Dorset. The first 30 minutes of the drive to the half way point, Bere Regis, was hampered by fog but then the sun appeared with the rest of the day being bright, sunny and still. Reaching St George's Church, Portland on the hour a
the first notable bird of the day flashed in front of me (there were to be c2 more before the day was over). Reaching the Obs, it was found that the Warden Martin Cade had kept the Insect of my Desire, for verification and was only too happy to allow me a look at and photograph my first ever
With Joe Stockwell, Assistant Warden, Committee Member John Lucas and 2 young lads from Hertfordshire the only others in attendance, it was a change from the usually bustling veranda and lounge, but there was plenty else going on. The Moth Traps had already been attended, with the content now being scrutinised, while I was content scanning the sea, where the Italian built
could just be seen, screened by both mist and a flock of Starlings. Argus was formerly the container ship MV Contender Bezant, being requisitioned in 1982 for service in the Falklands War and purchased outright in 1984 for use as an Aviation Training Ship, replacing RFA Engadine. In 1991, during the Gulf War, she was fitted with an extensive and fully functional hospital to assume the additional role of Primary Casualty Receiving Ship which in 2009 became the ship's primary function.
JOE at the nets.During this period both Wardens had been busily tending the usual string of Mist Nets placed to catch (migratory) birds, part of which was a
Between times Martin was quizzically looking at another small Moth and when he started to photograph it I was curious to know if this too had any special significance. "You bet it does" he replied, "another 'first' for the County!"
so this image from Wiki should give a clearer picture.
Not bad for a 50 minutes visit!
Next on the agenda, and equally pleasurable, a visit to see my Ol' Shipmate the Secret Lemonade Drinker where luckily I also found Mrs and Daughter Lemonardo, a fantastic bonus. With the ladies off to work, a couple of 'bollards' pulled up and all the lanterns swinging we got down to tales of the sea and the mundane task of 'computer fixing'. With the bane of my life now fully functional, sides splitting from persistent laughter and the coffee tank full, there was time for a wander around the Top Fields before my next, and mundane, rendezvous. Clouded Yellow Butterflies had been reported 'on the wing', which was my target, while Secret was anxious to see a Yellow Wagtail - Game On!The trudge up Sweethill and along to the Barns produced nothing,
but arriving above Culverwell, a small stand of bushes
close to the coast, the first returning migrants started to show.
over 40 in number were quite approachable and we,
Secret that is, did spot a
It was likely to be 'harvested' itself if the likes of these young
caught sight of it.
Reaching the highest point of our walk, which affords lovely views
both east and west along the English Channel, we could also see
all 3 of Portland's Lighthouses.
THE HIGHER LIGHT (oldest of the three)
(second oldest) and now the
PORTLAND BIRD OBSERVATORY
and the current ACTIVE LIGHT at the tip of Portland Bill.
COMMON BLUE BUTTERFLY on COMMON FLEABANE
With time also at a premium today, the rest of the adventure will have to save until tomorrow. Did we see the Yellow Wagtail or Clouded Yellow? All will soon be revealed!