Monday, 31 October 2016

Falkland Islands II

How does the old Proverb go? "There's many a slip twixt cup and lip" to which now may be added "and laptop"! Enjoying a more than ample slug of 10 year old Macallan Sherry Oak Single Malt the other evening the 'slip' resulted in the afore mentioned computer being rushed off to The Priory for detox. This in turn has thrown up a number of problems which may result in the absence of a Post or 2 as there were a number of images ready for publication in the now drenched machine, but now inaccessible. However, to console ourselves we poured another and reached for the Juke Box spending a hour or so with
the bands 8th and second most successful album.
Fronted by the extremely talented Composer, Lead Guitarist
and self-indulgent Steven Wilson, the rest of the combo (in 2005 that is)
comprise of Colin Edwin bass guitar, Gavin Harrison drums and
ex 80's outfit Japan keyboardist Richard Barbieri.
This brought back memories of 3 particularly sensational concerts the first back in 2004 when along with an Old Flame we first travelled from Weymouth to the Mean Fiddler on Charring Cross Road, London to enjoy a fine performance of Dark Matter by Southampton band IQ. From there it was another decent hop to Toad in Cambridge to witness the debut of Deadwing in 2005 and in the following year by an impressive performance of The Dark Third by Pure Reason Revolution in Canterbury.
Here's just a snippet from Deadwing.
Good job we had Part II of our
trip still 'in the can' awaiting such an occasion!
BROWN-HOODED GULL
MAGELLANIC OYSTERCATCHER
 FALKLANDS SNIPE
 FALKLANDS STEAMER DUCK
(male)
 FALKLANDS STEAMER DUCK
(female)
FALKLANDS BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON
LONG-TAILED MEADOW LARK
(male)
 RUFOUS-BELLIED DOTTEREL
 
 The Wreck of
SS LADY ELIZABETH
IMPERIAL SHAG

EntryPageviews
Germany
1088
United States
370
United Kingdom
303
France
30
Estonia
24
China
19
Canada
12
Malaysia
12
Singapore
12
Australia
6

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Blood on the Rooftops - Genesis

Fog has been the predominant feature of early mornings over the
past couple of days, but seems not to have detracted from
Moth returns. Having said that,
this was the sky-scape at 08:00 yesterday and although having once been a
professional 'weather gatherer' for the Meteorological Office back in my Oil Rig days,
cannot put a name to this cloud formation. Should have nicked that cloud
description book before retirement!
 A good start to the Trap rounds was a
First for the Year
 DARK CHESTNUT
followed by something of a surprise in the shape of a 'late'
BLOOD-VEIN
Blood on the Rooftops 
 We say 'late' as most authorities note this Insect as 'double -brooded' and
'on the wing' from late May to early July and again during August and September.
However, through investigations it was found that others also suggest a
'third generation' as late as October, that being the case in point.
 WHITE-POINT
 was also thought to be on the border-line while
 GREEN-BRINDLED CRESCENT
 was completely expect and could show again well into next month.
 All else in attendance was a specimen of
PANTILIUS TUNICATAS
With Wildfowl and mostly all else nonexistent at the Irrigation Pond
it was left to this pair of nervous
 EGYPTIAN GEESE
at the Gravel Pit to make up the deficit. While there have been a couple
of sightings of 2 birds in flight in recent days, these are the first to be seen grounded this Autumn.
However, even at great distance they seemed little impressed with the intrusion
starting their infernal racket and beating a retreat
video
before flying off.
Things did improve quiet dramatically when we reached the Heath
where we were met at the gate by the juvenile
 BELTED GALLOWAY
before quickly picking up on something of a 'showy'
 DARTFORD WARBLER
There is no record of when the last of these were seen but it is
certainly weeks rather than days. It is also rather depressing to report that
neither have they enjoyed much of a year here across the board?
 From the droppings it looks rather like it has been a lean time for
the local FOX as well, but then to end our wander a most unexpected

SMOOTH SNAKE
video
which we have never recorded this late in a year before.
video
Whether this is usual or not isn't known but we would have thought
they would all have sought a hibernacula by now?
Back at Slight Return II and there was yet another unexpected visitor,
not an unusual sight here but for the very first time on the Tennis Court
video
COMMON BUZZARD
EntryPageviews
Germany
1011
United States
368
United Kingdom
274
France
32
China
20
Thailand
19
Estonia
18
Malaysia
15
Canada
12
Singapore
12

Thursday, 27 October 2016

The Geese and the Ghost - Anthony Phillips

A little reminiscent of Lady Anne's Drive, Holkham on the North Norfolk Coast, albeit of a far less 'wild' origin, is there anything quite like the sight and sounds of a skein of Geese crossing the early morning sky?
 CANADA GEESE
 and others (Greylag and Egyptian) on the wing
are now very much part of our rounds of the Moth Traps.
Now, we are well aware that many of you among our ranks of Valued Readers
are not over-struck on the subject but, it is a 'natural fact' that without such creatures,
the bottom end of the food chain, all else would be lost.
Add to this the immensity of the genre with regard to numbers, size, shape, colour, pattern etc
it is little wonder that this is the fastest growing 'hobby' in Great Britain at the moment!
Even at this 'late date' we are still seeing great success at our Traps with the following sequence,
all taken over the past few days, proving that persistence pays off!
The images are presented in what we consider to be
Best Left 'Til Last.
 With the rapid decline in recent days of
Large Yellow Underwing
BEADED CHESTNUT
 is now by far the most numerous and common among the Species.
BRINDLED GREEN
 and
LARGE WAINSCOT
 have been absent altogether during October, while following
on from our last Post this 'WONDERFUL'
 MERVEILLE du JOUR
 becomes the 13th (unlucky for some but not in this instance) for 2016.
In sharp contrast
FLOUNCED CHESTNUT
 is our first for the year, and only the 3rd ever taken here,
but all pale by comparison to what happened next.
Reaching the 5th, final and historically least productive trap, at the edge of the Oak Wood, the last egg tray was lifted for inspection with beneath what looked every bit like a dead leaf. As any Moth'er (married or unmarried) will tell you there is something of a 6th sense about such things so on closer examination it was popped into a pot and later photographed and released,
"wake up at the back"!
 After the usual blood, sweat and tears, often associated with
never before seen Insects and well beyond my pay scale, it was
sent off to higher authority and confirmed as a (rather worn) Moth known simply as
ANOMALOUS
 (an adjective which describes something deviating from what is considered
standard, normal or expected [now where have we heard that before]).
'OVERJOYED'
at the prospect of the 438th addition to our
Recording Area Macro Moth List,
this will also be the 15th for the year.
Next was to turn to my favoured 3 Authorities on the subject
Skinner, Manley and Clancy
to read up on it but far more importantly the
Dorset Moth Group Website
where it may be found under Species Accounts - 2394
In brief, the above describes it as a Scarce and Restricted Resident on the wing during August and September which, according to the records available, has never been caught in the month of October here in Dorset. The first County record is from 1886 since when there have been in the region of 90 further sightings of more than 120 individuals, amounting to less than 'one' per year. It's stronghold, if it can be described as that, are the Heathlands at the southern edge of the Poole Basin, favouring Bristle Bent (Agrostis curtisii) Grass as food plant. It may be of note that the Heath not 2 miles from where this one was caught is made up of several acres of this plant.
"OK, you can nod-off again now".
If however you are still with us at this point, there is a
reluctance to continue for fear of loosing more
Valued Readers
but feel this item should be added before it gets too stale!
While considering myself a less than average Wildlife enthusiast,
there are those around me who amaze and astound me just about at every hurdle.
While the DTG (date/time/group) is lost in time and of little importance really,
it was a great pleasure to take lunch with 2 of them in the Royal Oak, Bere Regis
a few days ago. My arrival was straight from the 'field' where a condidered
 Fawn Roe Deer
was photographed.
These images were shown to John and his sister Maggie Gifford but, with not a pair of 'Gregory Pecks' between us, the full picture could not be seen. With only a camera screen view available John pointed out that it may not be a Roe at all and with 100% reliable reports of Munctjak in our area (not thus far seen by myself) hopes were high. Arriving back at Slight Return II late afternoon, priority were these shots which were immediately considered of the original ID, but sent them on to John nonetheless. The following morning his prognosis was received thus:-

1935/7, yes a Roe Deer, looks really scruffy as it changes into its winter pelage (coat) but it also seems there is something else wrong. Deer poo is similar to Sheeps/Goat, basically little balls all joined together, but this animal has got the Scours (loose poo) which normally indicates a bad case of intestinal Worms, you can see evidence of the scours on the hocks and under/around the tail area.

 This is what was found the following morning!
Entry

Pageviews
Germany
694 - What's going on? Well done Germany and Thanks!
United States
373
United Kingdom
280
France
30
Thailand
22
China
20
Malaysia
17
Estonia
16
Canada
12
Spain
9

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Spider Web - Joan Osborne

 Still enough 'movement' about in the Wild World to keep our
interests up with Moths, Birds and
 CUMULUS CLOUD
alike, chugging down the English Channel while sticking
close to the Dorset Coast.
Returns from the Moth Traps included
NOVEMBER MOTH
 but there lies an identification problem.
If this is indeed as shown then surely this must be the 'close cousin'
PALE NOVEMBER MOTH?
 Not quite that simple unfortunately as both can be diverse in colour and patterning.
The only surefire way of knowing is by dissection and examination of genitalia,
which in our case precludes certainty as hardly being able to see the Insect let alone its 'tackle'!
 Not for the first time this Autumn we once again bring you the 
'SPECTACULAR'
 MERVEILLE du JOUR
as the dozen'th caught here thus far and breaking the previous year count of 9.
 The daily early morning wander around 
Parley Pond
produced a few of the minimum c37
 
 COLLARED DOVE
 still remaining with us, while as ever a
 GREY HERON
 has also taken up station. It would be usual for it to hold firm
throughout the upcoming Winter.
The Irrigation Pond still holds a number of Waterfowl, including
MALLARD and TUFTED DUCK
TUFTED DUCK
video
DITTO
There was then a fly-past of a brace of young
 MUTE SWANS
of unknown origin but just as likely to be from
Parley Pond?
video
ROE DEER
the 'buck' making a meal of things while the
video
DOE
appeared happy just reflecting on things.
We left after filming these c6
video
TEAL
which were well spread and difficult to fit into the 18 seconds
allowed on such footage.
It is easy to see that the Northern Thrushes (Fieldfare and Redwing)
have not yet arrived as the
HOLLY
 is still bowing under the weight of Berries.
ALSIKE CLOVER
a new species added to the 
Recording Area List.
A hour wandering the Heath turned up both the
Arachnid
 ARANEUS DIADEMATUS
which comes with a choice of vernacular names including
EUROPEAN GARDEN SPIDER, DIADEM SPIDER, CROSS SPIDER, or CROWNED ORB WEAVER
 and a slightly worn and insipid looking
FIELD GRASSHOPPER
 A quick glance behind the
Eco Recycling Works
shows that the ground is now levelled and presumably ready for the
construction of the extension to the works?
Entry

Pageviews
United States
352
United Kingdom
303
Germany
73
China
22
Thailand
22
France
19
Canada
16
Estonia
16
Malaysia
16
Ireland
12