The Portland Naturalist

The Portland Naturalist

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Knot Much

It dawned yet another misty day, but luckily it had largely worn off by the time I finished work, and could get out and do some birding.  The wader passage seems to be well and truly underway down at Ferrybridge, so I decided on there as my first port of call. 
It was still cloudy at this point, so luckily, there was minimal human disturbance out on the mud flats, bar for a few bait diggers.  I was delighted to see a swarm of waders out there, but also close to the centre on the stream.  Best here were two moulting Knot, still pretty dapper looking.

A short walk down the edge of the mudflats, and I was able to do a quick count of 93 Dunlin.  I also managed to find 3 Sanderling with the main flock, as well as another 9 on the mudbank off the Little Tern colony.  Also in attendance were 3 Turnstone, a few Ringed Plover (including the Swedish colour-ringed juvenile), a Little Egret, a Grey Heron (which landed by the Tern colony, but was quickly seen off by the Gulls - bet the Terns were happy with that protection service!), and a count of 44 Mediterranean Gull.  On the walk back I counted the Dunlin again - 105 this time!  By the time I'd got back to the centre, the loafing Med flock had built up too, to 70!
I found the Portland plant tick here of Common Stork's-bill.
On the exhausting trudge up Old Hill, I found another new plant, Wavy Bitter-cress.
I decided to look for Chalk-hill Blues next at High Angle Battery, as some had been seen there recently.  I then realised that King Barrow Quarry was closer, so it might be worth popping in there first.  Literally, the first butterfly I saw was this beauty!

I then watched this individual do something strange on these Bramble buds.  Curved it's abdomen round as if egg-laying!  But, it's a male!

After it left, I took a closer look at the spot, and it had left two tiny orange blobs on the buds. Can you spot them?  Excreta maybe?  Anyone any other ideas what went on here?

 I later found this gem, called Oncecera semirubella.  A micro moth, but one of the larger ones.  It's one I've seen before, but no less spectacular for that.  The shot doesn't do it justice - it really is bright yellow and pink!

Finally, I noticed a lot of Six-spot Burnet action.  Firstly, how many can you fit on a Knapweed head?

And, I can't imagine how it occurred, but this poor individual had lost a whole set of wings.  It should still be able to reproduce.

I hope tomorrow is going to be clearer, as I'm getting seawatching withdrawal symptoms!

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