The Portland Naturalist

The Portland Naturalist

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Shrike it Lucky

I suppose I should really save that brilliant/awful pun for the time when I actually find a Shrike.  But, the way things are going, that won't be until blogging has become obsolete.  Come to think of it, I actually found my very first Red-backed Shrike (Thorney Island - 2006), and that was long before I started blogging, so I suppose I've already had my chance to use it properly.

Sorry, enough of my waffling.  What happened today?

I set out early to take in the Barleycrates/Reap area before work.  It seemed that the weather changing away from easterlies has really halted things, and all I saw was a few Wheatear, Yellow Wagtail, and a single Sedge Warbler.

Whilst working in Fortuneswell, yet another Grey Wagtail went over, and the calling of a Kestrel drew my attention to a possible bird of prey up over Verne prison.  I was thinking Osprey, but without bins it could easily have been a Gull.

As I got home, the news broke that Ian Stanley had found a Red-backed Shrike near Lodmoor, so off I went.  It was on view immediately, on the hillside below Horselynch plantation.  It was of course a juvenile, and not an adult male as hoped.  Nonetheless, it showed brilliantly, and entertained the small crowd with repeated successful snatches for Bumblebees and Grasshoppers.  It also disgorged a pellet.  I did my best with photos and video in terrible heat haze and wind.

As I was here, I thought I'd better give Lodmoor itself a proper look. 

Not a great deal to be seen, except a Greenshank, 3 Common Sandpiper, and a few Wigeon, Shoveler, Gadwall, and Teal.  Now it feels like autumn.

The highlight though were a couple of Hobby, which were of course hunting the very numerous Dragonflies.  A tip.  Don't try and phonescope birds in flight!

On the way home, I decided I would try the High Angle Battery once more, for these elusive Adonis Blues.  I immediately found a female thank goodness, but no matter how hard I tried, I could not find any males.  There clearly had been some, cause I then found this female egg-laying.

Also seen were a few late Marbled White, and among the birds was a Whinchat.
After tea I headed for the Bill, as in the morning the sea had been alive with Balearic Shearwaters.  Three quarters of an hour later, the sea had been alive once again, with waves!  Nothing of note whatsoever.  A shame but predictable. 
I did then get the chance to take a quick gander at the moth traps.  Some nice ones were the gorgeous Gold Spot (a wetland species, so a wanderer from the mainland).
Another wanderer, this time from acid grassland, the Antler.

And a rather striking Dark Fruit-tree Tortrix.

I've now got three days off in a row - an advantage of working part-time.  Conditions don't appear particularly promising, but surely I can find something worthy of note in the coming days.  I can only hope.

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