The Portland Naturalist

The Portland Naturalist

Monday, 18 July 2016

The beginning of the Purple patch.

I had a great time attending an A Focus On Nature (group for young conservationists and naturalists - look at me above being all naturalist-y ;-) ) gathering at Knepp Wildlands estate in Sussex at the weekend.

As you may know, I struggle in social situations, so it was fantastic to spend time with so many like-minded genuinely nice people for a weekend, and the wildlife was truly remarkable at this unique place.

The stuff we got involved with included moth-trapping, bird ringing, invertebrate catching, as well as a couple of species-specific searches.

Turtle Dove are a key species at the site, but they proved hard to find. We did luck upon one singing male.

A Brown Long-eared Bat which was a patient at the resident Bat hospital.

The main target for the weekend was first found right by the site we moth-trapped at. Quite funny watching the crowd surrounding a cow pat!

The Purple Emperor was remarkably confiding. This whole thing made me a bit emotional, cause it was in such circumstances about 20 years ago that my love of nature was sparked. Seeing a Purple Emperor on the ground during a guided walk in Surrey when I was 10ish is my earliest wildlife memory, and until now I'd not seen one on the ground (and only one other time, at all) since. Who knows what I'd be doing now, if I hadn't seen that butterfly on that day. It's a sobering thought.
The weather was perfect throughout, including a stunning sunset.

The group shot! Hope to meet you all again some day! :-)

Huge thanks to Simon Phelps for organising, Tony Davis for guiding, and Penny Green for fab hosting. Top work all!