My camera has been returned to me! Woohoo! It feels good to have it back again, I feel like I’m whole again. Ok, maybe that is going too far, but it’s not far off! I have taken a couple of hundred photos since it arrived back, haha!
Not much wildlife worth noting for during the week. I did have a fab school group at Chesil on one of the days mind. Some KS3 (Yrs7-9) students from a local school looking for seashore creatures. A couple of the girls were particularly fascinated by the washed up Barrel Jellyfish (Rhizostoma pulmo). As the day was a bit of a jolly for them, I didn’t make them come down the rest of the beach with us. And I’m glad I didn’t, because when we rejoined them 15 minutes later, I discovered they had been watching a documentary on jellyfish reproduction on one of their phones!
Later in the week, I was visited by a friend who I’ve known for years but hadn’t seen for a few months. Trying to think of something fun for us to do, I booked us onto a Fleet Observer trip. It was great fun! Good views of the Little Terns (Sternula albifrons), plus we saw one of the Hares (Lepus europaeus). I am always surprised to see the hares on Chesil Beach! I didn’t manage to get a photo of it though.
Following a yummy lunch in Fortuneswell, we headed up to King Barrow Quarries Nature Reserve as it had been too long since I’d been there (i.e. more than a week!). Plus, I was hoping to get two new year ticks for my butterfly list. It was really blustery, but the quarries provided some sheltered areas that were filled with a nice variety of butterflies – including the wonderful Marbled White (Melanargia galathea) and even a Silver-studded Blue (Plebejus argus). Plus a Great Green Bush Cricket (Tettigonia viridissima) that I managed to catch – crikey, they really are big crickets, their name is well suited!
We also saw my favourite butterfly, the Chalkhill Blue (Polyommatus coridon)! What an absolutely beautiful butterfly it is!
Feeling windblown and warm from sun, we went over to the Portland Bird Observatory. The smallness of the world was proved when I met someone there who I had originally met in Wales back in 2011-2012 whilst on placement with the Field Studies Council! We had a lovely catch-up and he pointed in the direction of Puss Moth caterpillars that had been found not far from the Obs. With a bit of searching, my friend and I managed to find one of them, and thank goodness we did! What a fantastic caterpillar it is! I couldn’t believe how chunky it was, so I took a photo of my thumb next to it as proof of its size.
This weekend, the theme at Lorton was butterflies! I led my first ever proper butterfly walk (i.e. to paying members of the public, not foisting butterfly info onto friends/family)! Despite the nerves, it went well – we saw most of the butterflies that we get at Lorton. I also rounded out the walk to include some of the wildflowers that the butterflies feed on, plus stopping by the pond to see what was about there.
I was eye-ing up the antennae of the skippers, having told the group about the difference between Small (Thymelicus sylvestris) and Essex (T.lineola) Skippers. The Small has orange/brown tips to their antennae, whereas the Essex has black tips. I didn’t see any Essex on the walk, but then my friend, and local naturalist, Sean Foote came over to Lorton to see the reserve. I pointed out where one of the Skippers was fluttering about and he was like “oh yeh, an Essex” prompting a “Whaaaaat?!” from me! True enough, it was an Essex Skipper!
On Sunday, I was helping out on a stall at the Weymouth Sports and Wellbeing Festival, promoting Natural Choices – for which Dorset Wildlife Trust are running some activities. We had our seaside model out and making plasticine figurines to go onto it.
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