A few twitches might a twitcher make!

No glorious weather on Monday to potter around in, so I attempted to get my affairs in order (job applications and the like since my contract will soon be finishing!). With better weather the next day, I headed south for the evening (after work) and pottered around in King Barrow Quarries Nature Reserve for a little while. It felt like I hadn’t been there for far too long! It was quieter than earlier in the summer – some of the butterflies are reaching the end of their flight season. Plus, it was rather breezy. However, there was enough wildlife about to keep me occupied!

A lunchtime walk at Chesil called to me, having spent the morning within the centre wistfully thinking of the outdoors. I hadn’t been over the road for a little (just like the quarries), so dodged and ducked between the traffic (lies! I walked across the road, but that sounds more exciting). Traipsing around over there revealed some hidden beauties tucked amongst the grasses – Common Toadflax (Linaria vulgaris), White Campion (Silene latifolia), Scarlet Pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis) and Grey Bush-Cricket (Platycleis albopunctata), plus a cute but unidentified little snail shell.

A wander back to the Fleet Lagoon to see what the receding tide was revealing. In this case, a dead Barrel Jellyfish (Rhizostoma pulmo), plus some of the usual bird suspects flitting about.

Whilst working that afternoon, in the back of my mind I was um-ing and ah-ing whether to head up to Portland again. I had heard / seen the news that a Wryneck (Jynx torquilla) was about, and I was tempted to twitch. First, it looked like a pretty awesome bird. Second, it seemed to be showing quite well. And of course, it would add to my list! Three good reasons, and so I climbed the hill (in my car) and zoomed (within the speed limit naturally) over to the Portland Bird Observatory to get directions.

Thanks to them, I was soon in the right spot and casting my eye around the place. I could see a bird quite far away, just a brown blob even through the bins. So I zoomed in and took a photo, just as it took off! Bah, no chance of working out what it was. Oh well. A bit of wandering – a male Stonechat (Saxicola rubicola) over on a Ministry of Defence fence, and a number of gulls circling above. Then out of the corner of my eye, I saw something fly. Quickly with the bins, and success! I had seen a Wryneck! Then snapping away with my camera, before settling down to watch it for a while (though it didn’t do much, it seemed to just be looking about!). I flicked back to the first blurry photo, and was surprised to see it was the Wryneck! Turns out I had seen it about 10 minutes before I knew I had!

A few other photos from my twitch.

There ends my time on Portland for the week, as I was at Lorton Meadows for the other working days working out my workplan for the next few weeks so I can get my various projects finished before I leave! Of course, I still went out to see the wildlife too, even attempting some oak gall and bush-cricket identification!

My weekend off, and so up to Cambridge I went – including a walk in the fields nearby and watching grasshoppers in the garden. The latter is very interesting indeed, to see how they interact with each other, and I even saw one eating some grass and cleaning its antennae! So go and watch some grasshoppers!

I recently rediscovered some lovely Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus) photos that I took a while back on a lovely evening at PBO – it was sitting in tree only about 10-15metres away, bathed in some glorious light from the setting sun. What a superb bird!

In other news:

  • I have set up a Facebook group for UK Orthoptera because they didn’t have one and they are wonderful insects which deserve their own group!
  • For the next week, I shall be curating the Biotweeps Twitter account and will be talking about a variety of topics, including moths of course – but also getting a career in conservation, inspiring the next generation, and more!
  • I recently recalculated my Pan-Species List as the number I had online was different to the one on my notebook. I need to add a couple on from this week, but as it stands I am on 732! Will I reach my 1000 target by the end of the year?
  • The title of this blog post refers back to another blog post last year when I went on my first twitch.

The postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent Dorset Wildlife Trust’s positions, strategies or opinions (or any other organisation or individuals for that matter).

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