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Wildlife in and around the city of Bristol

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Bristol and Avon Bird

Sightings

Wildlife in the Forest of Dean

Bob Bushell’s Wildlife
Photography

Arne RSPB 2nd July 2018

Our final day in Dorset was spent at Arne RSPB, looking for Dartford Warblers. We had brief glimpses, but they were not perching on top of the gorse bushes. We heard a couple singing around the reserve, but we couldn't locate where they were.We saw loads of Dragonflies & Damselflies by the pond. Keeled Skimmers, Four-spotted Chasers, Small Red Damselflies, Azure Damselflies & Common Blue Damselflies. We headed to Norden Park & Ride Station at the northern end of the Swanage Railway. A few Juvenile Barn Swallows were perched on the wire opposite. The loco in service was T9 number 30120, which is now based on the line having spent a few years at Bodmin in Cornwall. We watched it run round the train, before its return to Swanage. After we watched it depart, we started to make our way back. We were going to have walk around Morden, but as it was too hot we decided to head back home earlier than we would normally do. It’s always nice when the sun is out, but this was hotter than normal temperatures would be for this time of year.

Four-spotted Chaser

Keeled Skimmer [Female]

Small Red Damselflies

Azure Damselflies

Barn Swallow [Juvenile]

Barn Swallow [Juvenile]

30120 at Norden Park & Ride Station

Keeled Skimmer [Male]

Barn Swallow [Male]

Sunday 1st July 2018

The Sika Deer were outside the garden at the B&B this morning, so we went out to see them after breakfast. We then headed back to Higher Hyde to have a look for some more Reptiles. We saw Grass Snake, Slow Worm, Common Lizard and eventually a pair of Sand Lizards.

On the way to Portland we stopped at Ferrybridge. We saw a few Ringed Plovers & Dunlins plus a Mediterranean Gull from the visitor centre. Me & Dad walked over to have a better view of Little Terns flying over the beach. Afterwards we headed to Portland Bill. We scanned the sea from Pulpit Rock. We saw Common Guillemots & a Shag flying past. A flock of Common Guillemots were on the water. We saw a family of Linnets near the car park but no Wheatears today. We had lunch on the bill. While we were waiting to served, a Raven was foraging around by the cafe, before flying off. After lunch, we started to make our back to Weymouth. As we were about to go through the town, Mum looked on Rare Bird Alert and saw that a Large Tortoiseshell Butterfly had been reported on the island. We managed to find where it had been sighted by the old railway line to the quarry. We saw the Butterfly feeding on the Valerian in the old railway cutting and it gave excellent views. Unlike the Small Tortoiseshell, it has four spots on it's forewings and a lighter orangey/yellow. This species is from Southern Europe & is a rare vagrant here. Top Butterfly!! We had a quick look at Lodmoor RSPB at the Common Terns feeding their Chicks, Black-headed Gulls, Marsh Harrier and 1 Mediterranean Gull. We headed back to Arne RSPB to have another look for the Dartford Warbler. However just as we got there, the heavens opened which stopped us venturing out to Coombe Heath & on that note, we headed back to the B&B.

Sand Lizard [Male]

Slow Worm

Silver-washed Fritillary [Male]

Mediterranean Gull [Summer]

Sand Lizard [Female]

Common Lizard

Linnet [Juvenile]

Large Tortoiseshell

Large Tortoiseshell

Sika Deer

After Dad picked us up, we popped to Arne RSPB for a quick a cup of tea before they closed for the day. We then walked up to Coombe Heath to see if the Nightjars were about that evening. A couple of Silver-studded Blues were roosting on the Heather. Loads of Sika Deer were still present. We unfortunately missed the Dartford Warbler singing on top of the gorse bush that Mum saw. Me & Dad walked around the rest of the reserve, but nothing. We heard the Nightjars churring on the private side of the reserve & saw one fly past. We then headed to the B&B at Stoborough.

Saturday 30th June 2018

We headed to Higher Hyde Nature Reserve near Wareham to see if there were any Reptiles. We saw some Silver-washed Fritillaries on the wing, Grass Snakes & Slow Worm, Black-tailed Skimmers & Silver-studded Blues. We explored around Middlebeare Heath looking for Dartford Warblers. We saw more Burnet Moths & a Golden-ringed Dragonfly. A couple of Stonechats were on the heath. We walked down to the hide and saw the Spoonbill preening on the edge of the creek with the Black-headed Gulls. In the sightings book there was a Woodlark at 10:45 & 12:00. On the way back to the car, we kept a lookout for a Woodlark, but no joy. A Comma was resting by the path. We heard a Dartford Warbler singing close to the top path, but saw only its head before it flew away. We headed back to Wareham for a walk to Swineham viewpoint. Sadly we didn't see much in the way of Wildlife. It was still very hot and that was probably why things were staying hidden in the shade. In the evening, we went on a walk on Stoborough Heath. A Female Stonechat was feeding youngsters nearby. It was a good place for Nightjars. After hearing a few distant flight calls, we were rewarded with some excellent flight views around the heath and even over our heads, as well as some churring Males. We also heard a strange call, which sounded like Terns!!!

It was probably the sound of Nightjar Chicks.

Silver-studded Blue [Male]

Friday 29th June 2018

We started our day with a visit to Hardy's Monument above the small village of Portesham. Some of us went up to the top for a bird's eye view of the surrounding area. We then moved on Abbotsbury, for a walk to St Catherine's Chapel. The last stop on the tour was at Burton Bradstock, where we had lunch in a lovely outdoor restaurant with stunning sea views . We set off back towards Corfe Castle via Dorchester, where we dropped Janet off to catch the train back to Nottinghamshire. The rest of us went back to the hotel to say our goodbyes and Dad was waiting for us there. It was a marvellous holiday. Big thanks to Byron & Alison for leading the tour, also thanks to Charles, Richard, Fleur, Rory, Peter, Jerry, Janet, Brenda & Lucy for their enjoyable company.

Sliver-studded Blue at sunset

Silver-studded Blue [Male]

Silver-studded Blue [Male]

Keeled Skimmer [Male]

Common Darter [Female]

Silver-washed Fritillary [Male]

Black-tailed Skimmer [Male]

Silver-studded Blue [Female]

Silver-studded Blue [Male]

Six-spot Burnet Moth

Comma

Thursday 28th June 2018

We headed to Weymouth & Portland for a day's birdwatching. We stopped first at Lodmoor RSPB for a walk around the reserve. We saw at least 10 Mediterranean Gulls, Common Terns, Tufted Ducks, Mallards, Marsh Harriers, Reed Bunting, Goldfinch, Reed Warbler & House Sparrows. We sadly didn't see or hear any Bearded Tits here. On the way back some of us took the wrong footpath and were on a different side of the hedge to the others. We passed the shelter so we quickly popped in to have a look and we saw a few Common Terns perched on the posts before leaving.

We next headed to Radipole Lake RSPB to have a look for Bearded Tits there. We saw a stunning Summer plumage Great Crested Grebe by the visitor centre bridge. A Scarlet Tiger Moth was feeding on flowers along the main path. We eventually saw a couple of Juvenile Bearded Tits briefly in the reeds. On the way back to the car park, we saw some Brown Bee Orchids by the path. We had lunch at Portland Bill overlooking the sea before exploring for a couple of hours. We saw a Rock Pipit on the edge of the rocks by the lighthouse. A few Butterflies were on the wing including Small White, Marbled Whites, Meadow Browns & Skippers. The Cow Parsley housed more Red Soldier Beetles. A few more Pyramidal Orchids were in flower. Mum and I went for a wander on our own and we saw a family of Northern Wheatears foraging on the rocks. Just when we were about to leave, a family of Ravens fed by the car park. We headed up on a even longer journey to the Poacher's Inn in the Pittewell Valley, where we had our dinner before spending an evening Badgerwatching. While we were in the hide, we were entertained by a Fox & Tawny Owl. They had been coming quite early and still in the daylight, but not tonight unfortunately. After a long wait, the Badgers emerged from their sett, but were partly obscured by the long grass. Even though it is floodlit, they never got into the light enough for a photo. Time was getting on, and we had a long journey back to our hotel at Corfe, so we had to call it a night. We were a bit disappointed, but with wildlife watching that’s the way it goes sometimes.


Mediterranean & Black-headed Gulls

Common Tern [Summer]

Common Tern [Summer]

Feral Pigeon

Great Crested Grebe [Summer]

Scarlet Tiger Moth

Bearded Tit [Juvenile]

Bee Orchids

Rock Pipit [Summer]

Marbled White

Marbled White

Northern Wheatear [Juvenile]

Wednesday 27th June 2018

After an early breakfast, we headed out to Arne RSPB to meet up with RSPB warden Chris & volunteer Frankie for our Reptile walk around the heath. Chris is licensed to handle reptiles including the rare Smooth Snake. We saw a Female Black-tailed Skimmer, Mottled Grasshoppers, Greater Bag-worm Moth, Dartford Warbler, Coal Tit, Common Toad, Stonechats, Emperor Moth Caterpillars, Common Kestrel, Meadow Browns, & Small Heath. We sadly only saw one reptile during that morning, which was a Slow Worm quickly disappearing underground. Chris checked all the other tins on the site, but nothing. Under the very last tin he said he had found a Male and Female Smooth Snake last Saturday, before our visit. So we all crossed our fingers. Unfortunately, the closest we could get to a Smooth Snake, was an old shedded skin. It was a bit disappointing, but Chris also felt bad at not being able to find us any. Problem was that it was just too hot for reptiles even with an early start. After the morning Reptile walk we headed back to Corfe Castle  for lunch and a bit of free time, while some of the others went to Wareham. A Song Thrush was smashing a snail in the hotel gardens. We had something to eat in Corfe Castle Cafe and then popped down to the railway Station to see 80104 on a few service trains with 33111.

Meeting back up with group later, we headed back to Arne RSPB for the afternoon & saw a Male Southern Hawker in the car park. We walked towards Shipstal Point & along the way were Grey Squirrels, Large Skippers, Long- tailed Tits and a few other birds. We saw Oystercatchers, Common Shelducks, Canada Geese, Ringed Plovers, Great Black-backed Gull & Curlews from the point. I also saw a Sand Wasp on the beach at Shipstal. On the way back to the car park, a herd of Sika Deer were grazing in the field. A Male Green Woodpecker was feeding in the gardens by the farm, until it was flushed by a Sparrowhawk catching a Starling. Back in the car park, a Comma perched in a bush with it's wings closed. Afterward we made our way back the Mortons Hotel at Corfe Castle for the evening.

Emperor Dragonfly [Male]

Black-tailed Skimmer [Female]

Mottled Grasshopper [Male]

Longhorn Calf & Cow

Greater Bag-worm Moth

Common Toad

Small Skipper

Comma

Sand Wasp

Green Woodpecker [Male]

80104 at Corfe Station with the castle behind

Tuesday 26th June 2018

We headed to down to Corfe Castle to meet up with the Naturetrek group. We popped into Arne RSPB for a cup of tea, before continuing our journey. A few Meadow Browns were in the carpark. A House Sparrow was also in the carpark, having a dust bath. Not long after passing Norden, Steam loco no 80104 was seen on the approach to Corfe Castle Station.  

After meeting up with the Naturetrek group, we headed off to Durlston Head Country Park. We met with our guide at the visitor centre & he took us on a tour around part of the site. First bird we saw was a Sandwich Tern diving below the cliff. A excellent number of Six-spot Burnet Moths were flying along the coast path, also a few Skipper Butterflies.
Below the cliffs were Razorbills & Common Guillemots on the water. Also a fly by Common Kestrel. A few Pyramidal Orchids were still in flower and a young Carder Bee was nectaring on the flowers. A few Marbled Whites were flying around the meadows and lots more Six-spot Burnet Moths. We saw quite a few of the pupa cases of the Burnet Moths. Red Soldier Beetles were in good numbers around the meadow on Cow Parsley with a couple of Large Skippers. A pair of Bloody-nosed Beetles were mating on the path. Mum moved them them somewhere safer so they wouldn’t get stepped on. Afterwards, we made our way back to the hotel for our early dinner. After dinner, we headed to Arne RSPB to meet up with the RSPB warden for a Nightjar walk. We headed up to Coombe Heath to have a look. A few Spotted Flycatchers were seen at dusk. On the top of the heath, we found roosting Silver-studded Blues, Spoonbill, Fox, Sika Deer, Tree Pipit & a singing Dartford Warbler [not seen]. Sadly no Nightjars at Coombe Heath. However, in a private part of the reserve, we saw at least 3 birds. A Male was churring on branch in front of us & gave fantastic views. A Tawny Owl was also heard calling in the woods nearby. We made our way back to our comfy hotel as we had an early start in the morning.

Dorset 26th June-2nd July 2018

House [Male]

Lulworth Skipper

Common Kestrel [Female]

Pyramidal Orchid  

Marbled White

Six-spot Burnet Moth

Bloody-nosed Beetle

Nightjar [Male]

Silver-studded Blue [Male]

Dorset 2018