Sunday 25 December 2016


A bit odd to be talking about June on Christmas Day, I know, but with stomachs and the dishwasher groaning under the weight of the day's gluttony, it seems like as good a time as any to chalk off another month in my review of the year. And the temperature outside is about the same too. Oh, a very merry Christmas by the way, and thanks for reading - I know it's been hard going lately with all this reminiscing.

Speaking of which, back to June and early in the month I combined a quick trip to Cornwall to see the long-staying Dalmatian Pelican of unknown origin with a return via Branscombe in Devon to search for Wood White butterflies - a rare species in these parts which were quite easy to find on the crumbling undercliff. A memorable day, not least as the car broke down, as if chiding me for twitching the Pelican.
Dalmatian Pelican, Drift Reservoir
A spectacular bird, though whether it will make Category A of the British list is another matter
Wood White at Branscombe - my photo of the month for June 2016
Some other rare butterflies featured prominently on my travels in June. A visit to Kent on business provided the opportunity to catch up with Heath Fritillaries in the Blean Woods, while Small Pearl-bordered and Marsh Fritillaries were on the wing closer to home in Dorset. A beautiful but fussy family with particular habitat requirements, all facing long-term decline, though the Marsh Fritillaries are at least doing well on the chalk in Dorset. A bit of moth-trapping in our Wareham garden also made for some family fun, a monster Privet Hawk being the highlight.
Small Pearl-Bordered Fritillary, Purbeck
Marsh Fritillary, Cerne Abbas
Heath Fritillary, Blean Woods
Mid-month  saw the whole family heading to Norfolk in a campervan for the weekend, and an opportunity to add Great Knot to my British list followed by a fry-up in the van - twitching in style! It was good to be able to combine some birding with some family time, though getting them up in the morning proved a challenge - the Great Knot was only seen thanks to an early morning lift from Dave Bradnum while they were all still in bed. Cheers Dave.
Great Knot, Titchwell Beach, Norfolk: bird of the month for June
Red-backed Shrike - a smart male snapped whilst in Kent
Privet Hawkmoth in our Wareham garden

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