Sunday 26 November 2017

Finch finding

I mentioned recently that the Hawfinch invasion was in danger of passing me by - I finally caught up with one last weekend on a visit to friends in Kent but had still yet to see one at home in Dorset, so I set out this morning with the aim of doing just that. Several sites seem to be holding Hawfinch since they arrived but Bonsley Wood near Blandford Forum sounded like one of the most reliable so I headed there. I bumped into one of these chunky, short-tailed birds before I got to the main wood, a few more whilst there, and even more on the way back, confirming the impression formed from recent reports that they can be seen just about anywhere in suitable habitat at the moment. Brambling, Redpoll and Bullfinch were also in the wood, an enjoyable couple of hours in a location I hadn't checked out before.
Hawfinch, Bonsley Wood
This head-on view shows the bulk of a Hawfinch bill
Side view of the impressive bill
The best flight shot I could manage - note the curled tips to the primaries can just be seen on the edge of the folded wing
A few Brambling were in with the Chaffinch flock in Bonsley Wood
Grey Wagtail, Bonsley Wood
Bullfinch last weekend at Sissinghurst in Kent
Fieldfare, Sissinghurst, Kent
Fieldfare, Sissinghurst
Mistle Thrush in Yew at Igtham Mote, Kent
Redwing, Sissinghurst
Nuthatch, Sissinghurst

Thursday 16 November 2017


Busy, time for blogging...some photos from the last few weeks...but not getting out much lately...Hawfinch invasion passing me by...can't win an argument at home because every time I get close they play the 'Shetland' joker...etc etc.
The Red Admiral is having a great year - I saw one at Wareham station this morning but this one on Ivy was taken last weekend at Middlebere
Kingfisher at Lodmoor
An obliging individual
Always brightens a dull day
A long-staying Lesser Yellowlegs at Lodmoor 
The second I have seen this year in Dorset....
...after another long staying bird at Lytchett last winter
Avocet are returning to Middlebere in numbers
A Middlebere Merlin put the waders to flight
A dashing male
Rare to get such a good view
Yellow-legged Gull also at Middlebere
Like the Merlin it was intimidating the waders

Sunday 5 November 2017


Since returning from Shetland I haven't been out much - penance for all that time away from the family - but being house-bound has meant plenty of time to road test a new moth trap: a dinky, portable little number from Anglian Lepidoptera Supplies. My small urban garden, surrounded by street lights, badly over-grazed by guinea pigs and under-managed by their owners, never looks too promising for moths, but periodic trapping sessions over the past couple of years suggest otherwise. The latest visitor lured by the light last weekend was one of the most attractive - the Merveille du Jour, an exquisite creature highly sought after by moth-lovers. Stand by for more house-bound highlights in the coming days and months...
Merveille du Jour
A beautiful, cryptic moth

The caterpillar feeds on oaks
I took this in full sunlight which brought out the colours nicely

Another smart moth attracted to the new light was this Black Rustic