Sunday, 15 May 2016

Greater Spotted Cuckoo @ Portland Bill + Brown Agus @ Newton St Loe !

14th + 15th May 2016
Location: Patch (Newton St Loe) plus Portland Bill and Cerne Abbas
Weather: Blue Skies, Temp 16-22c
Other Species: 
On Patch: House Martins, Barn Swallow, Yellowhammer, Whitethroats, Skylark - Of Note.
Brown Argus, Brimstone, Small White, Large White, Peacock.
Portland Bill: Greater Spotted Cuckoo, Kestrel, Skylark,
Red Admiral - (Flying Visit)
Cerne Abbas: Duke of Burgundy, Dingy Skipper, Grizzled Skipper, Green Hairstreak, Small Heath, Small White, Large White, Orange Tip, Peacock + Red Legged Partridge.

Our blog starts on Saturday, while waiting to go to work the blue skies were calling couldn't watch crap TV, so headed out round patch. Starting on Sunnybank just inside Bath Mill the hill was alive with Butterflies - Brimstones, Small White, Large Whites and Orange Tips.

Walking out along brook and chatting to another local telling me stories of 3 Otters at 5.30am!! I can see a early start coming very soon! Carrying on up to fields the normal Whitethroats, Yellowhammers and Skylark all present. At Village Martins and Barn Swallows all making visits to the muddy puddles collecting nesting mud.
These 2 doing a bit of mating as well !

Such colourful birds !

After checking out lakes with nothing new headed back to Sunnybank this Peacock looking wonderful !

But spotted this my first thought was a Common Blue which would have been great as first for the year but.......

On closer inspection I'm thinking Brown Argus. Spots on the leading edge of the hind-wing are close in the Brown Argus, almost forming a "figure of eight", but are more spaced apart in the Common Blue. Also it's missing spot on fore wing !

So a new patch butterfly tick Whoohoo! Unless any one tells me otherwise ?!

Day Two: After working till 3am and then waking at 10 am i could hear the call of the Greater Spotted Cuckoo ! 
Was gonna go to Cerne Abbas Anyway but Weymouth is on the way isn't it ?

After the bird has been spending time on Reap Lane I headed that way only to check Twitter and find it was now very mobile on Lower Hut fields by the Obs, so parked up and walked down over fields. Only 3 people looking from road into obs garden when I got there but almost immediately saw the bird! Sun was head on and bird was distant and nearly always hidden but it was without a doubt a Greater Spotted Cuckoo !

This my best, well it was 250ft away my little 400mm not quite up to it but nice,
job done !

Walking back up to Van saw this stunning Red Admiral.
The other part of my trip was forgot my wallet, food, coffee and was running very low on fuel! Must have been still asleep when I left! O well off to Cerne Abbas.

On arriving, bit more cloud in the skies but plenty of Grizzled Skipper and Dingy Skipper about, I particularly like the Grizzled skipper a smart butterfly.

On walking along the Cerne Giants hillside soon spotted a Duke Of Burgundy in fact spotted 4 individuals on this trip.

A Dingy nicely perched.

But main target was the Duke incidentally my name sake (Named after John Wayne )
A cracking butterfly.

Did the circuit walking along hillside a few times but couldn't find any Marsh Fritillary but did spot this Small Heath.

Last Duke of Burgundy, but come on, a beauty !

Then while walking back along saw a Red Legged Partridge skulking its way up the hillside, saw 2 more at farm on return to van.
 So all in all a great couple of days Patch tick (Brown Argus) and a Life Tick 
(Greater Spotted Cuckoo)

Thanks For Looking !

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