7th – 15th August – other wildlife and a few social events.   Leave a comment

There has been a lot going on this week, too much for a single post, so here is a selection of other (non-bird) wildlife that I have been seeing plus a few family pictures.

There have been worries that Butterfly numbers were crashing following the last couple of bad summers but, in spite of the dreadful spring, the heat wave this summer seems to have turned things around and many species have been abundant.


A buddleia bush at Durlston has hosted many species, including Dark-green Fritilary but the only species I got a reasonable shot of was this Small Tortoiseshell.


Also in the Durlston garden was this Southern Hawker Dragonfly (thanks for the info Nick)


By far the best area for butterflies was Alner’s Gorse in north Dorset which visited late morning on Saturday. This common species is a Peacock.


The Comma


Small Copper


Small White and Gatekeeper


Silver-washed Fritilary


A Ruddy Darter dragonfly


The very common Speckled Wood.


But it is these last two quite rare butterflies that we came to see – a Brown Hairstreak


and White-letter Hairstreak.

Although I have probably seen most of the small mammals that occur in the UK (except I suppose the Orkney Vole) I am not 100% sure that I have identified them correctly as views of mice, voles and shrews are often so brief. Thus when the Dorset Mammal Group, of which I am a member ran a small mammal trapping session as part of the Durlston Bioblitz, I was there at 0630 to see them empty the traps.


The Durlston Bioblitz wasn’t the only event going on that morning. A fund raising walk from Durlston to Lulworth in aid of Help For Heroes meant that there were buses full of contestants, stands and music playing all at 7 in the morning.


This is a Longworth trap for the live trapping of small mammals. 24 baited traps were placed in the Durlston garden overnight by DMG but in the morning 20 have been opened up and raided and four had vanished. No small mammals were found.


They also laid out tunnels with white paper and an ink pad to record footprints. The culprit is clearly a Badger, the black smear lower right is caused by its tail. Note some mouse footprints along the lower edge of the paper.


The group eagerly gathered around a laptop to see what had been recorded on the remote infra-red cameras.


Nothing we didn’t know already, it was Badgers that nicked all the bait and wrecked the traps. Apparently the final score on the cameras was three Badgers, one Fox and a tabby.


Also as part of the Bioblitz weekend Durlston staff ran several moth traps. About 100 species were identified including this beautiful Garden Tiger.

And finally for a few non-wildlife related shots.


How ever busy I am with wildlife related events I always make sure I have some time for the family. Here Kara attempts to show that she can go to sleep upside down.


Kara and Amber have their friend from Southampton, Francesca, staying for a few days. They met Francesca when they first came to the UK and went to school in 2002. Once more the kids feel obliged to make faces whenever a camera appears.


Anita and John have joined a ‘spiritual group’ who were having a beach BBQ at Boscombe. Unlike the last such BBQ it was cool and windy and we didn’t stay long. Anita, and her friend Donna, Janis and Margaret are in the foreground. Whilst they are all very nice people, I don’t share the group’s spiritual beliefs, as I tend to believe that phenomena need to be examined as part of a controlled, double-blind trial published in a reputable peer-reviewed journal before they are acceptable as fact. Perhaps I need in the words of the late, great Douglas Adams ‘an electronic monk to do my believing for me’ maybe even the deluxe version that is ‘capable of believing things they wouldn’t believe in Salt Lake City’ !

Posted August 16, 2013 by gryllosblog in Uncategorized

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