Portland Pan Species Weekend

June 15, 2015 in Holiday and Trip Reports by Simon Horsnall

Just returned from a weekend on Portland blitzing the area’s wildlife.  Result was 94 ticks with some still to ID.  Pick of the pics below:

Ammophilus pubescens, a tenebrionid beetle which appears to be associated  with Thrift.  Found on Chesil Beach.


Bloody-nosed Beetle, Timarcha tenebricosa, my favourite Chrysomelid.  Bumbling around Church Ope



Dwarf Spurge, a tiny plant about 5 – 7 cm high.  Found at Church Ope






Common Broomrape, growing in profusion at Chesil Beach.  We also found the very similar Ivy Broomrape.




Greater Sea Spurrey, growing among the shingle on Chesil Beach






Hairy-fruited Cornsalad, growing at Church Ope.  Distinguished by the shape of its seed pods.




Haresfoot Clover, not a particularly interesting plant but it had been on my want list for a while so I’m putting it in here.




My second favourite moth from the trap: Small Elephant Hawkmoth (Cream Spot Tiger was by far the best).  With an L-album Wainscot muscling in on the upper left corner.



Portland Spurge, the 4th Euphorbia of the trip growing at Church Ope.



Sea Clover, growing at Chesil Beach



Small Scabious, distinguished by the black “eyelashes” between the florets.  Growing at Church Ope



For comparison, Field Scabious ticked on the way home at Corfe Castle (where I’d stopped for Lulworth Skipper which was a good tick but not a good photo)



Wall Lizard at Church Ope, one of several naturalised colonies around the southern UK


Included this individual who had clearly had an accident at some point in his life.


Shrubby Sea Blight, a monstrous plant growing at Chesil Beach and home to the lichen Caloplacha suadae.



Bird Magasines – Free to a good home

April 3, 2013 in Featured, Latest News by ChrisLuv

Hi all,

I have two or three large piles of Birdwatching, Birds Illustrated and British Birds from the 90′s if anyone is interested in taking them. It’d be a shame to see them in the tip.

Message me or reply here and I’ll get in touch.


Power Ticking At Bennerley

October 22, 2012 in The Bennerley Birders Pages by Bennerley

Got a phone call from Mick Leatherhead reporting Whooper Swans at Bennerley, so rushed over just to see seven Whooper Swans getting up and flying off over the viaduct, still, they were on the ground when I first saw them ! I’ve seen Whooper’s fly over quite a few times but never on the ground and I think it’s been a long time since anyone else has, an excellent “tick” for Bennerley !

Two more “ticks”  on the way home, Snipe and Jack Snipe, plus a few regulars, so not bad for an hours birding !

A wander to erewash meadows and back.

September 29, 2012 in Latest Patch Sightings by colin penny

An interesting walk from home to the aldercar end of the resevre and back, mainly by the fact that 4 different species of butterflies were found.

butterflies seen, red admiral, small tortoiseshell (at two different locations), speckled wood and a tatty holly blue ( i think).

oh and also seen around the reserve, mallard, wigeon, shoveler, kestrel, buzzard, pied wagtail and grey wagtail, lapwing and of course wood pigeon.

cheers colin.

A tatty holly blue at erewash meadows

Holly blue

Red admiral found on waste ground near to langley mill station

Small tortoiseshell found on waste ground next to the raiway at the back of asda langley mill

To bennerley and back

September 15, 2012 in Latest Patch Sightings by colin penny

Set off from home down and across the butterfly field and took the sight of speckled wood’s flying about and a chiffchaff singing at 8.30am as a good sign in my quest to find the black darter at bennerley.From there headed across the fields to the erewash canal and crossed into nottinghamshire via bridge 26 to join the erewash trail. Followed this all the way down to the edge of the bennerley site before heading across to the 3 small ponds under the viaduct area. Meet up with simon and karl who were also hoping to find the black darter, Despite spotting common darter and migrant hawker and spending over an hour in the area we failed to spot the dragon(left karl and simon still looking it probadly turned up after i left !). I then headed back over the erewash with the dog in tow were a pair of kingfisher passed underneath  heading downstream. after passing over the railway bridge i joined the canal and headed for home back along the erewash trail, when we reached eastwood lock we cut across the fields to the river erewash. while cossing the feilds we came across a dead little owl(hope its not the i photo’d back in june), the bird seemed fairly intact bar the fact it was missing a leg no other signs of damage appeared to be present. After reaching the river we headed alongside for a while before crossing it below the water treatment works and heading for home.

P.S lily the lurcher is now fast asleep.

Swallow's and martins warming in the morning sun near the water treatment works

Pied wagtail which was winding up the swallows and house martins


Red admiral catching some rays

Speckled wood seem to be about in quite good numbers

A very dead little owl found near eastwood lock

the poor owl only had one leg can only presume this is the cause of death to this lovely little bird.

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by PaulS

A Cycle Along The Manifold Way.

September 2, 2012 in Holiday and Trip Reports by PaulS

Took the bikes for a spin today along the Manifold Way.

This former railway line is a pleasant 8 miles long and runs between Waterhouses and Hulme End in the glorious Peak District. It was operated between 1904 & 1934 when it carried mainly milk from the many dairies in the area. At its peak, cheese making in this area was famed for its quality and no less than 7 varieties of cheese were regularly shipped to Harrods and other high class establishments in London. Sadly nowadays no dairies remain. For those that can remember the foot and mouth outbreak of 2001 you may recall footpaths were closed to stop the disease spreading. The Manifold Way was the only footpath that remained open in the Peak District! So on to the ride. We started at Waterhouses, where you’ll find toilets, snacks and cycle hire.

There’s no point describing the route as its linear and I defy anyone to get lost on it!! Suffice to say it’s relatively flat all the way on good surfaced paths.

The trail follows the rivers Hamps & Manifold. Both rivers can look dry in places but this is because they flow naturally underground unless in spate.

The waters there, you just can’t see it.

A river of vegetation. Quite a surreal site. You’ll soon reach sections with water in though and these are great spots to look out for Dippers.

If you’re thinking of going with the family the trail is particularly good as there are numerous places to stop for refreshments, never more than a couple of miles apart.

In fact it really isn’t a trail to race along. Just travel along at a nice relaxing pace and take in the views.

Allison wants one of these trailers to travel in :)

After a few miles along the Hamps you join up with the Manifold. This river has cut some spectacular limestone cliffs in its time.

This one is Beeston Tor. Popular with climbers for many years and more recently Peregrine Falcons.

As I said earlier the route is well served with stops and if you don’t fancy the whole route you can stop at various points along it. One of the most popular is Wetton Mill. This National Trust owned property (no charge) is a cracking little cafe and a great place for the kids to feed the ducks whilst you watch the Dippers that nest near here.

Just before you hit Wetton Mill you pass one of the highlights of the route, Thor’s Cave.

This magnificent cave was home to humans some 10,ooo years ago. You can walk up to have a closer look or if you’re not that energetic you can get all the info of the interpretation board.

It’s also one of the few sites in the area where Northern Brown Argus Butterflies can be found.

At Wetton Mill there’s an option for a bit of “off roading” with a bridleway running along the opposite bank of the river.

This a little rougher than the trail and has some sharp climbs but also reveals a close look at one of the many disused copper mines in the area.

Copper was mined at Ecton for over 3500 years ceasing in 1891. In its heyday in the 1800′s it was the most profitable copper mine in the world and the Duke Of Devonshire, who owned it at the time, made vast sums of money from it. You can climb Ecton Hill and see the old workings.

Ecton Hill

Back Of Ecton.

Just after Ecton Hill you pass through a large area of Rosebay Willowherb. Look out for Hawkmoth Catterpillars.

Your nearly at Hulme End now. Another former station there’s a visitors centre, toilets and a super little cafe. We had lunch here. Allison had the leek and cheese flan and I had the cheese platter. All enjoyed whilst watching the dvd on display of the birds of Tittesworth Res.

Fully refueled all that was required was to turn tail and head for home. And the way home was made more the enjoyable as we were accompanied by a pair of Buzzards for much of the way!!


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by PaulS

A Gathering Of Dragonflies.

August 19, 2012 in Latest Sightings by PaulS

Had a walk over Ockbrook way this afternoon and came across a sight I’ve never seen before. In the corner of a field (I’ll mark it on the map) were at least 18 Hawker Dragonflies (mixture of Emerald and Southern I think) all flying around together. There was a small patch of Thistle on one side of the path and bramble on the other. The field in this corner is unused but there is wheat further up. A really unusual sight and one I wondered if anyone else had come across.

Something else unexpected to. The allotments just outside Ockbrook were having an open day and we were invited in and got free, yes FREE tea and home made (totally delicious) cake. A rare day indeed.

A surprise, then some mothing in the garden

August 19, 2012 in ChrisLuv's Birding Blog, Latest Patch Sightings by ChrisLuv

A warm day yesterday, I went out with my lad pond dipping in Kimberley (didn’t find more than a few little fishes) and then a long walk (for him), naturally taking in a local hostelry on the way. We did see a lovely Hedgehog on the way home though which was a fantastic surprise, its the first one George has ever seen and we got really close up views.

After the hot day and with clear skies I decided that a bit of mothing might be in order, so I set up my bright studio photography lights and attached a photography umbrella, I’d never tried this set up before but thought it might pull in a few more than the bog standard outside lights I normally use.

Well it did the trick, over the course of the evening I had 3 Willow beauty, 2 unidentified Noctuidae (see below), a Large Yellow Underwing (I think, it didn’t settle), several Common Footman, 3 Marbled Beauty and a few other unidentified.

I grabbed a few in lunch boxes, and, luckily the missus didn’t check what was in them, so they were still there this afternoon for some photography. Photographing moths isn’t easy, they are flighty little swines, but I set up a little “studio” by the window for some natural light (and added some of my own light) and had a blast at grabbing some images.

First the set up:

As you can see its nothing special, a speedlight off-camera right and a studio light off-camera right, with the natural light through the window adding a little. I set the SB600 speedlight to trigger from the flash on the camera and set it to Manual (1/2 sec), with the camera adding its on camera flash at (1/16). I set the camera at around F16 – F25 and a 1/200 exposure (the fastest you can get with synced flash). I was using my Sigma 105mm F2.8 macro lens. I put the moths on some glossy photopaper to provide a whie reflective background. So with all those details out the way here are the results:

First a Marbled Beauty:

Next a Willow Beauty, a great angle to catch those wonderful whiskered antennae on the male:

Finally my first unidentified Noctuidae:

What? Simon wants a better shot for ID, well here’s some slightly easier shots of both unidentified Noctuidae to help:

I’m being lazy with these two if I’m honest, Moth ID isn’t a skill I’ve mastered yet (particularly for the Noctuidae) but any help appreciated.

Finally, here’s some less appealing shots of a couple of unidentified ones from outside:

Both of these I should know but, again, some pointers would be useful.

Hope you’ve enjoyed.

Sunday morning stroll !

August 5, 2012 in Latest Patch Sightings by colin penny

Set of from home and headed down the footpath to langley mill chruch and up past the back of asda to get to cromford road before heading along plumtree road to the erewash nature reserve. After a circuit of the aldercar end of the resevre headed back down cromford road to mr tyre and cut right onto a footpath along the back of the flour mill before joing the erewash canal at the basin, along the canal to just past the water treament works before heading back across the fields and the butterfly field and back home for a well deserved cuppa with one tired dog.

Birds spotted, house sparrow, collared dove,swift,starling,blackbird,crow,goldfinch,wood pigeon,blue tit,green woodpecker,great spotted woodpecker(several),magpie,pied wagtail(6 spotted on queen street rec in langley mill),swallow,chiffchaff,wren,great tit,whitethroat,house martin,song thrush,greylag goose(42),coot,meadow pipit(4),kingfisher,cormorant,mallard(40+),reed bunting,moorhen,black headed gull,jay,chaffinch,mute swan,lesser black backed gull,long tailed tit,and dunnock.

Butterflies, gatekeeper(4),green veined white(1),ringlet(1),meadow brown(6),and comma (1).

cheers colin.

comma butterfly

a bit of a tatty looking comma butterfly

Wandering round the valley

July 17, 2012 in Latest Patch Sightings by colin penny

Set of from home across my butterfly field to join the erewash trail at anchor lane after passing over the erewash canal, headed down the trial to cotmanhay and back around the erewash canal passing a police diving team at shipley lock(didn’t ask what they were doing). Continued along the canal before cutting across the fields and the over erewash and back onto milnhay road and back to home.

Birds spotted,wood pigeon,blackbird,starling,house sparrow,collared dove,meadow pipit,swift,house martin,black headed gull,crow,magpie,mute swan(7) spotted along the erewash canal,chiffchaff,great tit,dunnock,green woodpecker(3 as a group),a pair of jay’s,whitethroat,wren,goldfinch(lots),swallow,reed bunting,cormorant(overhead),coot,moorhen,mallard,bullfinch.

Butterflies. meadow brown,ringlet,small heath,skipper small i think, and 5 spot burnett moth.

Several brown hawkers in the chat corner area and an odd banded damoiselle also spotted on the erewash river banks.

Fish in the erewash canal,roach,chub,pike,stickleback,and bream.

And for the trainspotter’s (yes i’ve done this in the past) 56311 and 56312 north on wagons.

cheers colin.

small skipper ?

six chub in the canal one with a war wound near eastwood lock