It was meant to be another pleasant day, though cool in the morning, but the wind had picked up again and this was the issue of the day. I slept in after an exhausting day yesterday, so the number of moths was quite low again, with a female four-spot footman being the main highlight.
Since the weather was still reasonably unsuitable for insects I decided to go to RSPB Arne where there was a chance of some birds, as well as some insects. As soon as I arrived I was treated to a rummage through the onsite moth trap. The highlight was an Elephant Hawkmoth, but it was in too much of an inconvenient position to photograph. Other goodies were a plenty though, including 3 footman species and some other nice specimens.
-True Lovers Knot
As I arrived I immediately heard a nightjar churring, which filled me with hope of possibly finding a day churrer. However, that did not occur, which was only a mild disappointment, as there were plenty of other nice birds on site. Of course, the Middlebere channel Spoonbills were a must see. They spent a lot of time sleeping and were distant, but woke up occasionally allowing me to appreciate that bill. Whilst watching them it was lovely to see large families of Shelduck and a flock of Black-tailed Godwits in the saltmarsh. Other none coastal birds included a nice hobby hunting over the heath, which was also distant and all too brief, and a Siskin on the feeders in the car park .While they have hardly been in short supply it was nice to be able to see one properly as opposed to a calling black speck.
Perhaps the most curious and fantastic addition to the bird day list was a stunning male Peacock strutting around the car park, picking off the cinnabar moth caterpillars from the ragwort along the edge. Apparently it was quite a show-off but sadly did not perform while I was there.
Despite the wind there were still a few insects around, the best of them being from the Lepidoptera. Across the heathland paths I stumbled across two Emperor Moth caterpillars trying to cross the path, which allowed me to take some photos of these stunning caterpillars. Also on that note, today I saw my first ever Clearwing Moth, a female Yellow Legged Clearwing to be precise, which is apparently nationally scarce. Not a bad one to get myself started with on the clearwing moths.
-Emperor Moth Caterpillar
-Yellow-Legged Clearwing Moth
Of course the speciality of Arne is Britain’s largest spider, the raft spider, but sadly none would perform for me today. I did however spot a rather nice Nursery Web Spider, which I opted to take some photos of. I also grabbed some photos of a very obliging Common Lizard which was basking adjacent to the pool. I flushed it initially, but by waiting it did not take long for it to come back.
-Nursery Web Spider
I left Arne at around half 4, after a very productive day. In the evening we went into Weymouth for a walk alongside the quay and to have some fish and chips. No meds this time, but I was able to hand feed some of the adult Herring Gulls with my chips, which was something of a novelty.
Arne RSPB: Grey Heron, Siskin, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Swift, Meadow Pipit, Spoonbill, Little Egret, Shelduck, Black-Headed Gull, Canada Goose, Graylag Goose, Oystercatcher, Black-Tailed Godwit, Dartford Warbler, Common Buzzard, Herring Gull, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Curlew, Cormorant, Redshank, Swallow, Great Black-Backed Gull, Starling, Blackcap, Wren, Willow Warbler, Hobby, Stonechat, Green Woodpecker, Common Lizard, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Comma, Painted Lady, Small Red Damselfly, Emperor Dragonfly, Four Spot Chaser,