Thursday 11 June 2020

Early June...

Something went seriously awry with the first few days of June, with loads of good birds accidentally thinking it was still May. Things seem to have quietened down a bit now though, so here's a quick catch-up post...

Pyramidal Orchid

I took that photo on June 2nd. I know very little about plants, but of the several Pyramidal Orchids I've come across, this is by far the biggest in terms of flower size. I've even had a quick look online to see if maybe I've just been seeing exceptionally tiny ones, but no, most of them seem to be a lot smaller than this. I found it again yesterday afternoon...

It's a whopper!
In situ. Most Pyramidal Orchids I see are like the one behind.

Perhaps any botanisers who read this might be kind enough to tell me if I'm getting excited over nothing, but in the meantime... Wow! What a monster!

Also yesterday, my first Marbled Whites of 2020, and an evil fly...

Marbled White. I was pleased that it landed on a white flower. Subtle beauty.

Female Horsefly sp.

This beast of a horsefly looked like a giant cleg, which are one of the things I like least about summer. For some reason the poxy things love me, and a bite from one usually feels like being stabbed with a needle. I dread to think what a bite from this horror would feel like. A Twitter ID request came back with Tabanus Bovinus, or Pale Giant Horsefly. Obviously I know no better.

And while I'm still on non-birdy stuff...

Marsh Frog, West Bexington

And so to birds. Apart from jaw-dropping moments of the shrikey kind, birding has mostly been very slow and predictable. So much so that I found myself slightly excited when a nice Tufted Duck photo-opportunity arose at West Bexington...

You can tell I don't see that many Tufties.

One recent highlight was discovering that at least two Corn Buntings appear to be on territory at East Bexington. I have no idea if this is a regular thing, but as a birder who spent many years in Corn Bunting-starved East Devon, it has pleased me very much...

Corn Bunting, East Bexington

Yesterday I once again learned the value of taking my recorder out with me. I came across a Cetti's Warbler calling from a dense thicket, including the excellent 'machine-gun' rattle. So I spent a few minutes alongside the scrub, recorder in hand. It actually sounded like two or more birds, and I wondered if it was a family party. When I got home I discovered something I hadn't heard at all in the field - loads and loads of high-pitched notes among the usual calls. A bit of research soon told me that these were begging calls, so yes indeed, it was definitely a family party. Without the sonogram I would never have known. Here is a spectrovid of 22 seconds-worth, with some of the high-pitched begging calls included. A good test of your hearing - some notes on the recording were simply too high for my ears to detect! Those presented on this spectrovid I can just about hear...

And to close, a photo taken on Monday evening from Freshwater Beach, between West Bay and Burton Bradstock, looking west...



  1. You do get monster orchids from time to time. I've seen it with Bee Orchid before (taller, more flowers than usual)... but at first I thought this might even be a hybrid with, e g Southern Marsh Orchid. The second photo has more of a SMO colour about it... but I think that must be processing or light conditions as the first photo looks the right colour for Pyramidal. Nothing else about it suggests hybrid so it really is 'just' a Pyramidal... but what a whopper!

    1. Thanks Ken, that's good to know. The whopper is surrounded by several other Pyramidals in a little patch. I think the colour in yesterday's photos is down to dull conditions and/or processing, as you say.

  2. Those giant horsefly things are really scary - we had one here on Galley a few summers ago on the house window - mahoosive! Apparently their bites can hospitalise....

    1. I think I was very brave, risking my life with the macro setting. One slip, and it would have had me... 😊

  3. The says I've spent by a river and the only bite I got was from a horse fly. Not my favourite insect by a long shot.

    Lovely shot of the Jurassic coast -hasn't helped my lock down at all. :o)

    1. Horseflies. Their appearance in profuse numbers always seemed to coincide with the start of the river season. I've spent a few early-summer days sweating in a thick, long-sleeved top because of their attentions.

      Yes, I am so fortunate to have this beautiful coastline on my doorstep. Dorset is so much more than Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door. 😊