24 Apr 2019

28 Apr 19 - Dotted Bee Fly

I can still remember being shown my first Bee Fly (or Dark-edged Bee Fly to be more precise) at Farley Mount, Hampshire back in late May 1984. It was an excellent looking Insect. In those days, I was doing a lot of Birding, as well as, looking at Butterflies & Moths when the Birding turned quiet with my good mate John Chainey. More recently I've become aware there are three other species of Bee Flies that occur in the UK: Dotted Bee Fly, Heath Bee Fly and Western Bee Fly. I've only seen Bee Fly and Dotted Bee Fly, but I've normally seen them when I've not had a camera with me. Finally, I was pleased to see a Bee Fly sp. in my garden for the first time on 22 Apr 19. But it had disappeared by the time I grabbed the camera from the house. At the time, I thought it Bee Fly. Just under a week later, I saw another Bee Fly sp. & this time, it was still there when I grabbed the camera. This turned out to be a Dotted Bee Fly. As it was only the second garden record of the genus & only a few days after the initial sighting, then the first sighting had to be downgraded to Bee Fly sp.
Dotted Bee Fly: All four species have this excellent proboscis. The chestnut and black body and the dark spots on the views identify as a Dotted Bee Fly and the line of white spots on the abdomen indicates it's a female
There is an excellent short identification paper on the four Bee Fly species here.

1 Apr 2019

1 Apr 19 - Rare 'Scottish' Migrant Roosting At Corfe Castle

The local roads have been very busy over the last couple of weekends as there were many people arriving to twitch the rare 'Scottish' migrant that has recently arrived in the Swanage & Corfe Castle area. I managed to see it on 22 Mar before it left its Swanage roost. Therefore, I felt I could avoid the clogged up local roads over that weekend. After a few days, it moved a new roost site at Corfe Castle. With the clock change, there was the opportunity to have another look after work, as it roosted at Corfe Castle. I had heard it was visible from the platform of the Corfe Castle station.
Corfe Castle: This is my favourite station on the local heritage railway line
Walking to the end of the platform, I found a family had already found the roost site.
Flying Scotsman: She will be at Corfe Castle until 10 Apr
Flying Scotsman: A closer view
The last time the Flying Scotsman visited the Swanage heritage line was 1994 which helped to explain why the visit was particularly well received.
Flying Scotsman: Swanage (22 Mar 19)
It was good to see this impressive & icon steam engine, which was the first British train to exceed 100 mph, in the local area. Hopefully, it will help to generate some additional funds for the heritage railway.
One of the other heritage line trains pulls out of Swanage: With that amount of smoke it's not a bad thing that we have switched to cleaner trains, away from the heritage lines (22 Mar 19)