2nd July

Summer scarcities haven't exactly been coming thick and fast so a Serin that showed up for a while this morning in and around the Obs garden was a welcome if somewhat more routine than hoped oddity. New arrivals were otherwise limited to 3 Sand Martins, 2 Little Egrets, a Yellow-legged Gull, a Yellow Wagtail and a Chiffchaff at or overhead at the Bill, where 300 Manx Shearwaters were lingering or passing offshore.

This morning's Serin © Martin Cade:

Thanks to the diligent fieldwork of Will Langdon we had a chance this week to reacquaint ourselves with something that ought to be one of Portland's most iconic natural inhabitants but, by virtue of its tiny size and obscure habits, is hardly known outside a small circle of keen lepidopterists: for a long time Richardson's Case-bearer Eudarcia richardsoni was known only from Portland - where it was first discovered new to science in the late 1800s - and a site near Swanage, although latterly it has also been found at a couple of spots in central Europe. The larval cases of the moth aren't too hard to find on the underside of rocks on the scree slopes below the east and west sides of the island where they eek out an existence feeding on lichens through the autumn and winter; however, seeing the adults isn't at all straightforward: we've found them in the past flitting about in evening sunshine amongst fair-sized chasms between huge boulders at the base of the scree slopes but Will's sightings this week were of individuals over the scree slopes themselves right on or soon after dusk when they were illuminated by torch-light © Martin Cade:

...We can well imagine that this species might have escaped detection altogether were it not for the skills and tenacity of Nelson Richardson, in whose honour the species is named. Richardson was one of the great Victorian-era micro-lepidopterists who, together with his wife Helen, discovered the majority of the indigenous specialities of the island in just a few years of fieldwork during the 1890s. If that weren't enough he even managed to excavate and also have named in his honour a new species of dinosaur that he discovered near his home in Weymouth - they were certainly all-rounders in those days!