Archive for Jul, 2019


No Picnic at Hanging Rock

Imagine a winter’s day on the Norfolk coast with a sticky drizzle and a treetop swaying wind. That’s what it was like at Hanging Rock here in Victoria.

Back in Australia again for a while.

I know of one couple who moved to Victoria from the UK. They moved again within a year to Queensland; they thought the weather in Victoria far too much like Britain. I guess that story struck a chord when Tania and I visited Hanging Rock a week or so ago. We sat in the cafe for a while but it was warmer outside in the rain. I was bloody cold. It was no picnic that’s for sure. Maybe I shouldn’t have packed so many pairs of shorts!!

Hanging Rock has become very popular since Joan Lindsey wrote her book. It has now been greatly ‘touristified’ with parking for many hundreds and tarmac tracks to the rock itself; although it’s still possible to find a few wild places. Eastern Grey Kangaroos were easy to find and the big Eucalypts had Australian Wood Ducks perched up on the big ‘Widow-making’ branches. The whole rock and surrounding area was inhabited by numerous flocks of White Browed Scrubwrens. Such a variable bird this; several races cover the southern edge of the continent – each with its own slight variation.

The ones here were of the race ‘frontalis



Lizards Galore

We were treated to some spectacular sightings of one of our rarest reptiles this month. We were able to watch and study Sand Lizards for quite some time. One of four species of Lizard seen on the Jurassic Coast Tour. Bookings for next year now open.




We found ourselves on the path dividing two Dartford Warbler territories in Dorset earlier this month. They were having a ‘sing off’ against each other. That proved beneficial to us as they showed extremely well.


National Whale and Dolphin Watch 2019

Every year for nine days in late July, Sea Watch Foundation look to wildlife enthusiasts all around the UK to support National Whale and Dolphin Watch, a citizen science project organized by the Sea Watch Foundation now in its 18th year. Volunteers hope to catch a glimpse of whales, dolphins and porpoises visiting the seas around the British Isles. The event this year is taking place nationally from Saturday 27th July until Sunday 4th August 2019 and it marks the long-lasting collaboration between citizen scientists, wildlife enthusiasts, the general public and researchers alike to further our knowledge about cetaceans within UK waters.

I shall be organising a local watch on Sunday 4th August. Everyone is welcome to come and join me on the day between 10am and 3pm to see what we can find in the sea off Overstrand in Norfolk. If you can spare an hour or more to help me I’d be appreciative. 

Please join me at the broken bench on the eastern slope of the promenade at Overstrand anytime between 10am and 3pm. Park on Clifton Way NR27 0NG and walk down the promenade to the sea. The lonely little soul looking through a telescope will be me! I look forward to seeing you.


Picnic Tern

Dorset has to be the best place in the UK for photographing Sandwich Terns! Some great sightings on the recent Jurassic Coast Tour.


Wildcatch Photography

Just a reminder that my photos are published on the ‘Wildcatch Photography’ site. The the ones from this year can be seen within the latest section at



Dragons in the air and Dragons at our feet

In Dorset at the moment leading the ‘Birds and Wildlife of the Jurassic Coast’ Tour.

This Wall Lizard was caught unawares as it ran out from underneath our feet; posing beautifully for photographs. Other dragons have been flying around us as we walked over the heaths with great views of Keeled Skimmers among many others.

Lots of butterflies, and I mean lots; including Lulworth Skippers. Orchids are having a good year here with Musk Orchid being at the top of our list on the tour for sure. Moths yesterday were seen in droves with good views of both large and small Elephant Hawkmoths, Privet Hawkmoth, Hummingbird Hawkmoths with Scarlet and Jersey Tigers putting in an appearance. Even the sea got in on the act and gave us a pod of 30 Bottlenose Dolphins to celebrate our arrival.

Birds haven’t disappointed either with Dartford Warblers and an evening visit to a local heath giving great views of five Nightjar around us in the air together.

Next years tour is already open for bookings. Full itinerary is available at




Walking from a melody of Blackcaps staccatoed with Chiffchaff and soft Bullfinch wheezes, the song changed to enticing Woodlarks and grating Dartfords.

There was still a chill in the air on the coast with just the hint of a sea fret. Further inland the temperature was ten degrees higher. Here on the heath it smelt of honeysuckle and gorse. A sort of sweet coconut heady mix. The purple drifts of heather were eye catching.

It didn’t take me long to find the first Silver Studded Blue Butterfly. Then another … and another. Despite the low cloud the sun was fighting to break through. Each time it did butterflies rose from the heather. All, apart from a hasty passing Painted lady, were Silver Studs.

Photographing these beauties is never easy. They stay low. Scrambling about on all fours our legs were soon scratched and bleeding from the piercing gorse. Why did I wear shorts? As we watched them perch on the purple flowers of the heather they stroked their hind wings against one another; as if rubbing their hands at finding such a wonderful source of nectar.

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Jul 2019


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