Back straight, chest out

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Saturday 15 October 2011 16:55

The top image was kindly emailed to me from Andy Swash of and shows many of the crucial ID features. Andy was also one of the people who found the bird so I am doubly thankful. Check out the website for truly stunning nature photography! Anyway, how did I get to be looking at this bird today?...

...I went to Beachy Head in the hope of finding some migrants. It was pretty dull and I had walked from Birling Gap to Shooter's Bottom and all I had seen were two Wheatears and a dung beetle in my dreads. Says a lot for what my head looks like to a flying dung beetle. I was feeling pretty despondent, when I got a text from Jake saying 'Isabelline Wheatear at Crowlink'. Just around the corner from where I was but a frustrating fifteen minute walk back to the car! 
I legged it back and hardly took anything in on the return journey. I looked down to see what I thought was going to be a Bloody-nosed Beetle on its back. I flipped it over and I realised it was a small, smooth dor beetle, a species I knew would be of note and also new to me. Although I thought it keyed out to Trypocopris vernalis, the Spring Dumble Dor, Peter Hodge says it looks more like the Heath Dumble Dor Trypocopris pyrenaeus but Mark Telfer agrees with me. Watch this space for the definitive ID.

Anyway, I got to Crowlink and the bird was showing well. I managed some record shots through Bob's telescope (thanks Bob) but I hope someone will email me a nicer one to use on my blog. A nice bird, long legs, good posture, big black beak. Very pale, thick black tail band, strikingly pale underwings but most importantly a new species for me! So, with that and the beetle I am on 3642 and this is the first triple blog day I have had in a long time! Now, I think that deserves a drink...

1 Response to "Back straight, chest out"

Mark G. Telfer Says:

With the distinct punctures on the pronotum, I think it is Trypocopris vernalis rather than T. pyrenaeus.

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