Saturday, 7 September 2019

Last of my Butterflies and fantastic Hobbies

13th August - 5th September
Chew Valley, Portland Bill, Brighton, Bannerdown, 
Pen y Fan, Severn Beach, Newton St Loe.
Species Highlights: 
Clouded Yellow, Long Tailed Blue, Hobby, Spotted Flycatcher, Greenfinch, 
Willow Emerald Damselfly.

Been a very busy few weeks but here's another catch up of our travels.
Around patch on the 13th August And Painted Lady's everywhere at least 10 counted a real influx of them. took my macro lens a found another Crab Spider.

14th August 
Went to Chew and Blagdon Lakes A pair of Egyptian geese at Blagdon was the highlight and plenty of House Martin & Barn Swallow clearing the skies of flies.

20th August
 My hunt for the last butterflies of the year continued and Clouded Yellow's had been seen at Portland bill so a quick dash down to Portland it was.
From the fields above Obs many Barn Swallow were lined up waiting to be fed, fueling up for there long journey ahead.

After walking around the Bill no sign of Clouded Yellow, i'd walked about 5 miles at this point searching, a tweet from a friendly butterflyer came in saying East Cliff's 2 Clouded now! I rushed back and drove around to where i thought this was 3 miles later no sign so messaged him and then met him, 2 minutes later Clouded Yellow in the bag, a bit tatty but butterfly number 58 ticked. 

The small area which we saw them was full of Painted Lady, Small White, Red Admiral and Hummingbird Hawk Moth.

 Saw 3 Clouded Yellow in the end but none giving the best views but always next year, So I've ended 2019 on 58 Butterflies not to bad...or so I thought.

21st August
I stayed close to home and met up with Allan Chard for a look around Chipping Sodbury Common, Lesser Whitethroat and Common Redstart seen but none really coming close for photos, but Allan mention Stoke Park in Bristol and within a few minutes of arrival we connected with this smart Whinchat.

Giving very close views.

22nd August
Had a wander around Newton St Loe and very pleased to see the Spotted Flycatcher feeding well on the top Lake , rest of patch all a bit quiet.

26th August 
A very special day, Long Tailed Blue Butterflies had been reported in Brighton,Dorset and Devon so couldn't miss this for a UK lifer. So decided on the Brighton ones and the chance of a new Dragonfly too, so set off early on this Bank holiday Monday. Missed all the traffic and arrived around 10 am within 20 mins had found a very smart Long Tailed Blue.

A small group of fellow butterfly enthusiasts gathered around them 2/3 seen.
I used a app called just3words and help from Twitter, it pin pointed the bushes exactly!

Painted Lady were everywhere here too some very fresh and some very tatty ones.

Unless I find anymore butterflies this year i'll end on 59 species, such a shame I missed the Chequered Skipper and didn't go for Cryptic Wood, Ireland that would have been hard to Beat, but very very happy with 59 for the year.

After leaving Brighton I had a tip for Willow Emerald Damselflies so headed on the way back to Wood Mill nature reserve, I searched for nearly 2 hours and only had a brief glimpse but sitting down decided weather to go home or nor one landed next to me!

Giving me great views and even managed a few Macro shots.
A very successful 320 miles, and still no Bank holiday traffic.

27th August
 A few Wryneck had arrived in the UK one was showing well in Ogmore, Wales so made a quick dash across with Lauren, found the Wryneck feeding on the nearby cliffs after a few minutes it had flown, very pleased we got there when we did!

Top bird, our last view was Severn Beach back in 2014.

28th August
Still butterfly hunting a Adonis Blue had been seen close to Bath, this would be first for Somerset for a while and I'll always try to get the Butterflies as close to home as possible so at 6 miles from home I went a searching. Unfortunately I couldn't find it but a few Common Blue kept me entertained. 

29th August
A return to patch and Spotted Flycatcher still showing well although the Light was awful for photos.

I'd estimate 5 birds were feeding but moving around the top lake.

Top ponds Migrant Hawkers were hovering nicely for some in flight shots.

We had a Hobby over Village, very high up and also this smart Sparrowhawk.

House Sparrow another good year for them 50+ birds around farm shop.

30th August
While getting ready for work a Greenfinch landed on our feeder tree, just don't see them that often.

Juvenile constantly begging, just the 2 birds but keeping my eyes open for them to return.

 Lots of other birds visiting too, with all the Brown Boobie action at the moment here's a Great Tit! Sorry..

02 September
Another Patch walk and Swifts, Swallow, House and Sand Martins all seen around patch, Swifts very late, have normally gone from patch by now.

3rd September
A change of venue and waking up early just 4 hours of sleep I drove to Pen Y Fan, Wales. I'd always wanted to walk up so a forecast of Blue skies it was time to go. Perfect conditions greeting me and was really looking forward to it.

Sun up and looking back towards Fan Fawr.

As normal the weather forecasting in the country is awful and clouds then rain came across the hills.
This the best view i got of Corn Du and Pen Y Fan. 

Very windy at top and no view at all, o well next time!

4th September
Ever year for the last few , after the butterflies have almost ended i gone to Chew Valley and been very lucky with the Hobbies, this year was no exception.

Was amazing to watch the family food pass and begging of the youngsters.

Not ever food pass was successful mind.

One lucky Dragonfly escaping and a collision of hobbies!

Juvenile looking smart.

Took so many pictures, you just cant help it, real beauties.

My favorite shot was this one, Adult above juvenile begging below and a very unluky Migrant Hawker.

Not the only action in the 2 hours i spent there, Grey Heron.

Plus the now resident Great White Egrets flying past.

As I said a very busy few weeks but a great few weeks.

 Thanks for looking, drop me a line in our comments, let me know what you think ! 

Wayne Year Bird List: 189
Lauren Year Bird List: 180

Butterflies now 59 species

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Sunday, 11 August 2019

July to Now, catching up.

Date: 14/07/2019-08/08/2019
Draycott, Newton St Loe, Bentley Woods, Crook Peak, Alners Gorse, Fontmell Down, Priddy, Chew Valley, Arnside Knott, Smardale, Aston Rowant, Langford Lakes, Cotley Hill.
Alsorted From Rain to Winds to bright Sunshine.
Species Highlights: 
Purple Emperor,  Chalkhill Blue, Painted Lady, Purple Hairstreak, Silver Washed (Valesina), Common Darter, Grayling, Wall Brown, Spotted Flycatcher, Brown Hairstreak, Marsh Tit, Grey Heron, Lesser Emperor, Brown Hawker, Scotch Argus, Silver Spotted Skipper, Wood Sandpiper.

14/07/2019 Its been a very busy few weeks with Butterflies the time of year where Hairstreak, Emperors and many miles give me the runaround. This year being very conscious of the miles I do I've tried to cut down on the amount of motorways, with some success
starting with not going to Fermyn and going local for the Purple Emperor a 14 mile 25 minute drive from home got me ...views a the Purple Emperor...just.

Made a couple of visits but this the best I could get, but its still a Purple Emperor and this was a saving on miles and tick number 53.

After spending some 3 hours waiting for a reappearance i left and headed across to Draycott for a search for Chalkhill Blues, my closest spot for this species. It didn't take to long to catch up with a few.

A very good afternoon and 2 butterfly ticks for 2019.

My second visit to Alners Gorse of the year but this time in search of Brown Hairstreak, although the weather was hot and sunny no sign but a great day all the same.

Common Darter, female

Purple Hairstreak's at Alners have had a great year, but White Letter's not so good, only saw 2 on both visits.

A Silver Washed aberration was spotted almost all Black but stood looking for at least a hour with no sign. but this Valesina showed well.

A highlight of the day was this Painted Lady, while watching and doing a bit of Macro a Southern Hawker came in at speed picked it up and landed a few feet away, luckily the PL managed to escape!

With a few Purple Emperor having been seen at Bentley Woods, Hampshire/Wiltshire border and not happy with my efforts so far me & Allan decided to pop down. We Walked around checking all the Hot spots but with no sign of his illusive majesty.

Back in the Car Park this Horsefly taunted us for the car roof.

Had a wander around my Patch hardly any birds to report so my trusted Macro lens came in useful, this Long tailed Blue on top lake performed well.

Noticing a few Butterflies on top lake also, was extremely surprised to find this Silver Washed Valesina land at my Feet! A first for patch and brilliant to see.

This Pristine small tortoiseshell just stunning.

Top small ponds and ruddy Darter looking good.

Some work interrupted my search but Monday went to Priddy mainly looking for Dragons but 100's of Small Skipper stole the day. 

From here  and short drive to Draycott but Chalkhill Blues were not really showing , number seemed very low, weather could have played a part Very warm but cloudy skies. This Robber-fly took a few nibbles out of me and when leaving noticed it was in van to my next destination!

Crooks Peak next and after the climb from the car park I saw a few Grayling on the bare rocks but the top of the peak was the best.

Wall Brown and Grayling in larger numbers buzzing around while i sat. 

Also at peak was this Giant Tachind Fly Europe's largest fly a real beast.

When I got home this Roesel's Bush Cricket was sat on garage door only my second ever on patch.

Alners gorse and a fail apart from Purple Hairstreak, Red Kite and Small Copper, still no signs of the Brown Hairstreak
Another patch walk and again not many bird sighting as far as Butterfly alley but some good butterflies here this Brimstone normally never sit still but today not so.

Looks just like a Leaf superb camouflage.
Robert and Anne were just ahead of me and had texted me to say they had seen Spotted Flycatcher. I could not locate them.

But after checking out lakes and returning to lower waterfall had views of a family of 5 Spotted Flycatchers.

Back in to village and was great to see so many House Martins and Barn Swallows 50+ of each but with so many perched and flying around difficult to count accurately.

Sunday a quick zip down to Alners gorse as Brown Hairstreak where showing, on arrival noticed a few car and gathering of people only to learn that Somerset/Dorset Butterfly groups had planned a guided tour at least of 50 people had descended on the reserve, i made a quick walk checking bushes and tree for the BH while watching a Purple Hairstreak this Southern Hawker swooped in and took it then continued to munch on the hairstreak.

Still ahead of the guided tour spotted a couple of fellow Butter-flyers further up hill towards car park and this very fresh female Brown Hairstreak.

Eventually spotted another nearby and the large group also caught up the hairstreaks.
Tick number 55 for me. 
On way home dropped into Fontmell Down to check for Silver Spotted Skippers but a slight wind making it hard to spot if they were even out.

Lauren had ordered a new lens 18-300 mm sigma for travel mainly but a patch wander to break in in.
Was very pleased catch up with this Small Red Eyed Damselfly

Emerald Damselfly - Lestes sponsa in all most ever site i've visited this year it seems a very go year for them.

Further on above top lake woodland great to see our Marsh Tits still about, good spot Lauren!

Essex Skipper also being seen on patch taking patch butterfly ticks this year to 25 just missing Clouded Yellow for a clean sweep.
A Beautiful Demoiselle.

Wednesday down to Priddy for some more dragonfly action, a good plan as it turnned out.
Common Blue Damselfly.

Common Wasp - Vespula vulgaris

Black Darters in good numbers here.

Black Tailed Skimmer, Keeled Skimmer, Ruddy Darter and Patrolling Emperors Dragonflies giving good practice for Flight shots.

Leaving this setting on camera I headed to Chew Valley Lake to look for the Lesser Emperor which had been seen.

Opening the Hide Window i immediately spotted it patrolling the water edge firing off a few shots managed these, a new Dragonfly for me so very happy.

Got it having a go at a Emperor female egg laying the Male Emperor chased it off eventually making it hide in reeds for the rest of my visit.

 Just about back at van and this Ruddy Darter showed beautifully showing the ID markers.  Two prominent black marks on segments 8 and 9 and all black legs.

Sunday and a Patch walk proved to be a good walk too with the first positive news on the Grey Herons, previously thought that we had no nesting herons but a flight from a adult to a nest with 2 juveniles in.

Lots of squawking and noise with the youngsters looking like there almost ready to flegg.

Brown Hawker being the most popular Dragon on the lakes, took many shots to get a half decent one.

I had planned a trip to the Lake District with Allan Chard to see Scotch Argus, Allan Camping and me in my comfy van! LOL.
We drove up Sunday afternoon arriving at Arnside Knott 4:20pm with the threat of heavy showers and thunderstorms Got in to the Scotch Argus within 17 mins of leaving car park. Met up with Roger Musgrove and managed a few more shots before the rain started.

Pub for tea and Allan slept like a log in his tent....NOT! 

We arose early and headed to Smardale Gill for some more Scotch Argus, on the beginning of walk saw a Tree Sparrow, a good sighting and could hear a few more.

Smardale Viaduct looking ideal

A short walk from the new car park and as normal from this great site Scotch Argus were everywhere.

Literally 100's of Scotch Argus on site but cloudy conditions made it difficult to get a true count but the biggest numbers of any butterfly all year for us both.
and Tick number 56.

Weather was on the turn and Allan awoke early the next morning with the Tent pressed against his face and broken poles, I had a lovely sleep in my van!

I'd planned to drive back via Aston Rowant but weather was looking dodgy for most of the 4 hour drive. But pulling into car park the sun started to shine in not a bit windy. but a short walk we saw our first followed by many more , in fact the most I'd ever seen here.

The Teddy bear of Butterflies.

A strong wind meant I had to hold the Devil's-bit Scabious but got a few very decent pictures to leave Aston Rowant with.

I've been logging my sightings and species counts with IRecord APP
and was very pleased to see i was top for a second year in a row, forgot to add a few species last year, so this year made sure i've added all new species. just Migrants and hopefully Clouded Yellow to go!

Instead of my normal Thursday patch deceied on going to Langford Lakes for a look at Wood Sandpiper, but on arrival the lake was completely empty, after 40 mins was about to go when this Hobby flew across lake.

Then Wood Sandpiper, Green Sand and Greenshank appeared.

Turned into a nice day with a few more species turning up.

With work that night I dropped in to Cotley Hill for a quick visit Adonis Blue, Chalkhill and Common Blues were on show.

Wall Brown showed well and this the last picture of the day.

Wayne Year Bird List: 184
Lauren Year Bird List: 178

Butterflies now 57 species

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  Thanks For All Your Support!

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