Friday, 31 May 2019

Butterflies & Birds along the way.

13/05/2019 - 30/05/2019
Somerset Levels, Cirencester Woods, Forest of Dean, Isle of Wright, Frys Hill, Priddy, Newton St Loe, Halse Combe, Haddon Hill, Cotley Hill.
Mixed Bag, Mostly Clear and Dry.
Species Highlights: 
Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Bittern, Hobby, Tree Pipit, Wood Warbler, Bullfinch, Firecrest.
Small Pearl+Pearl Bordered Fritillary, Wood White, Glanville Fritillary, Green Hairstreak, Marsh Fritillary, Heath Fritillary.

On the 13th Monday me & Lauren headed to Ham Wall, the place was alive with the songs of Blackcap & Garden Warbler, never seen so many.

Of course we also saw Hobby, Bittern & Great White Egrets.

On the 15th, I went to Cirencester Woods with Allan Chard, I've been trying to check other places out for Butterflies, expanding my portfolio as it were. Finding a fair few Pearl Bordered Fritillaries although as the day got warmer the Frits started to flit not staying still for long, but managed some decent shots.

While searching I also found a Crab Spider looking amazing under my 100 mm Macro.

There were plenty of Wood Ants having epic battles, its not until you look closer you see the struggles of the tiny.

The Wood Ant measures 4.5–9 mm in length.

The rest of that day we had arranged to meet Ben Locke in the Forest of Dean for some Wood White action, Ben didn't disappointed and I was really pleased getting some great shots and saving a fair few miles as normally I'd go to Monks Wood or Haugh Wood.

We went back at dusk and found a few roosting giving us more opportunities.

Work, then on the 19th I went to Cotley Hill & Battlesbury but no new species on my butterfly list to add, but did get this Linnet with a Rape seed backdrop.

At home I spotted this stunning Ruby Tiger Moth.

Lauren took these with my Macro lens, brilliant eh!

After getting better shots than I was getting, I took it off her!!

Monday morning came the 20th. 
Lauren wanted to go to Forest of Dean so off we went, Pied Flycatcher and Redstart's then back to the Wood White spot with Wood Warblers singing and yet more Wood White butterflies.

From here we took the long way home and across to Prestbury Hill in Gloucestershire another new spot for me and the Duke of Burgundy showed nicely.

Along with Brown Argus and stunning views across into Cheltenham.

Small Blues were plentiful and also this great Common Heath Moth.

While I was photographing Small Blues at the bottom of the hill, Lauren phoned me to say she'd spotted some Tree Pipit displaying, I tried to run up the hill failing miserably ending in a crawl to where she was stood. Great to watch the Tree Pipit at close quarters and worth the climb.

On the 21st, I'd planned a trip to see the Glanville Fritillary and to off set the miles I do, me & Allan Chard rode our bikes from Lymington to Freshwater Bay, Isle of Wright a beautiful day and plenty of my favourite butterflies to see.

Along with Green Hairstreak, Small Heath & Small Blues it was stunning.

I found a little friend who let me gently place him where ever, Allan did try but it flew off only to come back to me! 

Even found the Larva of a Glanville.

If you've never been to see this butterfly at its real home I can recommend, it's a £8.50 ferry ride and only a smallish hill to ride up and with fish n chips to end, a perfect day.

On the 23rd I made the short trip to Fry's Hill, Cheddar for the Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary a small colony but with thanks to Ross & Jen for keeping me informed of its emergence. 

24th and work that night I stayed close to home and visited Box for the Marsh Fritillary great to see this small little field with 15+ Marsh Frit's thriving. After here I returned to my push bike and visited Tucking Mill only to find no butterflies. 
But at work that night I picked up a local lepidopterist who told me that 2 weeks earlier it was full of Marsh Fritillary, so I was too late. I've changed my dairy and I'll visit a week or so earlier next year.

After Lauren doing so well with my Macro thought I'd try for some Dragons in our garden, none were to be seen but did spot this tiny Zebra jumping spider.

At 5/6 mm it really is micro.

A return to patch on the Sunday the 26th with very little going on apart from constant drizzle, and this Whitethroat being the highlight.

27th and Lauren away I headed down to Priddy another spot for Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary, weather not perfect being very windy I managed to find a couple plus a single Marsh Fritillary not been reported here for 10 years!
Found this Six Spot Burnet Moth Larva.

Here's a Small Pearl bordered Fritillary.

28th Weather was looking good and with Heath Fritillaries out, on yet another new spot for me, Halse Combe near Porlock, Somerset. With a good ideal where to look thanks to Roger. I made the 2 hour trip, I found the Butterflies within a few minutes of arriving.

Apart from Heath Fritillaries, I also found ticks one had attached itself to my stomach! I used my tick remover and a antiseptic wipe but continued to itch for the rest of the day.

With great views out to sea I decided to have a wander and came across a Adder a melanistic one, (development of dark-colored pigment in the skin or its appendages and is the opposite of albinism) all black and apparently quite rare. I was well chuffed.

Exmoor on a summers day.

I dropped into Haddon Hill on way back my normal spot for Heath Frit's but none on the wing here, Redpoll, Chiffchaff and this smart Tree Pipit kept me company.

30th a patch walk and blue skies to start a real bumper day with some great birds, Bullfinch, Stock Dove, Jay, Yellowhammer, Kestrel, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Red Kite, Skylark, Chiffchaff, Goldcrest, Green Woodpecker, Greater Spotted Woodpecker, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Swift, Whitethroat. 
And this Buzzard displaying.

Gliding then stooping in a territorial display.

But the real highlight apart from seeing my first Large Skipper of the year was this beautiful tiny Firecrest!! A patch first and Newton St Loe, 102nd tick.

I heard it calling and it reminded me of my time in Mallorca so when I spied it my finger pushed the shutter far to many times, but come on a Firecrest!!

I walked the rest of the way home smiling to myself, on Sunnybank 50 yds from home, I spotted these Common Blues in a lovers clinch. A bit worn and a slight aberration.

Once home and waiting for my son to get off computer so I could see what i'd captured this bullfinch landed on our tree, so from the bathroom window I managed so nice shots of I think one of UK's best looking birds. 

Wayne Year bird List: 174
Lauren Year Bird List: 170

Butterflies now 30 species

Thanks For Looking! 
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