Friday, 14 June 2019

1000 miles just to get wet.

02/06/2019 - 12/06/2019
Scotland, Lake District, Norfolk, Somerset.
Rain, Overcast, Windy, Some Sunshine.
Species Highlights: 
Mountain Ringlet, Large Heath, Northern Brown Argus, Cuckoo, Tree Pipit, Black Hairstreak, Swallowtail, Painted Lady, Norfolk Hawker, Hawker, Silver Studded Blue, Spoonbill, Large Blue.


It was that time of year on my Butterfly quest to head to Scotland and Glasdrum for the Chequered Skipper, I worked the Saturday night, 6 hours sleep and drove the 481 miles 9 hours to Glasdrum with a very dodgy weather forecast, I thought the previous years I managed to find it roosting so was not worried!! 
After 2.5 hour of searching no Chequered Skippers could be found, then it rained in fact it continued to rain through the next day and into Wednesday!
All I could find was Moths.

Clouded Bordered Moth

Plus some very dam Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary.

I decided to cut my loses and drive on way home to the Lake District and check out the LD species.

On arrival at Stanton Bridge campsite, the skies were blue but the wind was gusting at 25mph but the next morning I headed up Irton Fell with high hopes. Within minutes of searching I found more Mountain Ringlets hiding in the grasses than I'd ever seen.

The wind meant they we not venturing from the grass but with a little coercion they crawled on to my finger for warmth.

The weather would have been perfect if the wind dropped a bit, and views were stunning.

The skies were changing by the minute.

I'd been up on to Irton Fell many times and every time thought about going to the top of Whinn Rigg at 535m or 1755ft today was that day.
This view looking back towards Irton Fell.

Back down on Irton Fell I managed a semi-open wing before the Mountain Ringet disappeared across the fell in to the safety of the grass. 

A stunning place to spend the day, Whitfell in distance and Muncaster Fell - Hooker Crag in foreground.

After a hearty tea, Chunky Chicken and veg I'd decided to head home the next day as weather for Tuesday looked bad with rain and blustery winds.
 I got up and drove across the Lake District stopping for a few photo opportunities. 

My trusty Camper.

River Duddon, 
It should have been heavy rain by now but there was no sign? 

With the weather staying dry, I stopped off at Meathop Moss for a recce on the Large Heath, I was feeling lucky.
Looking at those skies not sure why!

Apart from Swifts over head and the odd Tree Pipit it was deserted.

The sun was trying to peak through the heavy clouds and Lattice Heath Moths kept giving me heart attacks thinking that there were Large Heath.

Then I spotted one! It only took me 2 hours, I thought where there is one, there's gotta be more.

Common Lizards scurried across the boardwalk, this one just to remind me had a large tick!

I continued to see the odd Large Heath counted around 7/8 in all. Not the picture I wanted but very happy.

 On that success I thought I'd try over the road for Northern Brown Argus, Latterbrow was full of wildflowers and a marquee it seemed a event was going on. I chatted to the Cumbria Wildlife staff who said, na you wont find any NBA today, your a week too early.
 I looked anyway. To my delight after 20 mins of looking found a single Northern Brown Argus, it was very satisfying to shout across, here's one!

Not heavily marked but a Northern Brown Argus.

Took my eyes off it and lost it but while the search continued found a fresh Large Skipper. 

On the way out the gate a beautiful Small Pearl Fritillary. 
On a roll I dropped into Foulshaw again across the busy A591.

The rain was now beginning to fall but had a quick wander anyway, not sure of ID, anyone help?

 A good reserve this one but with the rain becoming heavier saw Osprey, Siskin, Redpoll. That was the end of my trip north.

The following weekend, Me and Lauren headed to Norfolk, again weather not that good, dropping first into Glapthorn for a look for Black Hairstreak and bingo saw our first on the hedgerow near the entrance gate.

All the normal spots were good with around 10 Black Hairstreak seen.
Back in van and 2 hours later we were in RSPB Strumpshaw.

Tinkers Lane and our first Painted Lady of the year, it seems they are flooding into the county at the moment, coming to a site near you soon!

Swallowtails the main target were at the top of the Doctors Garden and not coming near footpath.

But after entering the reserve we soon spotted a single battled specimen.

Battered because of its back end, shame but still spectacular! 
5/6 were seen but none posing like this one.

We continued around the reserve stopping of at the hides and checking out my favorite Dragonfly, Norfolk Hawker.

Lauren's flight shot.

We'd planned on staying at Keeling Heath a new spot for us and a great looking campsite. The main reason for this stop was Silver Studded Blue had been reported, we entered on to the beautiful Heath to the sound of a Nightjar churring. Whitethroat, and Yellowhammer.

After having a wander around no Silver Studded Blues could be found so headed back for food and bed.

After a long day we were getting ready for night and Lauren came back for showers saying she could hear more Nightjar calling we got dressed and headed out for a look, it was 9:30pm but within a few minutes we saw a Nightjar!

A first for us both and amazing to watch, Lauren had a white fleece on and every time she moved her arms another Nightjar flew around us!

 Landing on footpath and tree's all around us.

Wow !!
I then had a Twitter message from Marcus Rhodes saying about the Silver Studded Blue and he was stood by 2 roosting, it was 10pm.

After a walk across heath we met up and Silver Studded Blue by torchlight, Thanks Marcus.

The following day we headed back to same spot and same blade of grass they still sat.

The weather again we set to change so headed across to Cley Marshes for some birding, Bearded Reedlings, just.

Bar Tailed & Black Tailed Godwits on the pools.

It was getting grey out there, but still seeing some good birds, Marsh Harriers, Greenshank, Little and Ringed Plover.

Redshank on a fench, never see this!

Next drove along the Norfolk coastline to Titchwell it was now pouring down, sorry to keep mentioning the weather but when your trying to take photos its very hard in the rain and grey skies.

Those Avocets giving the Marsh Harrier a seeing off!

One of my favorite Duck, Shoveler.

Soaking wet now and about to put camera away a Spoonbill flew past to end our Norfuckian adventure.

Yesterday headed to Green Down, Somerset for some Large Blue action, under cloudy skies hoped for some open wing shots, but happy to find a few Blues on the wing.

Not disappointed!

Some great detail on those wings.

 Pyramidal orchid covering the hillside looking great.

My macro lens working well, Leaf Beetle?

Marbled Whites 3/4 on the wing too.

A good looking Butterfly, don't ya think.

Meadow Browns a plenty and a surprise Ringlet, very fresh.

Large Blue underside.

This Small Heath fell on to the floor in front of me and looked dead I picked it up, admiring him.

The female just as pretty on this Ox Eye Daisy.

So that's the round up and a spectacular couple of weeks I'd say!

Wayne Year Bird List: 181
Lauren Year Bird List: 176

Butterflies now 41 species

Thanks For Looking! 
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