Saturday, 28 July 2012

27th July - She cried, 'Look! Who's that HANDSOME man?'

The hot warm weather broke in the morning and we had a few heavy showers up to lunchtime.  By the late afternoon it was dry again, and the sun came out.  I set off to walk to Old Down, hopeful that the butterflies of yesterday would still be about.  I walked down Brislands and decided to go into the wood from Gradwell.  I haven't been along this path for awhile, so I thought It would make a change.  As I walked through the field I noticed that the view of the four trees along Brislands had changed again, so I took the photo, it is nice to watch the changes through the year.  The wheat here is not quite ripened yet, and some are still quite green.

To my dismay the wood was quite dead, I think I only saw one meadow brown.  The Jays were in the same spot, and there was a small group of Blue Tits with a single Great Tit, but apart from that nothing.  I walked out through the footpath by the thatched cottage.  I could see some butterflies in the field by the road, so I climbed over the stile to investigate.

There were plenty of Ringlets and Meadow Browns, plus a few Marbled Whites, this one sat quite nicely on the thistle, I want to make the most of these lovely marked butterflies as they will soon all be gone.

I chased a few gatekeepers but again they were not very obliging, and there were also small whites amongst the bramble bushes.  I paused to tie up the lace on my shoe, and as I did I noticed movement by the edge of the rapeseed field.  Looking closer I could see that there were tiny Toadlets making their way through the grass and off into the rape field.  As I walked along the edge I kept seeing them hopping off into the rape forest.  It reminded me of the time in March when we watched the toads mating and laying spawn in the pond, these must be now making the journey from the pond to who knows where, and then at some stage in their life they will be back to spawn in the pond they have just left, amazing.

I decided to walk around the field up to Lyeway.  The edge of the field was quite thick with grass and thistles, and along with the usual butterflies there were also bees.  This one caught my eye for the golden spots on the abdomen.  It turns out it is a common Wool Carder Bee, but then I have never looked at bees in detail before this year, so they are all new to me.

The going was quite difficult, but helped by the fact there was quite a lot to look at.  This Large Skipper was a nice find.

As the path came close to a hedge I noticed some orange butterflies, they were Gatekeepers, and finally one stopped and perched long enough for me to get a good photograph.  I know from now on that they will be everywhere, and will sit waiting for me to photograph them!

I came out onto the road at Lyeway, and started to make my way back.  The Horse Chestnut trees here are beginning to show the brown spots of the disease caused by the leaf miner moth.  You can see the contrast in the growth of the new leaves against those that emerged in the spring.  Very soon the trees will look like autumn has come early which is a big shame

The verge and hedges had just been cut as I walked down Lyeway, and this meant that the flowers had gone.  There were some white butterflies around plus the off gatekeeper, but other than that it was very quiet.  At the junction with Kitwood Lane I checked out the paddock with the sheep.  There were quite a few Thrushes in it with Mistle Thrushes everywhere.  This may be worth keeping an eye on during late August and September for wheatear and possibly redstart.

The walk from here to home was uneventful, but very warm and humid, I hoped that we did not have any storms this evening, as the opening ceremony could do with out any natural intervention, as it was it was an incredible event.


  1. Well done on the emporer pics..most impressive especially in flight. A wool carder bee - what a find! Have been looking at bees in detail for a few years now. They are fascinating and some very hard to identify. I can recommend the bumble bee book by Mike Edwards and Martin Jenner. Perfect for taking in the field but just restricted to true bumble bees (23 species) RE: horse chestnut leaf miner moth. We have problems here too but it can also be leaf blotch fungus - looks similar to moth damage. I hope they can survive these problems, a tree in full flower is an amazing sight.

    1. Thanks once again for the comments. The dragonfly and butterfly shots are getting me in good practice for our holiday, off to a country full of butterflies, birds and other beasties, suffice to say it has the same initials as me.

      Had a great day Saturday looking for butterflies away from the patch, a major tick.

      Have a great week!

  2. Hello,

    The wool carder bee in the picture is actually a tachnid fly, possibly Nowickia ferox. The little yellow tipped feet are quite distinctive. :^)


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