Today I had intended to meet up with Ian, but he has not been feeling too well, so we didn't make it. I hope you are feeling better today Ian.
The morning was forecast to be wet with thunderstorms, and so it was. The rain past by the middle of the morning, and the sun was out by mid day, so I decided to see what was about after the storms. Walking down Brislands it really looks wonderful in it's summer glory.
Robins and Blackbirds were singing on either side of the lane, but the bird that was seen the most was the Dunnock, pairs were flying across the road going from either side.
Speckled Woods were the first butterflies seen, but they were quite mobile. The sun was now quite warm, and it felt humid, as a result more butterflies appeared and the first one settled was this Small Tortoiseshell.
The humidity was coming from the water on the road drying out. Looking towards Old Down the tarmac could be seen to be steaming.
I walked through Old Down, taking the diagonal footpath for a change. The landscape has changed so much here after the winter felling. It is very open, and very warm as the dead wood reflected back the warm sun.
I turned back up the main path towards the crossroads. More butterflies were about and I managed to find this settled Speckled Wood.
And then turning off towards Old Down cottage I found a Green Veined White.
Looking back down the footpath you can now appreciate what the forestry work has done. There is more light, and as a result more grass and flowers, and around the flowers were plenty of insects.
I headed towards the pond where this Moorhen was quite happy feeding amongst the lily pads, and for once it didn't scurry off, maybe it is getting used to me.
In the warm sunshine the Damselflies were busy. This is a Large Red Damsel, there were only a few of these about.
The majority of the Damselflies though were the Azure Damsels. They seemed to be everywhere, not sure this is quite right.
The Iris are now in full bloom, and they too were attracting the bees.
The tadpoles are still about, but were not in the large groups that we had seen last week, they were mostly sticking close to the bank. Out in the middle of the water the carp were active, dorsal fins breaking the surface of the pond.
I walked on down the lane, young Goldcrests calling from the trees. I turned of onto Kitwood Bridleway, and away over towards Lye Way Farm I heard a Cuckoo calling. I am now not sure how many individuals there have been, but this was my fourth record. I have heard or seen them in three months this year, the first time I can remember that ever happening.
There were plenty of white moths flying around, and one settled long enough for me to identify it as a Silver-ground Carpet.
Coming into the open, the butterflies started to appear. This Red Admiral looks pretty worse for wear probably as a result of migration.
There are lots of flowers along the bridleway, one of the reasons why this is a good insect spot. These Dog Roses were my first of the year.
As I walked along I keep an eye out for anything that looks different on the plants, and this bug caught my eye. I think it is a Ceraleptus Lividus, but as always I am open to other opinions.
A little further on, there was a female Brimstone settled on the Red Campion. There had been a male that had flown through as well, and this is probably now getting to the end of their flying season.
By now it was a lovely summer's day, a complete contrast to the morning. I stopped for a drink, and looked back along the bridleway.
I crossed the road and headed up the path on the other side. A Buzzard drifted over being mobbed by crows. It looked as if it was carrying prey in its talons.
I watched it fly over me, and then into the distant trees. The crows left it alone as it passed over me and returned to their patch. A little later the Buzzard reappeared and settled on the wires on the pylon.
I walked on up the path, and then noticed the Buzzard was off again cruising the tree tops.
and then banked away just over my head.
A little further up the path I stopped to try and get some pictures of a singing Garden Warbler, but it was not playing ball. I could also hear young birds and I thought they were in a tree close by, but I couldn't see any suitable holes. I then realised that the calls were quite close, and finally found them coming from this fence post.
Great Tits have nested in these posts a little further down the path, but they haven't used it for some time. Looking in I saw this four little mouths.
I think they are Great Tits again, maybe one of the previous young carrying on the family tradition.
I left them quickly to allow the adult to return, and walked towards Newtown Farm. At the cattle sheds a family of young Pied Wagtails were learning how to catch the flies that were attracted to the sheds.
Looking into the pit I was surprised to see a Mallard with grown ducklings. I believe these are another brood and not those I saw at Plain Farm. That would make 20 Mallard ducklings this year on a patch with no real open water.
I took the road towards Headmore, and in front of me two Red-legged Partridges were sauntering along the tarmac.
When they saw me they sped off, running of course, too much effort to fly.
I walked down the road, and then took the short footpath to check the small paddock it runs through. This is left to meadow flowers, and I hoped for some butterflies. There were plenty of buttercups and bees, but no butterflies.
I turned back, and headed to Alton Lane, where I took the footpath across the field towards Blackberry Lane. Along the field's edge Foxgloves lined the fence, a big attraction to the bees.
The field is full of flowers, the first time for awhile. There are Trefoil, Vetch, Ox-eye Daises and lots of clover which was yet another attraction to the bees.
There was also a few butterflies, Small Tortoiseshells, and at least three Common Blues, but unfortunately they would not stop and pose. It will definitely be worth returning here before the field is cut.
I did though manage to find this small moth. It is a Bordered Straw, a known day flying moth.
The buttercups are a big attraction to bugs and flies. This one caught my eye but I can not identify it.
As I reached the gate at the bottom of the field I caught hear a Wren calling in alarm. I watched it fly across the path, and over to a pile of logs. It continued to call loudly and was then joined by another, but this one was begging for food.
The adult kept calling, and the youngster kept begging.
Another appeared on the side of the logs, they are very adept at crawling through the twigs, and clinging onto the side.
The adult continued to call very loudly, and then flew from the youngsters to continue calling from a bush nearby.
Not sure if the alarm call was because of me I decided to move away, and walked up the path towards Blackberry.
I walked around to Badger Close, and then along the back lane. This is full of trees and bramble and can deliver something of interest. As I walked down the path a bird dropped to the floor in front of me.
A Jay, and it had found something of interest. I couldn't make out what exactly it was though. Sightings of Jays just recently have increased, I can only assume they have a nest nearby, they definitely are a welcome addition to the garden birds.
As I came into Read Field, I noticed the calls of House Sparrows. This is a very popular spot for them, they like the dense hedge, and they were everywhere. They also seem to have nested in the houses nearby. This male must have a nest close as he was just sitting there chirping away to declare his territory.
During the summer there is always something to see, even if you think it is quiet. You just have to look and pick up on anything that maybe looks different. June is always thought of as the doldrum month for birds, but again if you look there is entertainment to be had from the young ones.