Thursday, 3 July 2014

2nd July - In The Roarin' Traffic's Boom

Another clear and still night with no forecast of rain, so once again I set up the moth trap.  First thing this morning checking through the egg boxes I found my highest number of Elephant Hawk-moths.  At first I thought it was four.



But after letting these four go, and searching through the egg boxes some more, I found another to make it five.

They are extremely photogenic.



Two new moths this morning, the first was an Iron Prominent, so called because of the rusty red marks at the end of the wings.



The other was a small Pug moth, that for once I was able to identify, mainly because I suppose it is a relatively common moth.  The Foxglove Pug.



As usual there were plenty of Heart and Darts, and Dark Arches, but there were also some usual species that I was able to capture that were slightly different from what we have seen before.

Firstly the Buff Tip from above with its wings open.



And the black version of the Peppered Moth.



Finally a Grey Arches.



Yesterday the cloud came across in the afternoon, and it cooled off without any direct sun.  I decided to give a walk a miss as it would probably be quiet.  Today though, the weather forecast was better, and at lunch I decided to walk around Plain Farm specifically looking for butterflies.

However as I got out of the car I heard a snippet of bird song, that was different but I knew I recognised it.  The song was coming from the top of the oak tree, and after another piece of song I knew exactly what it was.  The song was a series of notes that rose and fell, and then developed into a series of full double notes.  Finally I found it in the tree, and could see it was a Tree Pipit, but as I raised the camera it was off across to the field where it dropped into the cereal crop, and out of sight.

Tree Pipit is a new bird for the patch, and one that I was hoping to find, as they are seen close around the area.  This is the 98th bird for the patch, two more to go.

As I walked up the path, I was concious of a bull in the field with the cows, but they just watched me, and did not make any attempt to move toward me

Once over the style, and into the grassland I was suddenly surrounded by butterflies, mostly Meadow Browns and Ringlets, but I started toi see Marbled Whites, but they were very active, and did not stop at all for a photograph.  They probably had just emerged and were determined to make the most of it.

Looking across the fields there was a very definite summer look to the landscape.



Amongst the grasses the thistles were coming into flower, this was particularly attractive to the Small Tortoiseshells.  These attractive but common butterflies seem to have had a very good year, with many about.



Walking down to the quarry there were many butterflies flying low between the grasses but never stopping..  I made my way down the hill, and came across a sitting Ringlet.



I checked the quarry where there was a adult Blackcap calling, but very little else.  I crossed the road and walked up the hill through Plain Farm.  It was hot and quiet, and the only activity was the number of butterflies on either side of the lane.

Around the edge of the fields were scattered poppies in amongst the Ox-eye Daisies.



I made my way along the footpath, and then finally found a small orange butterfly on a blade of grass.



At first I thought it might be a Small Skipper, but you can just seems some marks on the under wing.  It then flew off and settled with wings down to show it was a Large Skipper.



I had considered turning around and going back the way I came, but finally decided to walk the loop.  I walked through the field to Charlwood Lane, and disturbed many brown butterflies.  I headed towards a patch of trefoil, and found this Five-spot Burnet feeding on its favourite food plant.



There was plenty of activity on the trefoil, and another small butterfly caught my eye.



But it did not stay very long, and was off.



But it landed again, and this time allowed a closer look.  The clubs at the end of the antenna are black, so this year I can report an Essex Skipper when I found it.



Marbled Whites were flying around the field, and as previously they were not stopping.  I hawked a few in the hope, but in the end had to resort to trying to get some flight shots.  I found two dueling, and one seemed to get stuck behind a thistle, which slowed them up, and I managed to get this acceptable shot.

Another small skipper flew in, and this time I could not find the dark clubs, so this one is definitely a Small Skipper.






I walked my way along Charlwood where there was plenty of flowers in the road side.  As everywhere today there were lots of Meadow Browns and Ringlets, but every so often there would be something different like this Red Admiral.



and this lovely Comma.



Above me a male Yellowhammer was singing the familiar "little bit of bread and no cheese" song.  The amount of bird song is beginning to fade, early morning a few Blackbirds and Song Thrushes can be heard, but very soon it will fall quiet.  For now though this Yellowhammer was really going for it.



Turning onto Kitwood a white butterfly past me and stopped, the two spots on the upper wing mean it was a Large White, and the tenth butterfly seen today.



Back at the car I looked for the pipit, but couldn't find it.  The grass field though to the north of the road had quite a few purple orchids amongst the grasses.  I could not get close, but I suspect they are Spotted Orchids.



As the afternoon turned into early evening the skies became a little more hazy, and cooler, there was though very little wind, so we decided to have another go at seeing the Barn Owl.  We went on mass, Helen and I being accompanied by Katie.

A tractor was spraying the wheat in the field, and as we walked the lane it came close by us. A little further on Katie picked out a Roe Deer in the middle of the field, and it was watching the progress of the tractor as it made its way around the field.


From this picture it looks like it is in the middle of the field, but the deer, like the tractor make use of the original tractor wheels to get about, and it was actually standing in one of these.


We stood around in the spot where we saw the owl before emerge before, as we stood waiting the noise of the motor bikes along the A32 over powered the song of a few Blackbirds and yellowhammers.

Two Hares ran away from us in the open patch in the middle of the field, and I also picked out a pair of Red-legged Partridges.  As we watched for the owl a white shape came into view, only to turn out to be a dove.  With a dove in residence it was hardly likely that the owl was there, so we decided to have a look around some of its old haunts.

First stop was the lane leading up to Plain Farm.  A Buzzard flew over, and a single kestrel sat on the telegraph pole.  I could hear calling Mistle Thrushes and Pheasants but no sign of the Barn Owl.

Next stop was the Mountains Plantation, scene of the tree Pipit earlier today.  Beyond the hill the sun was setting, and it was turning the hazy cloud many different shades of pink and purple.


A Roe Deer stood in the field nervously looking at me, it probably couldn't see me but definitely heard us.  Katie then found the reason for it being nervous, in the long grass were two sets of ears, and after a while, as the Roe Deer walked off two kids came out of the grass to follow her.


She led them along the side of the field.


And then for some reason into the field of maize, where she again stopped to look back in our direction.


It was now quite gloomy, and we decided to leave the deer and to head home, but via Lye Way, where the sunset was warming into quite a spectacular sight.


Two new butterflies for the year, a brand new bird, and what is probably my third Roe Deer family of the year, and of course the moths this morning, not a bad day.

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