Monday, 29 June 2015

29th June - I'm Back On Dry Land Once Again

Despite the promising conditions overnight the moth trap was very bleak.  There was a Brimstone, a couple of Uncertains and a couple of Riband Waves, but that was it.  Hopefully as the week warms up there will be a little more variety later on towards Friday.

The weather today has seen sunny spells but quite a bit of cloud about.  When the sun did come out it felt hot quite quickly.  With two calls either side of lunch time I had an hour to see if there was anything about around the pond, the wood and in the meadows around Kitwood.  I drove to the pond, parked up and walked around a little way.  There was a dragonfly hawking around the Iris bed and over the lily pads.  In the sunshine it was a bright blue, I watched it closely as it flew around and managed to get some shots.  It was a male Emperor Dragonfly, always one of the first to appear here at the pond.



I set off for the wood, and a Small Tortoiseshell was flitting about on the bramble by the side of the road.



I walked into the wood and took the perimeter path to check on the Kestrels.  Almost immediately I heard the call of a crow, and saw a Buzzard being mobbed by a crow, and also a male Kestrel.  



The Kestrel was a lot more serious about the mobbing, and it actually hit the buzzard.  



The Buzzard drifted away but was pursued by the Kestrel who was looking to make sure it stayed away.



I walked to the best place to view the nest, and could see two young Kestrels close to the entrance, probably enjoying watching Dad chase off the Buzzard.



I turned back on myself, and made my way along the main path.  Up above me Dad was patrolling the area, carefully watching all around him.



There were several Meadow Browns in the grass.  I stopped to check the large bramble bushes, always a good area for the butterflies.  Today though there was mainly Meadow Browns, but I did see a Large Skipper, the first of the year, but it was very elusive and unfortunately I did not have much time to stand and wait for it to behave.

I turned west at the cross roads, and walked again in the sunshine.  The Foxgloves still putting on a wonderful show.



Once more the area was full of Meadow Brown, but little else other than a few Speckled Woods.


I went as far as the bend, then made my way back and headed towards the Gradwell entrance.  The clearing was in full sunshine and there were plenty of bees and one large Hornet.  I disturbed a Large Skipper on the path, but once again it was not going to play ball for me and the camera.

Again I turned back on myself in the interests of time, and walked down the Kitwood path.  As I passed a clump of Bramble a bright orange butterfly flew up, and circled the Bramble, and then headed away from me.  I had hoped but wasn't confident I would find a Silver-washed Fritillary today, but here was one, and I hoped I could relocate it it.

I walked slowly along the path, and watched as Meadow Browns flew up from the Bramble flowers.  There was quite a gathering on the newly opened flowers and I moved into to take a few pictures when I noticed a flash of orange.  The Fritillary was sitting on a flower, and there it stayed as I moved closer to photograph it.




The bright orange male is quite distinctive as it flies powerfully along woodland rides, pausing only briefly to feed or investigate anything with an orange hue that could be a potential mate. This butterfly is our largest Fritillary and gets its name from the beautiful streaks of silver found on the underside of the wings.



Pleased with that find I headed to the field to cross towards the meadow at Kitwood.  Toime was against me and I decided to jog along the path as the area was a little barren at this time of year, just barley growing.  After awhile the jog returned to a walk and I flushed a butterfly from the path in front of me.  I saw immediately what it was, there was a hint of pink and black and white checkers.  A Painted Lady, the first for some time I have seen here in Four Marks.  Unfortunately it flew across the field and dropped out of sight amongst the barley.  Hopefully this will be the first of many that will make their way through the area s the expected migration from Europe really gets under way with the warm weather.

Elated but disappointed I couldn't get the photograph, I climbed the style into the meadow.  I was immediately greeted with the sight of many Meadow Browns.  I scoured the grass for any sign of a Marbled White but could only see brown butterflies.  I walked around to the far side where there were lots of thistles coming into flower, and providing an attraction to the bees as well as the Meadow Browns.



The only different species of butterfly present was a Small Tortoiseshell.



It seemed like every flower had a butterfly on it, and if it didn't it was because there was a bee there already.



I walked around the cut paths scanning for any sign of something not brown or dark.  Finally I saw a small flash of orange and followed it, it settled and I managed to photograph a Large Skipper at last.


When you consider the number of Marbled Whites I saw at the weekend away from Four Marks it is amazing there were none here it what is a very suitable habitat. I decided to check the fields belonging to Homestead Farm, last year they were left to flower and there were lots of Common Blues and Marbled Whites.  This year though all the fields had recently been cut for hay, and all I could find were more Meadow Browns settling on the cut grass

I headed back to the car, but before I returned home I looked around the pond again.  There were several Azure Damselflies about, some copulating.


On the lily pads I also counted up to five Red-eyed Damselflies.


As I returned home I pondered on the events of the last hour.  The Painted Lady was a great find, I had hoped that there would be some this year.  To see Silver-washed Fritillary in June is a first too, and very unusual to see one before a Marbled White.  The whites though will turn up, and I just need to look in the sites more suited to them.

Later on in the afternoon a Red Kite drifted over the house, the first one I have seen here for a good while.



It drifted away, then headed back again towards the house.



Drifting away over the rooftops, but always looking and searching, I am sorry but all I have is mealworms.



A lovely end to June.

1 comment:

  1. Cant get hang of blog!! Kesterels r fledging tonite! Jill

    ReplyDelete