Monday, 30 May 2016

29th May - Born With The Moon In Cancer

The sun had returned yesterday but along with a fresh northerly breeze,  This morning there was a lot more coud about, and it felt a little cool as I set out late in the morning.  After the sun yesterday I was hoping for some butterflies today, and as I walked along Brislands there were signs that the sun might be out soon.

Ahead of me in the road was a Robin, that was then joined by another.  It then came clear that the two were not a pair as the first bird started to posture towards the other bitd by thrusting its red breast out.

The exchange became a little more heated as the birds moved to the hedge where they both tried to get the higher position.  I am not sure which bird succeeded as it was difficult to tell them apart as they moved against each other.

I left them to it and walked along Brislands heading out into the open fields.  Skylarks sang on either side of me, and every so often I would hear the chatter of a Swallow as it flew back and forth across the lane.

The Cow Parsley is now fully out, and the bracken is reaching its height, the fronds unrolling like alien creatures looking great against the merged background of the field and wood.

As I reached the entrance to the wood alarm calls alerted me to a Buzzard that came out of the tree and circled above me.

It was sad to see a fly tipped divan bed by the side of the road, why do people do this?  I walked into the wood, then out through a gap to walk just outside.  Swallows were flying low over the field, and would drop down to pick up bits of straw.  

A whistle in front of me alerted to a bird flying up to the trunk of an Oak tree.  It was quick and all I could manage was a record shot of a Treecreeper carrying food.

I turned onto the perimeter path, and flushed a butterfly from the path.  Fortunately it did settled back down and I was able to get my first Speckled Wood picture of the year.

From the perimeter path I crossed onto one of the newer paths that have recently been created by the forestry work. and as I passed the conifers and pines I heard a Garden Warbler singing.  The song is a lot more scratchy than that of a Blackcap, and I just managed a glimpse of it as it sang in the middle of a bush before it flew off.  No photograph, but definitely a Garden Warbler.

I had made my way through bramble and nettles to get as close as I could, and as I turned away there was some consolation in the Silver Ground Carpet, a day flying moth.

I was now close to the main path that leads to the West End so I scrambled my way through the nettles and then turned on it towards the west end of the wood.  I then walked down through the paddocks hoping that the buttercups and clover we had seen last week may be attracting butterflies in what was now quite warm sunshine.  As I approached the field it was clear it had been cut, and there was nothing in the field.  On the other side of the path Swallows and House Martins were flying low through the long grass hawking for insects.

I decided to turn around and go back through the wood.  As I entered I could hear the piping whistle of  a Bullfinch, and in the thick green cover it was very difficult to see.  Every so often I would see a movement, but the bird was giving me the run around.  Finally I managed to get a good view, it was a male, worth the effort.

I headed up the main path disturbing a Red Admiral from the path, and a little further along I came across another Speckled Wood.

Speckled Woods proved to be the most numerous butterfly I saw today, with me counting ten in the wood.  The only other butterfly I saw was a Large White.

I turned onto the path to walk to the pond.  Stopping at the clearing by the Beech tree movement in the bramble caught my eye and I went over to get close to a Carder Bee.  As I walked up I disturbed an Azure Damselfly from the leaves.  Again I was lucky it settled back down.  From the colour this looks like an immature male.

The Bee was still there after I turned away from the Azure.  It was very interested in the early bramble flowers.

I left the wood and walked to the pond.  The Irises are just beginning to flower, the yellow petals standing out against the darkness of the water.

In around the Iris were several Damselflies.  I managed to see one Large Red but it wouldn't settle.  The most numerous though were the Azures with at least half a dozen.  The were active but did eventually settle on the leaves.

These were definitely adult males.

From the pond I walked down to the meadow on the corner at Kitwood.  As I climbed the style I saw a large grey bird in the taller grass.  I was able to get quite close to a Mistle Thrush that was occupied in collecting food, probably for nestlings somewhere close by.

As I crossed the field I was amazed by the profusion of white hawthorn blossom that dominated the view across the field.  It seemed as if very bush was covered in white.

I walked through the wood hoping that maybe there might be a Spotted Flycatcher about.  It is this time of year that one at least seems to turn up here.  Unfortunately it looks like this year they are not going to oblige though, as the wood as I walked through was very quiet.

Coming out of the wood and crossing the field towards Gradwell, again I was taken by the amount of Hawthorn blossom, the white May flowers contrasting with the pale blue of the sky.

It was just after midday and as I walked home there was little about.  I hadn't found the butterflies I had hoped for, but I did manage to see a Garden Warbler, the first for the year on the local patch.  May is nearly over, the trees other than the Ash are all in full leaf and everywhere look so wonderfully green.  June will bring a quiet spell, and the time to look for specialties like Roe Deer families and hopefully plenty of butterflies.

On the subject of butterflies on the last day of the Bank Holiday we went out in search of some to the west of the county, and didn't do too badly despite the loud and cool wind

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