There were the first signs of autumn and winter beyond in the hedgerow, a few Cyclamen were starting to flower, and there were stems of orange berries coming from the Lords and Ladies plants that had flowered in the early spring.
Helen then found a small pretty moth hiding under the leaves in the Beech hedge. It is a called a Pretty Chalk Carpet.
We turned into Gradwell, and as we approached the footpath turn we could see a duck on the side of the road, unfortunately not one I could identify, or count!
We crossed the field leading into Old Down Wood. The sun was in, and there were no butterflies about despite the flowers in the hedge, and at the side of the field.
As we came into the wood it was very quiet, then as we passed a large clump of Bramble several Wrens started calling. There was a family party, probably a second brood, something I have not noticed around here. However the young birds continued to call out in the open.
The calling just to make sure that everyone knew where everyone was.
The first butterfly to appear was of course a Meadow Brown, but it was very worn. Next was a rather smart Gatekeeper.
We carried along the main path, then turned onto the Kitwood path, again a few Meadow Browns, but very little else. We took the perimeter path, and camme out onto the main path at Old Down Cottage. The sun was now out, and as we walked there were more calling Wrens, and several Large White butterflies.
A bright red form on a Bramble leaf turned out to be a very smart Peacock. I saw lots of butterflies when walking in the Dolomites just recently, many of them new ones to me. But apart from maybe the Scarce Swallowtail, none of them were as beautiful as this Peacock butterfly.
A little further on and we paused to watch the bees on the Cow Parsley. As we did, a Silver-washed Fritillary flew past, circled back and landed in front of us.
Its coming to the end of their flight period, and this one was beginning to look a little faded.
Back to the bees, and there were several Forest Cuckoo Bees feeding on the parsley.
Where the sunshine came through the leaves there were Speckled Woods sitting on the broad leaves.
There were very few birds about. We could hear a Green Woodpecker somewhere in amongst the trees, and every so often the mew of a Buzzard above us. At this time of year a lot of the local resident birds under go a moult, and as they can be vulnerable to predators they spend much of the time hidden away, silent in amongst the leaves. We watched this Robin quite closely as it crept through the Hazel bush.
The rest of the walk through the wood didn't reveal that much, the odd Speckled Wood and Meadow Brown. We turned out of the wood, and then down through the Desmond Paddocks. From here we headed up Andrew Lane which was quite overgrown on either side.
At the top of the lane, there is an open patch, and a male Brimstone was sitting in the grass.
We made our way along the top of the lane, past the field with lambs that are now well grown. We then came down the footpath alongside the field that comes out close to Old Down Cottage and the pond.
The side of the field was lined with daisies, and to my delight a Common Blue butterfly came up out of the flowers. The delight soon changed as it just didn't stop, but it was a first for the year, and at last I had found one after a lot of searching.
A little further on we came across a rather worn Green-veined White in amongst the ragwort.
A little further on, this time on the small vine flowers was a Small White.
Despite more searching we couldn't find any other butterflies. At the style we turned in the direction of the pond, and stopping there the water lilies look lovely on the dark water of the pond.
A closer look at the lilies revealed a Red-eyed Damselfly on the pads.
We walked towards Kitwood Lane, pausing to look at the Violet Helleborines that were now in full flower.
A little further on an old Oak tree was not looking too good, and in a broken part of the main trunk there was a collection of bright yellow and orange that I think is the early stages of the fungi Chicken of the Woods.
We walked through the meadow, that seems to have been left, there were some trefoil flowers about, but other than a small white no butterflies. We crossed the field and went through the wood. We had several Red Admiral passing us but they never stopped.
As we came to the the entrance a Southern Hawker Dragonfly was circling the trees, then settled on one of the branches.
Close by another Green-veined White was sitting on a leaf, this one was in a little better condition.
As we walked along Brisland a group of Bullfinches were calling in the bushes, and as We came closer two young Bullfinches crossed in front of us, and then the male which I found sitting in a bush in the nearby garden.
Next door a juvenile Robin was perched on a gate watching the ground for possible food.
Coming up Lymington Rise, another blue butterfly flew up bythe side of the house. It settled on a dead rose head, and could see it was a Holly Blue.
And that was it, a blue butterfly at last, but not photographed. Not much of the summer left, and soon the coolness of autumn will be with us. For now lets just enjoy the weather.