It’s been a good week for lepidoptera at home, with a fly-by Marbled White adding itself to the house list and two new moths, at opposite ends of the spectacular scale. The first, a Small Dotted Buff, isn’t going to win any beauty contests, but the Scarlet Tiger is the moth of the year. There was a good supporting cast, including 11 Hawkmoths last night (and five species for the week).
A couple of walks on the downs had loads of butterflies, with Painted Ladies in abundance, a few Ringlets and a Dark Green Fritillary. It took us ages to find Little Owl this year, but now I know I regularly walk past a nest site, I see one most weeks. On Friday one finally posed for the camera (its mate was less cooperative).
A day Barn Owl ringing produced a mix bag of full and empty boxes, but there were enough chicks for me to ring my first.
Small Dotted Buff
My first ring. This chick was very small.
An older chick
Karen gets a turn
Barrie gets the details from mum’s ring
A herd of elephants: five Elephant and four Small Elephant Hawkmoths
We took a step into the unknown yesterday evening, helping a bird ringer check some Barn Owl boxes. It was in at the deep end straight away: I was sent up the ladder, extracted two chicks, and then Karen got to put a ring on one of them. The next box was empty and the last had a Stock Dove in.
No doubt there will be more pictures as we do a bit more, but thanks to Nick and Claire Oliver for taking these.
The perfect cure for fear of heights: you’re so terrified of damaging the blighter or getting skewered by her that you forget you’re teetering around on the top of a ladder.
A picture of concentration
Taking a chick out of a bag
We had a trip to Somerset this weekend to finally find a Large Blue butterfly. There were a good number at Collard Hill, including a pair mating, which were the only ones that cooperated for the cameras (blue pictures indeed). There was a selection of orchids there too, including a Wasp Orchid, a variant of the much more common Bee Orchid.
At Ham Wall and Shapwick Heath nature reserves Great White Egrets were all over the place and at least one Bittern was booming and another eventually showed itself.
Common Spotted Orchid
Greater Butterfly Orchid (Former Butterfly Orchid, more like)
Great White Egret
A late post from last week when we had a day out in the New Forest. At Acres Down the Goshawks were active but distant, and we did see Honey Buzzard, but it was a poor view. A 16 mile walk around Bolderwood, High Corner and Fritham was quiet but pleasant, with a number of smart Redstarts and at least one Wood Warbler.
This Wood Warbler was too busy to pose.
We had a week in Yorkshire over the bank holiday, bombing around the place as well as seeing family and friends.
Scar House reservoir had horizontal rain, but also a pair of Ring Ouzels. A twitch to Hornsea Mere delivered the Baikal Teal, eventually, but the views were poor. The Strid was excellent, the highlight being a singing Wood Warbler, which is becoming harder to find these days. A walk up Simon’s Seat produced Red Grouse and chicks and another Ring Ouzel as well as beautiful views.
Out east a trip to Spurn produced a Serin early on and a few more common migrants. Hornsea was shut, so no more views of the Teal, but my first night in Bridlington since I left when I was three at least had good beer. Bempton and Flamborough had more Puffins than I’ve ever seen there. It was still awkward to get a photo on the ground, but I got many flight shots.
At Arkengarthdale the Black Grouse lek seems to have moved, but there was still one there and the road to the Tan Hill inn had a few Curlew chicks: something new for me. The beer in Masham is as good as ever!
At Harrogate, the wildlife stars were a Hedgehog demanding food with menaces and a bonkers Tawny Owl, which seems to like sitting on lawns in daylight. Of course that only happens to other people, and our views were at dusk, but they were still good.
A female Ring Ouzel gathers worms
A cooperative Dipper for a change
Not famous yet
Karen’s been watching Free Solo
Female and chick with male in the background
Looking towards Harrogate from the Lord’s Seat
The elusive waterfall in the Valley of Desolation
Avocets on Beacon Ponds at Spurn
Puffin on Flamborough Head
Gannets at Bempton Cliffs
Here come the Puffins
If you’re missing the Jeremy Kyle Show, try Gannets
It’s busy at the Tan Hill Inn