As the birding slows down, there’s always orchids to keep interest up.  The dodgy weather seems to have slowed things down, but there are now large numbers of orchids on the Downs.  Around the Cissbury Ring area there are a large number of Common Spotted Orchids, and nearer to home in Sompting there is a bank with over 1000 Pyramidal Orchids on (they’re not all out yet) and, better still, 50 Bee Orchids, the first we have seen there in the 26 years we have been down here.

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Poplar Kitten
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I thought these were rare: our second Beautiful Marbled in a week
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Netted Pug
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Poplar Hawk Moth
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Privet Hawk Moth
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Blue-tailed Damselflies
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Common Spotted Orchid
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Pyramidal Orchid
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Bee Orchid
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Grizzled Skipper

Summer begins

Spring was an utter disaster moth-wise: cold, wet and wind meant that we hardly put the trap out and and on the few occasions we did it was practically empty .  June has started well, however, and numbers of moths have rocketed to the dizzy heights of average.  We have had good diversity, though, with a number of new moths for the garden.  Last night’s trap was excellent with three new moths, at least two of them migrants, and quite rare ones too: Beautiful Marbled and Portland Riband Wave, the other being a May Highflyer.

Here’s a few moths from recent traps and a couple of butterflies from our walks.

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Duke of Burgundy
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Small Blue
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Buff Tip
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Lime Hawkmoth
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Small Elephant Hawkmoth and Pine Hawkmoth
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Tawny-barred Angle, a new moth for the garden
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Pebble Hook-tip
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Oak Hook-tip
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Orange Footman, another new moth for the garden
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Puss Moth
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Scorched Carpet
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May Highflyer, another new moth
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Beautiful Marbled, new, and quite rare in the UK
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Portland Riband Wave, new and another rarity away from Dorset

The Dales

Continuing our Yorkshire weekend, we had an early morning visit to Strid Woods in Wharfedale.  The Strid in late May is one of my favourite places, and this year it was as lovely as ever.  With loads of Pied Flycatchers, as well as a few Spotted Flycatchers, Dippers, Redstarts, Goosanders, Common Sandpipers as well as the more common woodland birds, and the calls of Oystercatchers and Curlew from the moor above, it’s a great place to be in the morning.  Unfortunately there were no Wood Warblers to be found this time, but a Tawny Owl with a well-hidden chick was a treat.

In the afternoon we went up Nidderdale to Scar House reservoir for a walk with Mum and my brother and sister in law.  It was a bit quieter than normal in spring (apart from the racket made by a group of motorbikers scaring the sheep) but we still had nice views of Wheatear and many Lapwings.

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The Strid
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Mandarin Duck
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Common Sandpiper
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This Tawny Owl had a chick
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Pied Flycatcher
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Meanwhile at home, the small Grass Snake sits still enough for a photo.

Seabird fun

Our week in Harrogate seeing my mum in her lovely new flat was curtailed to a long weekend, but the bank holiday heatwave made it a very pleasant trip.  On Sunday, we managed to find the one place in Britain that was cold: the east coast had a thick sea mist and was decidedly nippy.  To make it worse, all of the rarities there the previous day seemed to have left overnight.

However, Bempton didn’t disappoint, with many Puffins and all the usual seabirds showing well, although the light made photography a bit harder then normal.  Flamborough was very quiet bird-wise, but a small ledge that seemed to be home to 8 Puffins was fun.  The lack of anything else meant that returned early via the scenic route over the Wolds.  The news of Bee-eaters over Bempton half an hour later wasn’t greeted with joy!

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A Puffin close enough to see in the mist at Bempton Cliffs.
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Kittiwake gathers nesting material
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Bringing home a present...
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... it's well received
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Over at Thornwick Pools there's a Wood Sandpiper
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At Flamborough there are yet more Puffins