Friday, 31 July 2015

Alner's Gorse - 31 July

My first visit to this excellent Butterfly Conservation reserve between Blandford Forum and Yeovil. Parking available in a small layby here.

The main target of this visit was Brown Hairstreak, and 1m and 2f were found at 2 locations:
   ~ thistles at the end of the footpath running downhill from the entrance
   ~ on blackthorn/thistles on western side of main reserve

Purple Hairstreak were common on virtually all of the more substantial trees and regularly coming down to nectar on bramble. 1 White-letter Hairstreak was seen nectaring on brambles low down on western side of reserve.

Impressive numbers of Silver-washed Fritillaries were present in the woods to the north including one Valezina.

Purple Hairstreak ~ Favonius quercus

White-letter Hairstreak ~ Satyrium w-album

Brown Hairstreak ~ Thecla betulae

Brown Hairstreak ~ Thecla betulae

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Mill Lawn Damselflies ~ 16 July 2016 - DAMSELFLIES

Quick trip to the NF focusing on my favourite spot at Mill Lawn where the cloudy weather was preventing the numbers of Southern Damselflies as seen last year. There were still around half a dozen along with good numbers of White-legged Damselflies.

1 male Scarce-blue Tailed showed well in a brief sunny spell, before practically disappearing into the riverside vegetation. Image & diagram below for ID features:

Friday, 10 July 2015

Scotland ~ Days 7-9


On this day we decided to visit Sanna Bay; the beach here is probably one of the most beautiful in the UK, and so it was with no hesitation that we spent a while exploring what the dunes had to offer. Lots of Sand Martins were visiting their colonies (the peninsular as a whole had an abundance of these), and a male Wheatear was busy collecting food.

On our drive back we pulled into a lay-by to scan the ridges for eagles. Alas there were none, but we were still very glad we stopped as we had very good views of a pair of Whinchat, along with my first Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary of the trip.

Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary
Male Whinchat

As it was my final full day at the house, I decided to start the day by getting up early and explore the woods near the cottage. 3 Wood Warbler and a Spotted Flycatcher were good to see.

Wood Warbler
We then drove to the RSPB's Glenborrodale reserve. En route we stopped as Matt spotted a large raptor just breaking the horizon, which excitingly turned out to be a Golden Eagle!

Golden Eagle
The reserve itself provided a very pleasant walk with 2 Spotted Flycatchers, a reeling Grasshopper Warbler, several Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary and 1 very fresh looking Chequered Skipper!

Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary

Chequered Skipper

Chequered Skipper

The long drive back from the highlands to Rugby took all day, though a brief stop near Arnside yielded a few Northern Brown Argus, the 2nd butterfly lifer of the trip for me!

Northern Brown Argus