I was in two minds where to go for Lulworth Skippers on Friday but I plumped for Corfe Castle National Trust car park just off the A351. It was quite windy and this did at least give a bit of shelter, still not great for photos though. Note how olive the male is and the sun-ray of markings on the wing of the female. Also present, Marbled White, Large Skipper & Small Tortoiseshell.
Earlier, I'd finally seen a Black Hairstreak, well about six actually, at two sites in Buckinghamshire, I am indebted to Paul James, Dave Potter and the people on site for their help in this quest. Again, not great photos but it was my 54th butterfly species in the UK so I'm not complaining!
A Cattle Egret has been in Sidlesham Ferry field for a few days now, probably the North Wall bird, mainly fairly distant though it does occasionally come a bit closer, but not when I was there on Monday:
Owen Mitchell of Selseybirder renown reported a few Marbled Whites out at Drayton Pits near Oving yesterday so as only live round the corner I popped along this morning for a look; made a change to drive for five minutes rather than five hours!
There were at least six out, along with a Cinnabar Moth, a Meadow Brown, a surprise Small Skipper, many Common Blue Damselflies, a Marsh Orchid, several Pyramidal Orchids,maybe half a dozen Reed Warblers and a Cetti's Warbler.
Today it was raining but I decided that after seeing Heath Fritillaries the other day in drizzle it had to be worth a try going out..after about an hour at Stedham Common for Silver-studded Blues it was fair to say I was regretting my decision! However as luck would have it I met a lady dog-walker who suggested that if I was looking for the butterflies "up there" might be a good spot, not a place I'd seen them before..but she was right...six male and one female Silver-studded Blues out on the heather in the weak sun...thank you madam!
I had two targets for Friday, the Large Blue at Collard Hill and Heath Fritillary at Haddon Hill, both in Somerset although an hour's drive apart. I'd been checking the weather forecast all week and it didn't look too promising but as I've said before I won't see anything sat at home so off I went, an early start meaning that I was on site at Collard Hill near Street at 9AM- just as well really as I by 910 I'd found a probably freshly emerged Large Blue. Truth be told it didn't do a lot but that made a change I suppose from them whizzing about and not stopping! It was nice to meet Abbi the volunteer ranger there (appreciated the mention on the blog!) and it's clear that the whole reserve is being well run and looked after by knowledgeable staff; hopefully more people will connect with this wonderful butterfly there.
Update: 13/6/16, from Abbi the vilubteer ranger at Collard Hill re: the video & pics: " Not sure if you noticed but this one has a tear on one side of it's wing and the other side has a hole. Therefore, this is the butterfly with the huge black border that is almost merging with the black spots on the upperwings, I have been told by the expert David Simcox that this is a rare deformation. A special little butterfly has been filmed there"
Deciding not to wait for the Large Blue to open its wings (which it did after just after I left!) I drove down (or up, very steep in places!) to Exmoor for the Heath Fritillaries. Originally I had planned to do Blean for these but I quite fancied a look for these as I hadn't been to the area before; always good to go somewhere new as it's more of a challenge, especially on your own. As it turned out the butterflies were fairly easy to find once I'd worked out which side of the road they were on and up to a dozen showed well along the edge of the wood at Haddon Hill. I took the shortcut and parked at SS987286, from there go over the obvious stile, turn left and then immediately right, down the hill and along the first small track to the right; if you reach the big track you've gone to far.
A more successful day as I managed to actually make it to the site (the Long Pool at Pagham) I wanted as there was much less traffic about. The only negative is that I've pulled a muscle under my shoulder blade lugging new potatoes about, ho hum! Bird photos from today, the rest from yesterday.
Grass Vetchling (thanks to AH on the selseybirder blog for reminding me of the ID!):
Diamondback Moth, plenty, and I mean '00s if not 000s of these little moths on the farm at the moment:
These are our pictures from our stroll around the farm & lanes in Oving.
Yellow Flag Iris:
Meadowsweet, not in flower yet:
Mugwort, this one had some scent so probably another artemesia gene in there somewhere: