As we started a Speckled Wood butterfly settled on a patch of Enchanters Nightshade right in front of us. This was to be the first of many of this species.
The woodland gardens were nice and cool. we found the Great Spotted Woodpecker's nest but the young have already fledged. at the pond by the old wartime pillbox a young Moorhen pecked around in the mud. Moving further down the track in to the more open part of the woodland there were several white butterflies but we were unaable to net any - they were too warm and so to quick.
A Common Darter dragonfly was seen perched on a high branch of an Oak tree well out of reach. A Holly Blue zipped through the tree tops.
On the Heron's Reach footpath round the back of the zoo we soon found many Gatekeepers, a few Small Skippers and several Meadow Browns. We weren't keeping a count but I don't think I've ever seen so many Gatekeepers on one afternoon before.
A very clean undamaged Common Blue butterfly was potted. As was a Common Blue Damselfly - look for the 'Barrett Homes' logo on the second abdominal segment. Azure Damselfly also hit the net - 'Honda' logo, but the Blue Tailed Damselflies all evaded capture. A couple of Brown Hawker dragonflies gave us superb fly past views and I mananged to net a Common Darter but in was a teneral specimen - recently emerged - and hadn't coloured up yet.
Several Grass Vetchling plants were found very pretty with their almost flourescent pink solitary flower.
Cinnabar moth caterpillars were found on Ragwort and a 6-Spotted Burnet moth was netted for the obligitory ecology lesson in mimicry.
All in all a great afternoon out - sorry there are no pictures on this post but my camera is packed ready for tomorrows adventure.
In the meantime let us know what you have seen in your 'outback'
See yas next week.