Monday, 26 July 2010

Yet more of the wet stuff

The Safari is a bit miffed as it really hasn’t stopped raining since the hosepipe ban was announced. Last Friday we managed a little bit of sunshine before finishing work and a quick sprint round the gardens gave us a nice bright Chicory flower. Restharrow was in flower too. And better still our best ever shots of Common Blue butterflies, not that there anything like very good. We counted three which constitutes a major hatch here. Still not brilliant pics but they have been giving us the run around for the best part of three decades Small Tortoiseshells are always nice to see and appear to be having their best year for a long time. We were really hoping for a Grayling which is becoming a very scarce butterfly on the nearby dunes but with a southerly wind you never know your luck; we did have one in the garden a few years ago, a second wouldn’t go amiss.
Went up to the north of our area this weekend and all looked very promising; we even had a BBQ on the Friday evening, lovely and warm as we sat out on the patio drinking beer in t-shirts…all went horribly pear shaped on Saturday morning almost as soon as we’d put our boots on. Saturday was the start of the Big Butterfly Count and we were slap bang in the middle of the regions top-dollar butterfly area. So off we headed into the encroaching gloom and freshening wind, not what we had in mind for the last week of July! Five miles of walking later and we had only had one Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary,one unidentified Fritillary (probably SPBF – looked very fresh), a couple of distant whites and a Meadow Brown to show for our efforts. Birdwise we struggled to see or hear anything of note but a late fly past Green Woodpecker was a brief and unexpected bonus as was an, even briefer, mammal tick in the form of a Weasel – with prey – which darted across the path only to disappear into a hole at the base of the adjacent dry stone wall.
This was mid-day in the woods, needed the flash to get anything like a picture.We stopped for an ice cream, homemade on the farm and fabulously delicious, but we didn’t need to rush as there was no chance of it melting, although we had to rush as the bench we were sat on was a tad exposed to the elements and heavy rain was moving quickly across the bay straight towards us.
Sunday was decidedly worse with no butterflies seen apart from a couple of unidentified whites and not a single dragon or damsel despite spending a few minutes at a real hot-spot. Bird interest was provided by a family of Jays and the call of a Bullfinch from the depths of a thicket. We did see a mammal, a Grey Seal that bobbed offshore for a minute or two before disappearing under the waves. Here's yours truly looking out to sea for it while Benny leaps for his ball.Frankie and Benny enjoyed being out and about in the fresh air. Just who would have called their dogs after a restaurant chain?Best tick of the weekend wasn’t wildlife but a pub! Been visiting this area since before we were legal to drink but never knew of this place and it looks like hasn’t changed in forty years ie a refurb and modernisation would ruin it…the locals call it ‘Spookies’ as it looks a bit like the Adams Family’s house…shoulda really taken a few pics, but here’s one of a gorgeous pint of beer and a couple of cheeky mutts trying to scrounge a crisp or two. A great weekend…if only we’d had a bit of sunshine to bring the butterflies out…lack of sunshine kept the Clegs at bay though so quite good from Wifey and our friends’ point of view. Sparrowhawk seen attacking a Blackbird on Patch 1 this morning – not sure if it got it; couldn’t see through the foliage, dang close if it didn’t was only inches behind it!
Too wet and too busy for Patch 2 today. And why too busy? Former World Champion Formula 1 and Indie Car driver Nigel Mansell popped in on his bike after an 80 mile ride from Chester during his nationawide tour of the Cyling Towns.

Where to next? Back to the Patches and bit of pond dipping coming up.
In the meantime let us know if the weather is scuppering the wildlife watching in your outback.


Warren Baker said...

Still a good time had despite the weather Dave. Your butterfly photography is coming on leaps and bounds :-)

Monika said...

Too bad the weather didn't cooperate but sounds like you still had a great trip. That pic of Frank and Benny under the table at the pub is classic!

Amila Kanchana said...

How nice too see all those great photos after all this time!

anthony said...

probably a bit fast for Mansell these days, one of those bikes - probably got sick of seeing the back of Senna disappearing over the years...

Anonymous said...

Davo - your blog just used me Sunday name - how bizarro