Saturday, 18 June 2011

Where are they all ?

The Safari spent too long indoors today and only got out onto Patch 1 for a short while early afternoon with the idea of hunting down a few butterflies. First stop, rather obviously, was the Butterfly Zone where nothing much was happening, a Blackcap and Wren sang at each other and a Speckled Wood was the only butterfly seen. Checking out the Bramble patch we'd seen the Large Skipper nectaring on last week we found no butterflies what so ever but there were a few bees including this unknown species of Cuckoo Bee, or at least that's what we think it is.

Wandering on to the rough field this double flowered Common Catsear grabbed our attention.

It should look like this.

The stridulations of Meadow Grasshoppers was coming from everywhere on this now warm but breezy afternoon, all we managed to spot were too flighty for a pic. Still no butterflies though.

We walked along the hedgerow noting a pair of Whitethroats taking food to a brood. A Song Thrush dived out of the hedge and in to the large Gorse bush in the middle of the field.
This year there doesn't seem to be as many wildflowers in the field but a few specimens of Common Vetch were found.

At the bottom of the field is a very rough area that has been part of a building site at some time in the past as it is open limestone gravel with scattered plants rather than normal soil which is totally vegetated. Here there are some decent sized patches of Birds Foot Trefoil, but no Common Blue butterflies. At the margin a few scatty bushes of Dog Rose eke out a living in the rough ground. Always looks good for Bee Orchids there but sadly we've never found one.

In the absence of competition from tall grass and mowing machines the Self Heal plants grow fairly tall.

Working our way back up the field towards the Butterfly Zone we saw this stunning clump of Tufted Hair Grass - the pics don't do the delicate silvery purple flower-heads justice.

Back in the Butterfly Zone we upped our tally of Speckled Woods to four but no other species, very disappointing. While we were stood there waiting for the White Letter Hairstreak(s?) to put in an appearance we noticed a family of Long Tailed Tits being fed in the open. Also here briefly was a brood of Great Tits and a juvenile Greenfinch - a very popular twig!!!

Still no sign of any other butterflies so we decided to have a look around the park proper and saw a couple we didn't know bedecked with camera gear. A quick chat revealed they hadn't found much either although they did say they'd seen some damselflies in the top pond. We went to investigate, sure enough pair of either Azure or Common Blue Damselflies were in tandem - then Frank jumped in...time to go...on the way out we had a look at the Sparrowhawk - she was stood up with her wings spread; a Grey Squirrel was a few branches above her lookng totally disinterested.

Where to next? Hopefly it won't rain tonight:) so the mothy can go out- chucked it down in the small hours last night; glad the mothy wasn't out, anything in it would have drowned!!!
In the meantime let us know what's taking its time showing up in your outback

Might get out again later, be a shame to waste this sunshine faffing on this 'puter.

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