Thursday, 30 May 2013

Hitting the higher ground

The Safari has been out testing lungs, heart and calves to their limits...well we're not as fit as we used to be!
We went first to the river where we hoped to find a Dipper. We quietly sat for over half an hour listening to the sound-track of the day, Willow Warblers! Fish, probably Brown Trout, jumped taking emerging Mayflies from the surface. Green Veined Whites fluttered by. A Robin played at being a flycatcher and a pair of Pied Wagtails skipped around the weir looking for insects for their growing brood. A female Mallard came out of the undergrowth with half a dozen very well grown youngsters while a Chiffchaff sang with a beakful of bugs above our head - all very nice but no Dippers - yet!
We moved to another nearby site and soon had cracking views of a singing Garden Warbler, views much better than these two pics suggest.
If Willow Warblers were the sound-track for the day then May Blossom, Hawthorn, was the scent of the day. We spent ages watching the river again but only found several Grey Wagtails, no Dippers, just this nest that looks to be in use but no-one visited and no sound was heard not surprisingly seeing as how its under the busy motorway and above the babbling river.
Time to move to another site and this is the one were we tested our legs by trundling up hill and down steep dale on the search of what we might find.
We turned a lot of rocks and found two of these...
This was the small and more slender of the two the other had lost the end of its tail not too long ago. We found them difficult to wrangle for a pic on our own. We really like Slow Worms but we couldn't find any Adders. On a warm muggy day like today Green Tiger Beetles are often out at this site but we didn't see any :-(
More Green Veined Whites were seen and a single male Orange Tip
Overhead a Lesser Redpoll was song flighting and up the hill in the Heather we watched a Red Legged Partridge giving it some serious vocal welly, but we refuse to put it on our Year List Challenge.
There were some others about on the main path, including some young families which was good to see,  but we were well away from that and well away from all the modern world entails, we had no mobile signal, could here no cars and saw no planes going over - bliss!!!
Just before it was time to turn round and head back to the Land Rover and Base Camp to get Wifey's dinner on we saw a crackin little butterfly, a pristine Small Copper.
The walk back took us past a lovely patch of Bluebells, still out very late into the late spring.

Final sighting of the trip was a Peacock butterfly but we would really have liked to find a Green Hairstreak or two.
So no Dipper - dipped out; have to save them for another trip out this way.
Only one moth in the mothy this morning - and a lot of rain water :-( an out of focus phone-cammed Garden Carpet.
Where to next? Not sure what's happening tomorrow, chores n other stuff but no doubt there'll be something of interest in the garden here at Base Camp.
In the meantime let us know if you're fit for nothing in your outback too.

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