I’m sorry about the lack of updates recently. The World Cup and a busy time at work have rather got in the way. I have managed to get some nature walks in though and below are some of the highlights.
15th June: At trip to Farley Mount country park where I was serenaded by Tree Pipit.
21st June: A walk along Acres Down in the New Forest where in addition to lots of Silver-spotted Blue butterflies I saw a very pretty day-flying moth, a male Clouded Buff, which is rich yellow with pink markings.
26th June: A trip to the Butterfly Conservation nature reserve at Bentley Wood on the Wiltshire border. Though I did not spot any Purple Emperors, which are the reserve’s speciality, there were plenty f other butterflies; Ringlets, White Admirals and Silver-washed Fritillaries. I also saw another Tree Pipit plus other woodland birds such as Nuthatch and Marsh Tit.
5th July: Though the day was grey and damp it fortunately cleared for a bat walk and moth night on the edge of Andover. On the bat walk we stopped for 10 minutes at the corner of an arable field whilst a dozen Pipistrelles flew above us, often only 2 or 3ft above. The mothing afterwards was also good, 30 moths of 26 species .
11th July: I spent the day at Martin Down on the Hampshire/Wiltshire border. There were butterflies galore, particularly Dark-green Fritillaries, Marbled Whites and Skippers. The only disappointment was that there no blues flying. On the bird front, it was pleasing to find several Corn Buntings and I am sure I spotted a Redstart which is unusual but not unheard of for the site. After driving down to Fordingbridge for some dinner I returned at dusk for another moth night. And what a night it was! Over 80 moths of 55 species, 31 of which were year ticks and 10 lifetime ticks. There were several big beauties such as Drinkers, Elephant and Small Elephant Hawks. It was fantastic!
19th July: I have started regularly visiting an underpass near Rooksbury Mill to look for moths. I though that as today was supposed to be wet and miserable I would visit there this morning. Along with the usual Common and Dingy footmen and Black Arches, I found another lifetime tick, an August Thorn. On the way back to the car I got talking to one of the photographers who regularly visit the reserve who told me about a group of wader-like birds that had been seen on the Mill Lake. I thought they must be Common Sandpipers. I walked over to the lake and immediately the four Sandpipers flew off from some lily pads towards the other end of the lake where they dropped out of view not to reappear. i have seen single Sandpipers there before but never that many.