Thursday, 3 June 2021

Glanville Fritillary at Hutchinson's Bank

Glanville Fritillary

Glanville Fritillary
Glanville Fritillary
Glanville Fritillary
Glanville Fritillary - I do this photo
Small Blue

Grizzled Skipper
Marsh Fritillary
 Marsh Fritillary
Dingy Skipper
Wall (Lea Quarry, Shropshire)
Wall (Lea Quarry, Shropshire)

The weather has finally changed! We had a fantastic weekend starting with watching Gussy play cricket on Saturday then on Sunday we headed to London as Mary Ann wanted to visit her sister for the first time for 18 months. As they had a lot of catching up to do I visited the fantastic Hutchinson's Bank near Croyden. 

The sun took a long time to break through and then there was no sign of the star attraction butterflies, the Glanville Fritillarys. Thankfully I remained patient and found a few in a different area to where they are regually seen. Species seen and approx counts were as follows :- 4-6 Glanville Fritillary, 1 Marsh Fritillary (odd sighting), 20+ Dingy Skipper, 2 Grizzled Skipper, 1 Green Harstreak, 30+ Small Blue, 5+ Common Blue, 2 Holly Blue, Large White, 10+ Brimstone.
 
On Bank Holiday Monday we walked Lea Quarry & the Wyre Forest. Sightings included 4 Wall & 15+ Common Blue at Quarry then 5/6 Pearl-bordered Fritillary in the forest (conditions were too hot).
 
I am currently on 26 species of butterfly for this year, details here. I'm still yet to find a Painted Lady. 

Birding in the highlands


Black Guillemot
 
Black Guillemot
 
Black Guillemot
 
Highland view

 
The Kelpies



Black Guillemot

Glencoe Pass


Mull in distance



Highland Cattle

Black Guillemot

Red-brested Meganser
Black Guillemot

Location


Whilst in the highlands of Scotland I managed to see some great birds. As I passed Glencoe I had a male Hen Harrier fly over the car and up into the pass. I had one in same area on my previous visit.

Whilst waiting for the rain to clear at Glasdrum I recorded Whimbrel, Curlew and Red-brested Meganser, this was the same area as the Otters. 

In Oban I had the pleasure of watching the Black Guillemots in the harbour at very close quarters. The best place to watch them was around the Alexander Hotel. There was also a Hooded Crows flying up and down the promonade.

News from the pits - Absolutley no news of note. Very much hard work for everyone at the moment.

Long trip to Glasdrum for Chequered Skipper

The Chequered Skipper






Pearl-bordered Fritillary




With just three butterflies to see in Great Britain it was time to bite the bullet and head north to Scotland to see the Chequered Skipper. The species are a Scottish speciality located between Oban & Fort William. I had waited for a good forecast before booking some overnight accomodation which would give me two chances if needed.

Before heading into the highland I stopped at the iconic Kelpies which I've always wanted to visit, well worth a walk if you are ever passing.

On arrival at Glasdrum I was greeted with heavy cloud which developed into drizzle most certainly not what was forecast. 2 1/2 hours of searching and not a single bit of hope, it was just not warm enough and sun was very much needed. Just below the reserve I watched two otters catching fish while a Whimbrel kept calling clearly not happy the otters were about.

I'd seen a nice cafe about 10 minutes north so I headed there for some lunch and a battery recharge. During my lunch there was a terrencial downpour, this did not look good. Then out of nowhere a small peak of sunshine emerged and I was off back down to reserve. 

There were now three other people looking who had seen one in flight, I was starting to get hopeful. I'm not sure how many bluebells I'd checked but I was very grateful when finally I picked one up in flight and there was no way I was going to lose it. Thankfully it sat up beautifully on a bluebell enabling me to get the optics on it and some photos. What a stunning butterfly! Its hard to estimate how many Skippers I saw however 4-6 would be my best guess with at least three around the burn. Sightings from previous weekend were much more plentiful but the weather then was much kinder. The mixed weather probably assisted me in getting a nice selection of photos of the species showing underwing & with wings open. I was very happy with the ones I had seen which was my 57th butterfly. 

To visit Glasdrum you need to head north out of Oban then take a small road to Inver after turning east off the A828 roundabout just after the Loch Creran Bridge. The post code to the car park is PA38 4BQ, and there is space for around a dozen cars. To find out more about the reserve just click here.

To celebrate I had a fantastic fresh fish & chip evening meal & a large glass of white. 

Sunday, 23 May 2021

Spring day trip to Bempton


Gannets bonding
 
Puffin

Shot through wild flowers
 
Gathering nesting material
 
Razorbill
 
Love the tone on this Gannets crown

 
Barn Owl
 
Barn Owl
 
Just a few of the 11,00 pairs of Gannet

Puffin

Kittiwake

Kittiwake

Take off time

Corn Bunting

With this cold & wet weather system set to continue I had to make the most of any breaks so on Wednesday I woke up early and headed to Bempton Cliffs in Yorkshire. With no chance to get out to the Farnes this year, Bempton is the next best thing. The jouney from the midlands is around 3 hours 20 mins however I shaved 15 minutes off that with a clear run from a 4.45am depature. The staff at Bempton hadn't arrived at the centre when I got there. 

The Tree Sparrows were chirping away as I passed the visitor centre and headed down towards the cliffs when there in front of me was the local Barn Owl hunting and not taking any notice of a small audience stood in admiration of the birds flying skills. Both Corn Buntings & Tree Sparrows were singing from fence post on the edge of the same field. 

The cliffs were fulls of birds nesting and protecting their territories for another busy season. Bempton is a place you really appreciate what is in front of you, just full of life in every direction. I won't list the species observed as all were very much as expected. I did have a walk around Flamborough but couldn't add anything to what I'd seen at Bempton but I did help a few people see their first ever Puffins.