Monday, 1 July 2013

Walkies 30/06/13

I have been busy at work over the past couple weeks and haven't had time to blog, not that I have had much to blog about. The dog has been feeling neglected too and hasn't had a long walk for a while. This morning there was the initial tail wagging fuss after I got up but then he gave me his miserable look in the hope of getting me to take him out for a walk.

Bryn with one of his sad looks
I eventually gave in, grabbed my camera gear and took him for a walk. It was very warm with spells of sunshine so I hoped there would be a few butterflies and dragonflies to photograph. We took our usual route towards my ringing site at Longshaw but the ponds we passed didn't have a single damselfly or dragonfly on the wing.

A happier looking dog but no odonata in this pond.
Butterflies were very thin on the ground and one of the few encountered was a Large Skipper. Large swathes of good habitat held no butterflies at all and we only recorded the aforementioned Large Skipper, 1 Meadow Brown and 3 Speckled Wood in 2 hours of searching. Some species are probably in between broods but the low numbers probably reflects the plight of our butterflies.

Large Skipper
If its been a bad year for butterflies, so far at least, it seems to be a very good year for orchids. Marsh Orchids seem to be plentiful and far more common than the Common Spotted Orchid. Marsh Orchid flowering has just about peaked but the Common Spotted Orchid was still in its prime.

Camera gear and patient dog in amongst the orchids

Common Spotted Orchid

Something gets Bryn's attention amongst the grass and orchids.
Bryn has learned to wait while I am taking photographs and will sit for long periods. As long as he is out he seems to be happy. He spotted something moving through the grass and orchids at one point. When I had a look it turned out to be a frog.

Common Frog
One insect that was prolific during our walk was a micro moth known as the Nettle-tap (Anthophila fabriciana). It flies during the day and is often found in large numbers in the vicinity of nettles, the larval food plant.

Nettle-tap on buttercup.

Nettle-tap (Anthophila fabriciana)
On our way back home I tried to get some shots of bumblebees in flight. There were several species present on a patch of flowers but the only sharp shot that I managed to get was of the back end of what I later identified as a Tree Bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum). This species was first found in the UK in Wiltshire as recently as 2001 and has rapidly colonised large parts of England and Wales. Much of the rapid colonisation of the UK has been attributed to the abundance of bird boxes which they frequently use for nesting.

Tree Bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum).
The same patch of flowers held a Silver Y. This is a migrant moth from southern Europe and one or two have started to turn up in the moth trap in the garden. Hopefully this year will be a better year for migrant moths compared with last year's washout.

Silver Y (Autographa gamma)
A more content Bryn cuddled up to his pink sheep tonight having had his 'walkies'.

A few post back ('Flaming June' posted 6th June) I mentioned that a singing bird that had really got my attention. I can now reveal it was a singing Brambling. Unfortunately it turned out to be a one day wonder and didn't hang around.

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