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Sunday, 22 July 2012

Summertime Safari 21st-22nd July

With the advent of the British Summer this weekend, there was no end of goodies eager to come out and play in the warmth and sunshine.
I started my weekend at Monkwood, hoping to catch up with some new species for the year,and fill in the odd gap. DEET was applied liberally, and in I went .....
It was nice to see the White butterflies appearing again, and a Green veined White showed well. Settling on a tree not far away, the first of my wish list magically appeared, a Southern Hawker.

Southern Hawker
 I had presumed I had seen one of these in my garden a few days earlier, but it had not settled so I could not rule out Migrant Hawker. A good start. White Admirals were in decent numbers, along with Comma's, Ringlets, and Skippers. I was hoping for a bit of Purple Hairstreak action, but that was not a butterfly I was going to add to my year list this weekend.
At the pools, it was Odonata heaven.One of my other targets for the day, Ruddy Darter, took about 3 seconds to show, and they were present in good numbers.

Ruddy Darter

 Brown Hawker hawked, and Broad Bodied Chaser..well he sort of just flitted about, as he appeared to have no one to chase. One thing I  had missed on my previous visit, was a female Emerald Damselfly..they are so stunning, it was worth a special look. Today there were several males, but it took a while for a single female to show, but thankfully she did, and I managed a quick snap.

Female Emerald Damselfly

 Before braving the quagmire back to the wooded ride, I had a bonus. A female Emperor was ovipositing fairly close. Whilst the light was less than ideal , this was still a sight to relish and I watched for 10 minutes or so, even taking a few seconds of video.

Emperor Ovipositing..If you've seen the movie, here's the picture

On my way back to the car, I spotted a young fox on the path ahead, looking back at me.

Next stop was Grimley. Here a bit of decent  birding action ! A Hobby hawked over the Pools, showing really well at times, enjoying the Odonata like myself, but in a different way. I got my first Common Darter Pics of the year, as well as some male Black-tailed Skimmer shots. Finally, the visit paid it's final surprise, when I noticed my first Little Egret of the year lurking on the far side. Blimey a birding year tick !

Little Egret..Year tick !

Common Darter

Sunday I popped down the lane to Chaddesley Woods, hoping to see my first Silver-washed Fritillary. As it happened seeing them was fairly easily. Getting a record shot was another matter ! For two and half  hours I stalked, lurked and chased these powerful and fast moving butterflies, the breezy conditions aiding their swift glides. I noted around a dozen White Admirals, the first I had seen on this site, and finally, one of the SWF's settled on some Hawthorne I had decided to stake out, allowing a very brief photo opportunity..GOTCHA !!

Silver-washed Fritillary...phew !
Time for the golf........


  1. A great collection of Odonata photos there Mark. i think I may have to pay a visit to Monkwood again soon!

  2. Cheers Jase..amazing selection of species for a relatively small area, I'd fill yer boots asap !